Image by Iván Dequito 

“Happy New Year.” “Happy New Year to you too.” This is what we say, every year. And what does it mean? Usually, about as much as “How are you?” “Fine, how are you?” “Fine, thanks.”

What if we meant it this year, that we really intended to make 2024 a happy new year and that we did something to make that happen, rather than just mouthing empty words?

When Einstein warned that we can’t solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them, he actually demonstrated the very flaw that he spoke of: he framed his comment in the negative. Imagine if he’d said: “We can only solve our problems when we think differently than the way we did when we created them.”

This may just be linguistic micro-managing but perhaps there’s a significant clue in this reframe that explains why efforts to solve our problems seem to fail and why New Year’s Resolutions rarely last beyond three weeks. Our standing habit is to identify a problem and then try to change it. “I need to lose weight. I’m going to cut down on social media time. I need to quit being mean to my kids.” Reality check: That doesn’t seem to work.

My wife and I attended a Christmas party in late December with about 50 friends. It’s an annual event at a nearby friend’s home and we’ve attended for years. It was very different this year, the best one yet. There was so much love exchanged, so much laughter, so much pure joy… we all got high as kites without alcohol or drugs. We were intoxicated by the Christmas spirit!

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Why was this party so much better than last year? Most of the same people were there, and a year older. The world has gotten crazier over the past twelve months. The news is bloated with dire warnings about what’s coming… Sheesh! How could we all be so happy that night? Were we just in denial?

Most of the people present at that party stay well informed about world affairs. Yet we choose to focus our attention on love and that’s what we’ve been doing all year, since the last party. It showed. Dramatically. OK, but how is that a responsible attitude relative to the crises we face? How could this have any sort of positive impact? I wonder, could this be precisely what Einstein was alluding to? By the way, when he got stuck on a problem, he’d take out his violin and play… often the answer would come to him then, on the wings of the music. Different thinking!

Connecting Our Lights

Speaking of different thinking, here’s a thought: Remember those Christmas lights that wouldn’t work until every single bulb functioned? I remember as a kid, going through them one by one. When I found and replaced the faulty bulb, the whole string would light up.

I think this is a great metaphor to explain what was happening at our party. We were ALL lit up. We were on a string together and every bulb was working!

The news tells us that things have never been worse and that’s easy to prove. So, I’m not suggesting a denial of disturbing facts. I am agreeing with Einstein that we address them by trying something different. We would be heeding Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

What Will I Do Differently This Year?

To concentrate this down to a personal level, what will I do differently to make 2024 a truly happy year? Well, I can keep myself lit up! I can make sure that I’m not the off bulb that’s shutting down the whole string.

Actually, this isn’t actually an original idea, just a humanizing perspective on string theory. From the internet: “String theory is the idea in theoretical physics that reality is made up of infinitesimal vibrating strings, smaller than atoms, electrons or quarks. According to this theory, as the strings vibrate, twist and fold, they produce effects in many, tiny dimensions that humans interpret as everything from particle physics to large-scale phenomena like gravity.”

What if we can influence these strings because we’re in them!

That party has inspired me to consider holding gatherings without waiting for official holidays. And they don’t have to all be parties, they can be discussions, brainstorming, watching uplifting movies together (my top vote goes to The Bank of Dave on Netflix… what an inspiration!), group meditations, etc.

One Plus One = Many Points of Light

lights forming a heart -- Image by Bhargava Marripati Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered, there am I in the midst.” This explains what happened at our party and what can happen whenever we gather in the true Christ spirit. By the way, there was no mention of Christ at our party. The reference is to the birth of the Christ which, as we know, is what Christmas is supposed to be all about, right?

Perceiving this as another metaphor, it’s easy to understand how this spirit – which dwells in us all – can birth in our personal experience moment by moment and then, when shared with another… the light, the power, the influence magnifies, explained by science in that definition of string theory, above: “…as the strings vibrate, twist and fold, they produce effects in many, tiny dimensions...”

Imagine more and more of us making sure that we stay lit up no matter what, linked together on relationship strings of influence, many of them intersecting at the same time. What effect might that have?

This reminds me of a prediction I remember from that remarkable 1981 film My Dinner With Andre where Andre spoke of how the future world would become increasingly dark but that each loving individual would be a point of light, that gathering together would produce centers of light, and that travelling to be with each other would leave streaks of light, until the whole world would light up like a blazing sun.

Now, there’s a New Year’s Resolution to commit to!

Happy Lit Up New Year!

Happy New Year. Truly. From my heart and home to yours, may this be the most loving time of our lives. Midst the chaos, the uncertainty, the suffering, let’s keep lit up and know that we do make a difference, on our own and especially when we get together.

If you’re skeptical, I recommend reading Power vs Force by David Hawkins, Ph.D. He brilliantly explains how just a few love-empowered individuals can neutralize the negative influence of thousands.

Please share this article with others. The more the merrier and the brighter our world!

Copyright 2023. Published with permission of the author.

Book by this Author: The Success Paradox

The Success Paradox: How to Surrender & Win in Business and in Life
by Gary C. Cooper with Will T. Wilkinson.

bok cover: The Success Paradox by Gary C. Cooper.The Success Paradox is the improbable story of a life and business transformed, told in a warmly authentic style that says: “I hit rock bottom, I surrendered, I began doing the opposite of what I’d been doing before, miracles happened, and here’s what you can learn from my journey.”

With riveting personal details that illuminate his discoveries, Gary details how he defied the odds – not just to survive but to thrive - by implementing a series of paradoxical strategies, fundamentally opposite to anything he’d ever done before. The result is an inspiring book about what happened to him and a blueprint for readers to experience how to surrender and win in business and life.

Click here for more info and/or to order this hardback book. Also available as a Kindle edition and as an Audiobook.

More books by Will T. Wilkinson

photo of Will WilkinsonAbout the Author

Will T Wilkinson is Executive Director of The OpenMind Fitness Foundation, exploring innovative solutions to our global mental health crisis.

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