Getting reacquainted with a symbolic New Year’s threesome

  • Dawn F. Kawahara / Special to The Garden Island

    A symbolic trio for the turn of the year: Old Man Time, the tortoise, the stork.

Old Man Time reached his limit for 2018 seven days ago, accompanied by the “inexorable march of time,” often symbolized by the tortoise. And the stork, carrying birth symbolism, brings in the new year — 2019, in this case — with a quick backwards glance to the past, but with intention aimed forward.

During travel in Japan, my husband and I found a small carved set representing these three symbolic life forms in a small shop near Nikko, an important Buddhist site where exists an ancient sutra library. Since acquiring them, we have put this threesome out on display every New Year’s, along with fresh tangerines and our neighbor’s annual gift of mochi (rice flour) dumplings for the New Year’s Day soup.

The night before the deadline for submitting this first Green Flash of the new year, I still was searching for the idea of an image I might submit to go with the content of the column I planned.

I knew my subject matter would glance back, and focus forward. At 4:30 a.m., I awoke from an active dream in which I was positioning and photographing our tri-part display. Before I gratefully drifted back to sleep, I knew that was right.

In the light of day, I’m reminded that the mind is a strange thing indeed. While I was “out of it,” deeply asleep, apparently the coils of my brain weren’t at rest but still at work, sifting through images to match ideas.

No wonder students, researchers and creative artists are always advised to revisit whatever they are working on to memorize, discover or envision, in a relaxed manner right before turning in for the night! The interior “angel” or guide works ceaselessly to help pave the way of intention.

Which brings me to the subject of intention as it applies to making a New Year’s resolution. We noticed in Friday’s paper that it was reported that a good many people don’t wish to make a resolution of any type, feeling what’s the use when we can’t stick to tt?

Before Mr. K retired from teaching high school sophomore students biology, his ethics unit used to address the subject of values, how to identify one’s true values and stick to them, leaving room for adjustment as life progressed and new levels of maturity and understanding were reached.

This exercise simplified the challenge of making the many decisions that students are faced with under peer pressure during their challenging teen years.

His students learned that when the overall picture was clearly known and understood in what they wanted to have happen in their individual lives, it became easy for them to say yes or no to invitations or choice-making that might derail them from their defined main goal.

Our grandchildren and younger friends have been fortunate to be exposed to these same decision-making lessons that Mr. K imparts.

It seems to me, it’s time to share them here from the aspect of resolution-making, or intention. My add-on is that if one does get derailed or off-track, once that’s known, true intention will help a person right their course to get back on track. This last statement mirrors what is said about meditating to those who find it almost impossible to still their minds: If your mind wanders and starts jumping around, just pull it back. If it does it again, pull it back again

“Make a choice about the optimism you want to bring into your life!” exhorts two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank (best actress, “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Million Dollar Baby”), who grew up in a trailer park and became a high school gymnastics champ (per Tim Appelo in AARP Magazine, Nov.-Dec. 2018). When I came upon that quote, I thought positive optimism might be the key to success in keeping a resolution.

The main idea is no self-recrimination or whiplashing; just a simple focus on returning to the original intention. And being optimistic about training yourself to give the true, inner self what it truly desires by gently nudging yourself to remember that “practice makes perfect.”

This might be seen as the friendly “stork” part of yourself that glances back but briefly, and stays confidently in the present with a focus to future.

As to Old Man Time, we can bid him aloha and draw from wisdom he has acquired while leaving any past failures or worries behind as we move forward positively, day by day, slowly — as with the path of the tortoise. I remind myself, plodding does eventually get you there.

What started as a column about the thrill of experiencing — as doubters — an amazing green flash phenomenon, has grown to be a substantial tome — this, by adding a new column every other Monday since almost exactly five years ago: “Believe in the unexpected,” Jan. 6, 2014.

Hauoli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year), Dear Readers! Thanks for staying with me, and special thanks to Editor Bill Buley for allowing me the license he does.

My new year’s resolution? After publishing “Burma Banyan, A Daughter’s Odyssey,” to write more travel experiences through “FarAway Places” in TGI in 2019, remaining optimistic that there’s yet another book within…

•••

Dawn Fraser Kawahara, author and poet, made her home on Kauai in the 1980s. She and her husband, a retired biology teacher, live with books, music and birds in Wailua Homesteads. Shared passions are travel and nature. The writer’s books may be found in local outlets and on Amazon. For further information, email tropicbirdpress@gmail.com.

2 Comments
  1. Susan Campbell January 7, 2019 8:43 am Reply

    I loved this morning’s column! Green Flash seems to be exactly what I need each time I read it but today’s was perfect, a great beginning to a new year. Migwetth, Dawn! (Migwetth is the Potawatomi word for Thank you)


  2. harry oyama January 7, 2019 2:56 pm Reply

    What comes in mind about “threesome” is what you’ll find at the massage parlor for some Happy En…., Ooops, Happy New Year. Start and end with a bang


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