THE COLUMN

Issue No. 78/December 29, 1996


NEW YEAR'S REVOLUTIONS

IVAN HOFFMAN

I've never been able to figure these things out-these sort of "what's coming up for next year" type things. I've almost invariably been completely wrong. Everything that I've ever planned for the coming year, all my New Year's resolutions, generally turned out completely different than I wanted. Almost always unexpected stuff. Revolutionary stuff. But then most revolutions are unexpected. That's the nature of revolutions-they turn things into the most unexpected directions.

The trick with these New Year's revolutions is to make your plans but be completely willing to discard them should the universe have something else in mind. Those who get overthrown by revolutions are those that are unwilling to step out of their way and change with the changing tide. When we get too committed to our resolutions, when we feel that unless they materialize we will have failed, been wrong, we tend not to see the other forces at play in our lives. We tend to be like the kings and czars who remain out of touch with the real forces in their nation until it is too late.

There have been New Year's Eves spent with lovers who were not lovers in the coming year despite what I believed would be. There were New Year's Eves spent with no one that did not produce lonely years thereafter. Each New Years I believed I knew what was coming up and set my goals on achieving those goals. I invested heavily in the outcome I predicted or wanted on New Year's Eve.

I suppose we do this out of fear. If we can predict, we believe, the universe makes sense. If we are out of control, if our predictions do not materialize, it creates uncertainty and uncertainty equates with fear. But when the universe had something else in mind for my new year, it took some doing to let go of my resolutions and step out of the way of the revolution that was becoming my life.

We have to trust, our resolutions and predictions to the contrary, that the universe is going to give us what we need to grow. We have to trust, our resolutions and predictions to the contrary, that it is safe to let go of the control these resolutions and predictions appear to bring us. We have to trust, our resolutions and predictions to the contrary, that the universe provides us opportunities that are far more important to who we are and what our destinies are about than whether or not we lose 5 pounds.

We have to trust that whatever God has planned is far better. We have to trust in the revolutionary nature of our lives.

So here it is again, time for a New Year's revolution.

I have a gardenia bush in front of my door that is in full blossom and it is the middle of winter. I have had a gardenia in this location for nearly 20 years and it always flowers in May and June. Sometimes in July. Every year. May. June. Sometimes July. This year it is in full, if inappropriate flower in December, right before New Year's Eve. Right before the time for new predictions. Maybe it is just the warm temperatures we've been having. Confuses the plants. Maybe.

In the book of Genesis it says that God first spoke to Moses in the form of a bush that was burning in the desert but was not being consumed. Moses asked God how he would answer when the others wanted to know what was God's name. In other words, they would want to know how to believe that it was actually God that spoke to Moses. And God replied that Moses should tell them that God said: "I AM THAT I AM."

I assume this means that God was saying that whatever the people want to believe God is is what God is. God is what we make God out to be.

So now, in the middle of the desert of winter, I have a gardenia bush that is flowering out of season. Quite revolutionary.

I have no idea what it means for the coming year.

And I've stopped trying to guess.

I'm just willing to get out of the way.

© 1996 Ivan Hoffman


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