As a species, we’ve set aside certain dates to make resolves, to settle differences, to celebrate with festivals, and to renew vows of spiritual, ethical, and religious practice.
We call these the New Year, Nowruz, Holi, and many other names. We’ve been observing the earth and the skies and the tides and the revolutions of the seasons for millennia and creating calendars based on them that acknowledge our collective need to begin again.
Everyone who makes art and is touched by art begins again. These activities of art-making and appreciating art are embedded in us, part of our human heritage. This is true for each of us today.
Clearing out the old is part of making room for the new. New Year begins with letting go of what isn’t useful so we can see new spaces. Of course, life is difficult—when has it not been? There are challenges—as always. And there are possibilities—ever-present.
We’re moved to begin again and to make formal new beginnings because we feel the joy and the energy of doing so. As we leap clear into this energy, we find our balance—and our missteps—every step of the way. We move centered between giving and receiving, opening and creating, not knowing our next move and certain there will be one.
The French philosopher Gaston Bachelard writes, “To imagine is to absent oneself; it is a leap toward a new life.” This imagination leaps clear of the contracted fearful self. It leaps into the quick of life, the center of human possibility and vitality in any realm of action or creation—artistic, spiritual, or political.