As a kid, Christmas Day was a letdown. When the packages were opened and the dinner eaten, there was an awful, barren sense that the best time to be alive wouldn't be back for nearly a year. It's not like that now. For me, Christmas is a season that starts at Thanksgiving and goes through Epiphany, with the time between Christmas and New Year's perhaps the most important. This is prep week, preparation for the great adventure of embarking on the fresh, fragile and flawless year ahead. It's incredible: a whole year, and I haven't made any mistakes in it yet!
There's still fun and celebration, too. This week I'm going to see Sister Act on Broadway (I got my husband, William, tickets as a Christmas gift; being his date is a perk), and It's a Wonderful Life at the Indie Film Center in Greenwich Village. And our friend, John Joseph of the punk band, the Cro-Mags has invited us to his New Year's Eve show. And in the midst of it all, I'll be planning and preparing and envisioning and intending for 2012 to be a banner year.
Here's the how and why of prep week. It's about looking back, taking stock and sizing up, and about looking forward, solidifying my vision and getting serious about the steps it will take to help the ever-so-accommodating universe to bring that aspirational picture into reality in the here and now. This is the same here and now that is still plagued with recession, repression and the various hardships that life on earth comes packaged with. I have a vision anyway. I hope you have one, too. "Ya gotta have a dream," they sang in South Pacific, or "How ya gonna have a dream come true?"
So here's my plan. Feel free to take some of it for yourself if you like. First, I'll get extremely clear in my own mind about exactly what it is I intend to achieve, accomplish and access in 2012, and focus on that -- not just once, but day after day after day. I realize that God (or whatever you choose to call the creative force of the universe) sometimes sees the details differently, but it's my job to see them some way or other and allow for divine tweaking when applicable.
Next, I'll look at my life as I have been living it and see what's working -- e.g., which actions and habits are bringing my vision into being and which are keeping it at bay -- and make the necessary cuts and additions. The follow through can be tough, change always is. But if I don't change some things, I'll be prepping for 2013 with regret I won't need to have if I get it right this time.
And finally, I'll take action to live with more enlightened good sense than I did this year or last year or the one before. Evolution happens in nature and in individuals. I want to participate actively in its happening within me. The only way this can work is imperfectly. It can't be some New Year's resolution deal where one slip-up or slough-off means I have to write the whole thing off. I have to strive to go two steps forward and realize that, sometimes, there will be one step back. And I can't do that alone. I need a spiritual connection -- I can make changes, but I can't make miracles -- and I need people around me who'll support me and believe in me and tell me the truth and not let me deceive myself into avoiding the what's scary and hard and necessary.
What I have to work with is the life that's ahead of me right this minute. I have people to love, a body to care for and a life to compose, a day at a time, for 365 days. I also have four enchanted, pregnant months before my next book, Main Street Vegan, comes out at the end of April. In that time, I can lay the groundwork for my bouncing baby book to come into the world with every possible opportunity for having a great life and doing tremendous good. This is the clay I have to mold. What's the clay you've got to work with? Would you like to do prep week with me? Here's the plan:
1. Get very clear about what you want to achieve, accomplish and access in 2012.
2. Take an unflinching look at your life as it is. Continue with what's working and get rid of what isn't -- not after you think about it for a while, but right this minute.
3. Take the actions that support evolution: allow for mistakes and setbacks, but don't allow for giving up. That's the only way you can fail.
Think about this and write about it and mull it over. Then do it. All of it. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. Believe you're not doing this alone. There's no limit to what you can do before you watch Miracle on 34th Street again next year.