I am still thinking about January, and the promises of the New Year.
How about you?
Here’s what I need to ask: Are you feeling like something is wrong?
Do you feel stretched in two different directions this month? I am feeling like I am two different persons. One is the public image, the go-getter, high achiever, the bold and fearless persona that operates in tandem with my name. Yet, you seldom see the other “me” and she is timid, quiet, private, nervous, aloof, fearful at times, and not always much of a group person or high achiever. The deeper question now is, Am I experiencing duality? January IS on my mind! It’s something deep and spiritual unfolding in my life, now that I am thinking about it.
Have you peered back into some of your previous January entries in your journals?
You know, I mean, the ones you wrote in past years? Did you look back to some of your earlier notes or reflections and see them fresh today as you take a look from the vantage point of distance? I am standing here, today in January 2015?
Oh, I have to tell you, I have been looking at mine! So NOW, I am wondering if those little writings I jotted down in times of yore are giving me insight into this present January State of Mind –
I am feeling this circular dance of duality every day. There’s something hidden deep inside of me that feels restless, uncertain, and hesitant, in spite of all my INTENTIONS. That is because I have looked back, while I was looking forward at 2015.
Perhaps I can learn some things I need to know, gain wisdom, or reconnect with something spectacular I missed when I was too close to it!
Prior to approximately 700 BCE the ancient Romans named the 10 months in their year after the gods. They had only ten months in their year, and did not have the two months we know as January (Januarius) and February (Februarius). These two were added to the Roman year circa 700 BCE. January was named after the Roman god, Janus.
Unlike our calendar today, January was not the first month of the Roman year until after Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, changed the sequence of the months into the twelve month calendar. Because and odd number was considered to be “lucky” the king changed the number of days in several months from even numbers, to odd numbers. Long after this change from a ten month to a twelve month calendar, the Emperor Julius Caesar, would make additional changes. After 46 BCE, February was designaed to be a “Leap Year” and other changes were made. Instead of the “Roman Calendar,” it was now called the “Julian Calendar.
Maybe the dual feelings I am having on this first month of the year is because it is named in honor of Janus. This god is the one who guards and controls gates and doorways. To me, that indicates passages. When I sit down to write out my intentions or goals for the new year, I am thinking of January as a doorway or gate into a new beginning with fresh, exciting expectations. My list of intentions for the new year are indicators that I plan on some type of travel, or passage, from one place to another in the year ahead. Go ahead, look over your own resolutions for the year, and think about it. Are you, too, planning a passage this year? When I look back over the years, I see I was always thinking of a passage from one place, left behind, to the new place, just ahead of me.
January is the festival month for Janus. He stands in the doorway. But, the problem is that Janus has two FACES. While he looks forward through the doorway, to the passage ahead, the other face of Janus looks backwards. Here is the dual message that we encounter!
While we WANT to go forward, another part of us looks backwards. I seem to step right into Janus’ vision myself. I look forward, make my intentions into a path for the new year. But, what I feel rumbling inside of my being, is the reminders of a backwards step at the same time. Well, this is something we don’t really talk about, do we! So, I was thinking about this all week. Why don’t we recognize, or put into language, what we really feel and think in January, every year?
Is it because the noisy crowd drowns out our inner life and our inner feelings, our intuition, and our internal voice as they shout out “Happy New Year?” We have been told this is the time for our expectations to be declared and realized – yet, there is that other side of Janus, in our mind. As we ride the CREST of JANUARY, the crest of the new year, we have expectations for what we believe the new year holds for us. Those are the things we talk about with others.
The “inner critic” voice reminds us of past failures, deflated expectations, short-comings, blunders, and more. That is the other side of Janus! Oh, we fail to understand this side, and we sure don’t want to be talking about it to anyone. We have to keep up the smile. We have to keep up the talk and the walk. We have to…..you fill in the blanks here.
It does not take much of a leap to see the self-centered, secular expectations of our contemporary culture. The “New Year” resolutions madness can literally paralyse any thing creative, inspired, spiritual, artistic, resourceful, inventive, imaginative, intuitive, innovative, and productive on the inside of us. The Janus mask is carefully in place for so many people who will never experience inner peace and joy because they are running so fast in a direction that will lead them to emptiness, after all.
But here’s the dichotomy of it. Stop and be quiet for a little while. Maybe get up early tomorrow morning, when the house is still. Spend fifteen minutes in silence. Keep your thoughts focused on getting in touch with your purpose in life. Your Creator will be there and in your time of silence, He will reveal his purposes for you. During the day, you’ll remember your time with Him today, and you’ll gently feel his presence and guidance. It’s not about what we want to do, it’s about what we want to do with Him! Our contemporary American culture tells us to be determined to do what we want to do, and to push our way to the top of whatever we decide to do. The voices, loud and demanding, tell us how strong we are, how we can do anything we want to do. We are told to call ourselves powerful and smart. Oh, but wait a minute! Stop for a moment; listen for the gentle whisper… He speaks in a “still small voice.” Listen. He whispers to us; he speaks about who we are, for real.
As individuals with faith in God, we can look forward with expectations that are grounded in God’s divine purpose for our life.
What a difference a year makes in our life!
I recommend a look back because it is wholesome for us to do. History bears fruit, you know. We bear fruit as we discipline our mind to study history. Our life, our personal story, is like a display in a gallery. It’s all put out there to view, and if we are careful and thoughtful when we look it all over, we’ll find some gems as well as some clinkers. Both are good for us to consider because they all show us the path we have been on, and help us make decisions for the future. What to embrace? What to avoid?
Copyright, 2015. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All Rights Reserved.
A History of the Months / Days and the Meanings of their Names