After Tonga, Samoa and Kiribati, Aotearoa New Zealand welcomes in the New Year, 13 hours ahead of the UK. The same with each new day. We have done a full day of work before our UK family have stepped out of bed, and our USA family are only just settling down for the night…of the previous day. It is day and night, and whilst it is the ‘same’ day for everyone there is little the same about our experience of it, other than in name. The sun rises in the East, it sets in the West, for us all, but we experience each day it in our own unique way.

I used to think as I lay on my back as a child watching the clouds pass over, that I could see and feel the world rotating, and with a little imagination I can still experience that same sensation. Now of course I realise it is the wind blowing the clouds and not the earth beneath them moving.

Last month, I watched the lunar eclipse and resulting blood moon and was only mildly impressed. So the earth has ended up between the sun and moon on the moon’s rotation around the earth. It happens! It is not something we see often, and it requires specific alignment, but to be honest I was more surprised about my lack of awe.

On the other hand, I stare into the depth of the night sky and try to make sense of the Southern Hemisphere constellations. It is a different sky, and yet we occupy the same space in it. If I try to make sense of its immenseness, or think too deeply about how it all works, it blows my mind.

I have a basic scientific knowledge of how the world works, but move me out into multiple dimensions and sense I might implode.

Each New Year is the completion of one orbit of Earth around the sun, and the beginning of the next.

Each New Year is a continuation of the year before, it is just the next day.

I am the same person entering 2022 as the one leaving 2021, but I have had a years growth since the last New Year, and so am changed.

So where do beginnings sit on this continuum? I am not sure that we can even come back to the same physical space we were in 365 days ago. One thing I know for sure is that we can never come again to the same place or space unchanged, because with each passing minute we have a new knowledge or a new perspective, we revisit with the wisdom of what has gone before.

There is a Māori whakataukī that says:

Kia Whakatōmuri te haere whakamua:

‘I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on my past’.

It took me a while to really understand this, but we carry our past with us into the future. Our past and our ancestors shape us, and this is something I believe we need to be proud of and something we need to use to guide us.

I am beginning a new day. I have had a terrible sleep, but the breeze is cool and the sun bright, a welcome respite after days of unprecedented high temperatures. It is Friday, and the last day of the holidays before returning to work on Monday. First and last, beginnings and endings. The sleepless night offered opportunities to reflect on what I will bring to the new day.

As a teacher I would always let each new day be a new beginning for the child that had walked a difficult path the day before. My Grandmother always told me never to go to sleep on an argument, and my mother advised to make things right before going to sleep. There is wisdom I believe in all of these.

And so, these musings about beginnings brings me to this:

Let me bring a positive light, a light heart, a heartfelt joy and joyous curiosity to every beginning. Let me bring with me wisdom from the past, an openness to grow and learn, and grace to accept and include everyone wherever they are on their journey. Let me bring the best of me to each new day.

Wishing everyone the best beginning to the New Year, and a year full of bright beginnings.

Please feel free to visit my website and explore with me over the coming year aspects of Mauri Ora, a Māori concept of wellbeing and flourishing.

Gracefully Connected: Mauri Ora

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