“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate.”
January is named after Janus, the god of doors, gates, time, beginnings and endings.
With his two heads he can see the past and the future.
He is also the god of economic enterprises, yet looking back at the past year and forward
to the new, little seems to have changed.
Beginnings can be wrought with the anxieties of the past.
Indeed the first day of January for many of us will not bring about the financial
peace of mind that we need.
If you are like my family, you’ve had to cut back on many things.
For Yule I made a tree instead of buying one.
We eat at home instead of out. We buy only things we really need and so on.
Janus is also the god of obstacles and with the economic atmosphere an obstacle
itself; it can be hard to breathe.
It saddens me to hear of people ending their lives. For people to see
suicide as a way out of a financial crisis is devastating for all.
When did life have a price tag?
Oh yeah, it does. From birth to death we pay.
Our debt seems endless even in death.
Societies all over the world, ancient and current have their status symbols.
Things that say “Hey I’m important look at me!”
But these are just things.
They are not us.
Or are they?
“This is not my beautiful house.”
We’ve created things that have become bigger than us.
In the West, money is the most sought after status symbol.
Expensive cars, homes, clothing, jewelry, and other material things
elevate the individual to a “higher” place in society. Emotional reactions to
people who have money can be very negative and self destructive.
In reality we are all the same.
Pagan, Buddhist, Jew, Christian- we all suffer.
And some of that suffering is by our own hands. By recognizing that we are more important
than the things we have (or don’t have) we’ve already overcome one obstacle.
The secret gate shrouded in mist yesterday may be in front of us today
beckoning us to enter.
Responsibility to happiness is our own. Money can absolutely be a factor in happiness.
When you can barely afford food and medicine or have to choose between the two, happiness
can be of little importance.
Yet, happiness is important.
Money, a caste system and other forms of separation; divides our humanity into pieces.
As our population continues to grow, we place great burdens upon Mother Earth’s resources.
We must decide what is truly important and meaningful in our lives.
My daughter is pressured by her 6th grade peers to get the latest cell phone gadget.
Materialism and consumerism all but consumes us.
It is so easy to get lost in the consumerism that is our society.
Media in every form with glitzy beautiful people and beautiful things knocking
on our conscious telling us clearly we’ll get more dates with this hair color,
this beer, this dress, these shoes…oh in these shoes? I doubt you’d survive!
No le gusta caminar. No puede montar a caballo.
Honey, let’s stay right here.
Among his other duties Janus represents the city and the countryside.
In the old days our pagan folk made their own things.
Now many of us city dwellers (and country dwellers alike) buy things.
If we can’t afford them then we may feel inferior.
Everything has its place and buying is not a negative but there must be a balance.
People are not things and things do not represent a human being.
By opening this gate with love and compassion we can help make someone who is struggling
feel important; feel that they are loved. And we all want to be important and feel loved.
Yet, it’s not our cell phone, or our car or our clothes that make us human.
It is our ability to love and to give.
Be the beginning in January by giving.
During these hard times there is always something to give.
Gently used clothes you no longer wear, a homemade dish to a sick neighbor or if
you have some time, volunteer at your local animal shelter or other local charity.
The act of giving may not line your wallet but it
will enrich your spirit more than any cell phone can do.
And there is no app for that.