Far more than our Gregorian new year, spring is the season of renewal. Maybe that’s why New Years’ resolutions have so little staying power – we just seek them at the wrong time. We force the context and try to move the ocean.
In 2003, I had the opportunity to share in Novruz Bayram, a Persian celebration of the new year that occurs around the spring equinox. Throughout the weeks of my visit, locals lit small fires throughout the urban landscape. Among other traditions, one would jump the fire, casting last years’ troubles into the flames. That same trip made me very aware of time and place. The first morning in Baku, a local mosque broadcast the call for prayer. The sun rose through the fog lifting off the Caspian Sea and the cliché rang: I am not in Kansas anymore.
Time and place frame our lives. Settings ground us in reality and structure our days. We often stretch beyond the edge of the frame, but always we live within the realm of what we can see and touch. I think that’s why I relish the certainty of vision, that strength of conviction – probably because it has no necessary connection to time and place. Vision can be transmogrified. But vision is just a guide and doesn’t thrive as a parched plant. Because we live here and now, we must execute our vision in time and place for it to become real.
Time and place also set the rhythm of our lives. I nod when the tune is a classic, but other times, I step back from the cacophony. Sometimes there’s true quiet – peace reached when both inside and outside worlds are at a standstill. Those moments are rare. But those fleeting seconds of reflection ground me. They remind me of what matters and what is real. And if there ever was a time to be grounded, this spring seems as good as any.
We don’t have enough time or space to relate all of the uncertainties and upheavals taking place all around us. And we do live in unique times, if only for the events themselves. But the song remains the same (couldn’t resist). Time and place are our melody; everything else is harmony or discord.
We live in context. Each of our paths starts from every here and now. An authentic life is knowing who we are and assessing our decisions from each place at each moment. Our lives are our legacy. We need to meet our legacy with integrity – knowing who we are and acting in a manner consistent with what we believe and know to be true. Among other intentions, integrity is living in the present with an eye toward the future our actions may create.
While our power to foretell the future may be limited, our ability to create the future lies first in recognizing the imperatives, not just for ourselves, but for the next generations. We are compelled to do what we can to help shape an enduring vision. It will take commitment to that vision, no matter how uncertain the path may be. But no path is certain. No future is carved in stone. So we are here. It is now. And we decide how we want to live our days and what we want to leave in our wake.
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All the best,