New Beginnings

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A new year can bring new beginnings, but so can a new day. Christine Schoefer has this Perspective.

On New Years Eve day, I sent a haiku to my friends:

“Year's end, all
corners of this
floating world, swept.”

Written by the Japanese poet Basho in the 17th century, the words touched me deeply.

At first I fretted: had I swept all the corners of my world? And then I understood that the poem is a simple statement. Basho is describing something truer than the buzz and travail of everyday life.
Could he be right that in a fundamental way, order is always kept?


Three hundred years after he wrote it, Basho’s haiku brought me peace of mind. Wanting to share that, I sent the New Year’s email.

Kimberly replied “Thank you for the beautiful poem and remember: new beginnings are always at hand.” That made me think. Year’s end is the agreed upon occasion to reflect on life events and declare intentions. But couldn’t we do that every day? Is a year’s turn more precious than the end of one day, the beginning of another?

According to our idea of time, a year is more weighty than a day. Yet, clock and calendar derived time measures don’t tell the whole story.

I know that a night with a sick child feels endless and I’ve been told that at the threshold of death, an entire life can seem as fleeting as a song. My dog understood the elasticity of time – he greeted me with the same exuberance whether I returned from the downstairs mailbox or an overnight trip.

Spiritual teachers remind us that the present moment is our most precious opportunity. A single day has infinite moments and countless possibilities.

With this in mind, I’ve taken the liberty of amending Basho’s poem:

“Day's end, all
corners of this
floating world, swept.”

With a Perspective, this is Christine Schoefer.

Christine Schoefer is a writer who teaches empowerment skills to women and girls.