January 29, 2014

Dear 2014: Stop Bossing Me Around. ~ Jesse Herriott

If I could write a letter to 2014, I would first introduce myself as Jesse Herriott, a Spiritual Teacher from a short line of teachers, a counselor, and at times, an indie-journalist.

But none of those things are written on my birth certificate or social security card. I’m simply “Jesse Herriott.”

Before 2014 came, I was “Jesse Herriott” and I will continue to be “Jesse Herriott” when it leaves. Likewise, “you” will still be “you.”

Like many readers, I’ve bought into the cliche that encourage us all to become a new person every time we make that famous solar return and a new year dawns. I’m just as ritualistic as the next guy, but I have a few questions for this new year before it begins to “order” me around.

I also think that every self-conscious being on the planet should have the new year answer a few of our questions before it begins to give force directives upon us. It may sound a bit silly, but the quality of our lives is determined by the types of questions we ask ourselves (this requires talking to yourself, so you may want to go to a private place).

One of the big questions that should be posed to 2014 is “What are your intentions with me?” When meeting someone new, it’s odd to give them permission to make demands before they’ve actually had the chance to formally introduce themselves, or even form a relationship you.

Secondly, I think we should also ask “Why do I have to get rid of the “old me” and take on a “new me?” Just because the year is new does not mean that we have to suddenly categorize huge parts of ourselves as “old” and then toss them away like yesterday’s garbage.

In fact, if we depersonalize and throw away every part of ourselves, then how in the world will we ever get to know who we really are? What we know to be our “selves” is comprised of countless numbers of persona’s and thought systems that have taken years to form.

Imagine how difficult life would be if essential parts of our being were “thrown away” without a thorough investigation as to their importance in our lives and to our psyches. What will happen to our self-esteem if we make a declaration to throw away something that needs to be “thrown away”, but it seems to be glued to our psyche?

The worst feeling to have at the dawn of a new year is the realization that a habit we promised we would get rid of at the dawn of the previous year is still there. A habit or persona that was 20 years in the making isn’t always destroyed in 24 hours. It takes planning, a strong will, and a solid support system to make lasting changes that permeate our souls.

A healthier approach to this new year is to not make any sudden changes. Take the time to really decide what needs to stay, what should go, and what can be worked on. Maybe we don’t need to be a “new us”. In fact, many of us simply need to repair the “us” that we already are.

It’s okay to be inspired—2014 plans to be a great year. But we shouldn’t make our interaction with the new year a one-sided conversation.

This new year has already made demands on us and now it is our turn to start making demands on it.

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Assistant Editor: Karissa Kneeland/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant journal archives


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