My Very Best Piece of New Year’s Advice

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I was explaining to my teenage daughter yesterday what a tough year 2010 was for most people, by way of an example from our own life. Here we were, driving on the freeway in my old Honda, heading down to San Francisco. On the back window of my car was a big white “11” on a pink piece of paper, a temporary registration tag from the DMV. Consequently, the entire way down I was being extra good on the road and keeping an eye out for the CHP, who could reasonably pull me over at any time asking why my registration was out of date.

“You remember that fender-bender you had in my car last January, Jojo?” I asked her. Yes, she replied sheepishly. “Remember how I thought I’d taken care of all the paperwork and repairs and spending a new fortune on your insurance, by the end of May?” Yes, she remembered that too. “And then how in August I found out they were not letting me re-register my car until I had all kinds of other inspections done? And then I paid for all those and sent them their paperwork in September, but here it is the end of December and I am still waiting for the actual registration tags?” Oh yes, she knew all too well about the incredible tide of incompetence that her accident had unleashed.

“Well, that is exactly what 2010 has been like for almost everyone I know. You have setbacks that you expect to move through fairly easily, but instead they take 84 times longer than they normally should, and no matter how hard you try they just grind on, getting worse and worse, until either they are good and ready to be over or you die of exhaustion, whichever comes first. That, my dear, was 2010.” She understood perfectly.

On the radio today I inevitably wound up talking about dreams and predictions, because it was my last show of the year. If I’d had a guest or callers I would have asked for their new year’s predictions, but since it was just me I started talking about what I thought 2011 was really going to be like.

The first thing I thought about was last night, driving home by myself from the City, and coming across the blinking yellow “Flooded” signs blocking the road, because of all the recent rain. I thought that the road was probably passable since it had been clear all day, but wasn’t sure—and it was pitch black and freezing cold out, so I didn’t want to make any tragic mistakes.

There was a car pulled over by the side of the road, and I sidled up to it and lowered my window. Inside were two or three kids, probably Alex’s age, either stoned or just young and stupid. I asked whether they’d tried the road yet, and they said no. Then the guy driving says, “I just saw a shooting star. Do you think that’s a good omen?”

Without even thinking, I said, “Definitely. I’m going to give it a shot.” “I’m following you!” he called as I pulled away from them, squeezed past the signs, and started down the road. Of course, that meant he tailgated me the entire mile-long, slow journey down the road because he didn’t know any better, but that is a minor side point.

The real point of the story is that I didn’t even hesitate before declaring the shooting star a good omen. That is new this year, the unquestioned assumption that all omens are essentially good. It ties into a dream I had 6 years ago that maybe I’ll talk about someday, but was basically about interpreting an omen positively when privately I thought it might go either way and probably involved lots of bad news regardless.

This very difficult year has been full of good omens, and great things have happened, or have started to happen, to lots of people, myself included. The thing I have become most aware of, as I struggled through this year’s challenges, is that everything can change in a second. Luck is basically random, which means that if you’re having lots of what you consider bad luck, the longer you keep going the more likely it is that your luck will change for the better.

It’s not like I knew anything about the shooting star that kid saw, it’s just that I believe our best move is always to accept the omen as a gift. If nothing else, it means we are paying attention, we recognize an omen when we see one, and have the presence of mind to ask what its impact will be in our own lives. Especially in 2011, I think that kind of behavior is the absolute key to success.

The hardships of 2010 will not evaporate on January 1, and the dreadfully slow processes of change will still be with us in 2011, but there will be real opportunities opening up, doors suddenly swinging wide that we have been banging on for months if not years. The ones who will notice, and be able to act, are the ones who keep going because they know it’s just a matter of time before the tide turns. So pay attention, don’t let the bastards (or the DMV) get you down, and remember that the omen is always a gift.

13 thoughts on “My Very Best Piece of New Year’s Advice

  1. Travis Wernet

    Anne,

    Thanks for this down to earth reflection on the coming year. I appreciate the inspiration to take omens as gifts! I also wanted to share that I felt a bit troubled reading the portion about the youth you encountered in your story. I wasn’t there and have no idea who they were or what they were like, but reading the story I experience the description, “they were either stoned or just young and stupid” as somehow one-sided and it leaves me wondering if this is all young people can be (in some people’s minds) – stoned / young / or stupid – and do these elements go hand in hand or predispose one another? I’m sure I’m projecting onto your story, as I myself have had what I would call comparable experiences. One 19 year old friend comes to mind, who I gave a hard time for staying up all night and smoking pot and not being as present as I thought he should be at a Men’s Retreat we were attending. Of course, I’ve been that way myself in the past, so, maybe that’s what bothered me about it. I reckon I am trying to see the unique gifts of young people as well, and not pile them into some 2-dimensional category and I also get the sense that this is what your tale here is about and appreciate it very much… that the people we think are just stoned and or stupid and young may be the ones to point out the shooting stars to us while we’re busy categorizing them for who and what we think they are…

    Anne Reply:

    Hi Travis,

    Thanks for your comments, I am glad you got something out of my post. Maybe you would have to know more about my history teaching and raising kids to understand my snap assessment of that kid, but it’s all there in the links.

    Best,
    Anne

  2. Lisa

    I am one that is ecstatic about leaving 2010 behind. Good riddance!!
    I am pinning my hopes on the turning of the New Year. May all good things flow my way and into the lives of everyone that had a crappy 2010.
    Amen.

    Anne Reply:

    Testify!

  3. Bill

    Anne,

    I feel that you are talking about a vitally important point about dreams and applying dream lessons to waking life. “Seek and ye shall find.” If we are alert to dreams’ “health and wholeness” potential, we will highlight and follow up on their messages. Similarly, to omens, coincidences and possibilities. Our attentiveness will help us do what we can.

    At the same time, as a person interested in politics, I will not be a Pollyanna and will not cease watching my back. I observe an administration far more conservative about money-related issues than about other issues and see, for example, the recent tax bill as hurting our economy more than it will help.

    But the main point is to do what we can and to extend our consciousness of what we can do.

    Happy New Year,
    Bill

  4. Reya Mellicker

    Beautiful post, Anne, and so perfect. We’ve entered a period of time when anything can happen, and I do mean anything. Astrologically, we haven’t seen skies like the ones we’ve dealt with in 2010 since 1965. Between 1965 ane 1968, a LOT happened. We’re in a similar cycle.

    2010 was a great year for me and yet I greeted this week with a flood of tears. Whoa. I would not have dared to try to drive through all that salt water. But the storm has passed. It’ll all be over soon, as you used to say.

    Happy new year old friend. And much love. All good things in 2011. So may it be.

    Anne Reply:

    Thanks for that, Reya. I am glad to hear that you had a good year. And yes, the rest will be over soon enough.

    Love,
    Anne

  5. Evelyn

    Yes life is random and things can change in an instant, and it is our response to these events that determines our life state. We have the opportunity in every moment of our life to choose positive over negative and light over darkness.

  6. Barbara Hirschfeld

    Dear Anne,
    Considering the personal tragedy of Alex’s passing and perhaps other less dramatic obstacles like the DMV which you have had to endure this year, I appreciate your optimism about 2011.
    As for the good omen, I too am one to say “Auspicious” at just about anything that happens. And it’s true. The more you pay attention to auspicious coincidence, which is like the sacred meeting the ordinary in the moment, the more you get auspicious coincidences.
    Blessed be, and may 2011 bring you much joy and wisdom.
    And may we get together over coffee or tea some time this year!
    Barbara

    Anne Reply:

    Definitely! I like your definition of auspicious coincidence, too.

  7. Bobi Souder

    Thank you, Anne, for this welcome reminder as we head into a new year. Omens. Yeah. While sometimes the nature of their presence is difficult to discern, they always at least remind me that I’m not alone. Especially during times of loneliness or fear or confusion, omens remind me that we are part of a larger reality that has some kind of order to it, and one that offers behind-the-scenes assistance/inspiration/direction, etc along the way. Sometimes they really get my attention when I don’t realize I’m at a pivotal juncture, but their sudden presence snaps me awake and serves to clear my head so I can start paying attention.

    Blessings of all good things to you in the coming year! I look forward to our next dream tending session sometime soon. -Bobi

    Anne Reply:

    Well said, Bobi.

  8. Philomena Robinson

    Hi Anne,

    I rarely read the midpin emails but remember you from Jeremy’s classes so thought I’d check this out. Your blog really hit home for me – all of it. Through the difficulties of last year, the omens kept me knowing I was still on the right path despite detours and delays. This year my task is to head ALL negative thinking off at the pass.

    Thanks, Philomena

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