Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Goodwill of Love


“What does it say of us if we keep peace and goodwill one day out of a potential 365 a year? Would you bet on those odds for a brighter and better future?”
— Mickie Kent

Christmas and the winter solstice is a time of questions for many of us with Western citizenry in the northern hemisphere. In cultures using winter solstitially based cyclic calendars, the year as reborn has been celebrated with regard to life-death-rebirth deities or new beginnings far back in our human history. Concepts of birth or rebirth during this time have always been common. Also reversal is yet another usual theme - since the winter event is seen as the reversal of the Sun's ebbing presence in the sky - so it's not surprising that some see this as a retrospective time.

We ask ourselves plenty of questions about Christmas. Is it worth it? Am I sick to death with all the commercialism and all the rising prices - where the holiday season has just become one long Christmas TV ad campaign? Are we lonely? Are we too crowded? Are we stressed out by family? Where is all this supposed goodwill? And what about New Year? Have you got any exciting plans for the New Year's Eve? Have you got any new resolutions for 2013?

If one of your resolutions is to lose post-Christmas weight, then many experts are now telling us that dieting is a myth. It is not a matter of losing weight, but eating healthy, and for the long term. It looks like we need to re-learn how to eat, like we need to re-learn a lot of things. The end of December is also normally the time when we are assessing our budgets, and it looks like we need to assess our relationship with money, too. Focusing on money issues is not just about helping you budget better, it's about discovering what is really important in your life. There is nothing like the spirit of Christmas to make you appreciate what you've got.

For some of us the importance of life smacked us straight in the face when we woke to the news of the Newtown shootings in America. Twenty angelic children aged between 6-7 years old and six of their heroic teachers were shot down mercilessly and multiple times in cold blood by a twenty year old loner who gave no pause to the terrible legacy he has left behind. In many parts of America, Christmas has been cancelled, and in our household Christmas will take on a more sombre air - it will be a time to look back, and appreciate what we have - and discard what we think we really need. This year, the start of 2013 will also be a year where I try not to take anything - and more importantly, anyone - for granted.

Because it is not the things, but the people that are important in our lives. Yet, more often than not, we mark up that "importance" according to monetary values. The 100 richest people in the world earned enough in 2012 to end extreme poverty suffered by the poorest on the planet four times over, and yet global poverty still exists in our world. World leaders are pushing for austerity, but how many lead an austere life? Or we look at potential partners and their finances, and don't stop to consider whether such "good providers" are rich in heart and mind. More than ever, in an increasing technological age, people have become commodities.

Recently, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook and has some 100 millions users, updated its privacy policy, which many of its users incorrectly read as giving it the right to sell users' photos to advertisers without notification. It's a sign of the times. And some say that this is the end of times - the most popular theory being the Maya Long Count which proponents believe heralds the end of the world at this year's winter solstice. Others say it will be an end of these unconscious times, and we must look to a new year where things begin to change for the better.

It's much easier to become involved with "end of the world" scenarios than to deal with the very real notion that each of us will face our personal "end" someday. But what's more important is: How we will live today, while we are still here to enjoy this precious gift of life? It's all how you view it. Perspective is everything. And so is intent. It is within our power to choose hope or fear, change or the status quo, life or death. Are you ready to witness the end of your "old world" and the beginning of a new one for yourself?

Did the Maya predict the end of the world?

According to a Reuters global poll, one in 10 of us is feeling some anxiety about the imminent end of the world, but rather than arming yourself for Armageddon, fixate on your future - because doomsday scenarios never end. Since the dawn of civilisation, humans have often been gripped by certainty that the world was about to end. We continue to look for omens associated with the "four Ds" - doom, death, disease and disaster. While everyone is panicking over the "end" of the Mayan calendar on December the 21st, 2012 (which has spawned everything from terrible end-of-days movies to the decision to close an Argentine mountaintop to prevent the spiritually sensitive from throwing themselves off of it in advance of the apocalypse), others are looking at March the 31st in 2013 instead - because that's when the tzolk'in calendar is said to end.

Doomsday theorists say the Mayans had two calendars. The one everyone has been talking about is called the Haab' (the one with 365 days). The "other" Mayan calendar is called tzolk'in. It has 260 days in a year. And it's going to end its 13th cycle (known as a b'ak'tun) on March the 31st in 2013. Collaborate this with the science that in mid-February we will get another reminder we live in a (potentially) violent cosmos - asteroid 2012 DA14 will make a harmless but attention-grabbing pass near the Earth, at a distance just a tenth that of the Moon.

Exactly what happens in February 2013 will determine how near the asteroid's next pass will be, in 2026. But there many threats the doomsday believers could choose from - a second asteroid makes a close pass to the Earth in January. Apophis - named after the Egyptian demon of destruction and darkness - has been put on a watch list by scientists. It will make a closer pass on Friday the 13th in April 2029, with scientists calculating that in 2036 there is a very small chance it could collide with our planet on the 13th April in that year. Will anyone be alive to read this by then?

Seriously, however, at some point, we are going to find an asteroid big enough that it could cause damage at ground level if we let it hit, and if a comet helped to start life on the world, who is to say one won't end it? In earlier times, a succession of comets was greeted with less equanimity than today. When two comets passed over London in quick succession in 1680-81 there were many who were more superstitiously fearful that they were harbingers of doom. Spectacular comets had appeared in the night sky in 1664 and 1665, with many believing they presaged the visitation of the plague on London and the Great Fire the following year.

So the scenarios continue. But while sightings of celestial bodies are fairly common, some claim that although the world is unlikely to actually end any time soon, a great change (or crisis) will occur at ground level, coming not from the cosmos, but from cold hard human currency. They point to warning signs such as the economic collapse of 2008 with loss of securities, bankruptcies and investments wiped out, the riots in Europe and conflict in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, those that believe in numerology point out a numerical connection between the Maya Long Count to the planet's doomsday and the year 2013 - namely the number 13 itself. The number plays an important role in ancient calendars, although the reason for how time first began to be counted in this way is not certain.

There are those that will look at the last two digits of 2013 and see an unlucky number - but there are an increasing group of people that see the "victimisation" of the number 13 as an unlucky number as one fronted by Christianity. They say it's because 13 is the number for what proponents to this view term as "the goddess".

Read more about the number 13.

When I was doing some research for an article on superstitions and Friday the 13th, an interesting aspect that revealed itself was that the 13th as an unlucky number is an inherently Western or Christian concept which has entered our global consciousness. For example, the Chinese do not hold the number 13 as unlucky, nor do Middle Eastern or Central Asian cultures and customs shy away from the number. Some commentators note that ancient civilisations weren't in dread of 13, either, such as the Egyptians in the time of the Pharaohs.

To the ancient Egyptians, we're told, life was a quest for spiritual ascension which unfolded in stages - twelve in this life and a thirteenth beyond, thought to be the eternal afterlife. The number 13 therefore symbolised death, not in terms of dust and decay but as a glorious and desirable transformation. Some speculate the symbolism conferred on the number 13 by ancient Egyptians was corrupted by subsequent cultures who came to associate 13 with a fear of death instead of a reverence for the afterlife. However, some believe this was done deliberately, because of the symbolic nature of the number 13 and its connections to "the goddess".

Proponents of this goddess theory point out that the 13th letter of the English alphabet is M, which finds its roots in the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, "MEM" (meaning mother), which was the ancient Phoenician word for water. The letter MEM begins and ends the word mayim (water), signifying the lifeforce; the ancient Egyptian word for water was "moo". Adherents to such theories see M as the most sacred of all the letters, for them it symbolises water, where all life began. It is the root of the word "mother", and by extension is said to relate to our evolutionary destiny.

While there are some that connect the number 13 to a "mother goddess", does Friday have any links to one? It seems so. If we do a bit a reading, we can discover that the day Friday is thought to be named after the Nordic goddess Frigg (sometimes anglicized as Frigga). She is a major goddess in Norse paganism - said to be the wife of Odin, and foremost among the goddesses. Others claim Friday was named after another Norse goddess known as Frida or Freyja, and scholars have theorized about whether or not Freyja and the goddess Frigg ultimately stem from a single goddess common among the Germanic peoples (as Norse mythology is a subset of Germanic paganism).

Some also believe that the name Friday comes from the Old English Frīġedæġ, meaning the "day of Frigg", a result of an old convention equivocating the Old English goddess Frige with Venus the Roman goddess of love and beauty, with whom the day is associated in many different cultures. Thus in pagan cultures at least, Friday has often been associated with goddesses, similar to the number 13 and its historical links to femininity - something Christianity has tried to shun. Critics say this is not so surprising coming from a Bible that speaks of stoning women for looking at some one "the wrong way".

One woman of the Bible treated wrongly is Mary Magdalene, who some now defend as an apostle of Christianity, rather than a penitent prostitute. Although the mainstream Christian view is that after Paul the Apostle converted to Christianity the 13th apostle became Judas Iscariot (giving it negative connotations as Iscariot is said to have betrayed Jesus of Nazareth for money), others suggest that the first 13th apostle was in reality Mary Magdalene.

The theory goes that she wasn't named as a major disciple because she was a woman - but her story is intimately linked with Jesus. She plays a starring role in one of the most powerful and important scenes in the known Gospels, but written accounts of her own Gospel (where she appears as a disciple, singled out by Jesus for special teachings and which some say is the 13th account of the life of Jesus) was either destroyed or hidden.

The whole story of Mary as a prostitute, who is fallen and redeemed, is a very powerful image of redemption - a signal that no matter how low one has fallen, one can be redeemed. Powerful as this image may be, scholars say this is not the story of Mary Magdalene. She is mentioned in each of the four gospels (selected by past patriarchs) in the New Testament, but not once does it mention that she was a prostitute or a sinner. The Catholic Church did later declare that Mary Magdalene was not a reformed sex worker, but this was not until 1969. After so long the reputation still lingers - as does the fear of the number 13 as a strong superstition.

Thus, when we look at the some of the body of research out there, it is not difficult to see how some might form a theory that the number 13 and Friday were somehow blackened by religion as a reason to bury any ideas of a "goddess" prevalent in our everyday lives. Was Friday the 13th a way to "fear" the goddess? Is it true, as some sources speculate, that the number 13 may have been purposely vilified by the founders of patriarchal religions in the early days of western civilisation specifically because it represented femininity?

Thirteen had been revered in prehistoric goddess-worshipping cultures, we are told by scholars, because it corresponded to the number of lunar (menstrual) cycles in a year (13 x 28 = 364 days). The "Earth Mother of Laussel," for example - a 27,000-year-old carving found near the Lascaux caves in France often cited as an icon of matriarchal spirituality - depicts a female figure holding a crescent-shaped horn bearing 13 notches. As the solar calendar triumphed over the lunar with the rise of male-dominated civilisation, it is surmised, so did the "perfect" number 12 over the "imperfect" number 13, thereafter considered anathema.

Moreover, originally there was red ochre smeared on the Goddess of Laussel (also known as the Venus of Laussel) believed to depict the menstrual blood, and which some scholars suggest is symbolic of the heartbeat of life itself - not just for fertility. You can see faint traces of it on her left breast in this photo of the original on the left. Click for an enlarged view after the jump.

In modern times however, this shedding of blood that leads to life has been viewed as unclean, while, for example, soldiers who shed blood on battlefields routinely are called heroes, critics say. Some scholars suggest that in the Lascaux days and before, women would bleed each month but they weren't sick or hurt, but when a man bled, it was not a good thing - which lead to its bad reputation.

So, what would men have thought, these women bleed but aren't hurt? Would they have thought in primitive times that this was something magical about women? Something to be both revered and feared? Obviously it was nature, which was later deemed bad in advanced societies, too - thus nature had to be conquered as well in the pursuit of dominance.

Read about the theory of Gaia.

Therefore, proponents of such theories say we have as evidence the menstrual blood that was deemed "unclean" and we have the 13 cycles per year - which scholars say probably did help establish the first way of marking time - but which also seems to highlight what some call as the struggle for patriarchal dominance over the world. It is a dominance that some believe has lived its "end of times" with the advent of 2013 - with many trying to steer clear of religion and go straight towards spirituality. Some spiritualists have also likened this struggle between the male-female dynamic to the left side and right side of the brain.

What side is your brain on?

According to the theory of left-brain or right-brain dominance, each side of the brain controls different types of thinking. Additionally, people are said to prefer one type of thinking over the other. For example, a person who is "left-brained" (male) is often said to be more logical, analytical and objective, while a person who is "right-brained" (female) is said to be more intuitive, thoughtful and subjective.

This theory suggests the right side of the brain is best at expressive and creative tasks. The left-side of the brain is considered to be adept at tasks that involve logic, language and analytical thinking. Thus, as an example, my erotica twin flame parables are the right brain to the left brain of my synergistic series on the mind, soul and body. While my synergistic series of articles discuss how spirituality and science can work harmoniously together, my twin flame articles delve into philosophies on love, understanding the self, and moving into a space of looking internally for answers, rather than externally.

In psychology, the theory is based on what is known as the lateralization of brain function. So does one side of the brain really control specific functions? Are people either left-brained or right-brained? Like many popular psychology myths, this one has a basis in history that some experts say has been dramatically distorted and exaggerated. The right brain-left brain theory grew out of the work of Roger W. Sperry, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1981, but later research has shown that the brain is not nearly as dichotomous as once thought. Studies have shown that abilities in subjects such as maths are actually strongest when both halves of the brain work together.

The secret key to success is using both sides of your brain

That seems an ideal suggestion for our times. It's often advised that in our world as it stands in the first half of the 21st Century, a single, concentrated form of dominance must come to an end. All its individuals must share responsibility, as a community that respects and tolerates individualism - because it is our individuality that gives us a soul, and which will give our communities a soul. Indeed, some spiritualists believe it's all about reconnecting to that collective spirit or consciousness (or "source") from which the stark patriarchal divisions over dominance in recent centuries has cut us off from.

Critics of our societies say we have become greedy, lost compassion, and that we are coming to a point of "no return" - on a destructive downward slide. We are literally killing ourselves. We can't deny our human history has a violent past; at some level humans are by nature aggressive animals. Darker themes bridge our cultures, and it's thought that war was typical in human pre-history. There is even scientific evidence that aggression may have played a key role in shaping the human body.

There is, however, also research that shows humans are hard-wired to treat others fairly, and that co-operation and fairness are fundamental aspects of human behaviour because they are central in long-term stable human relationships. American economist and political advisor Jeremy Rifkin explains in Empathic Civilisation why we need to rethink the human narrative, and base it on empathy and compassion rather than aggression and animosity.

Read 7 facts about empathy.

History, biology and sociology of the human race prove it's possible. And fairness is part of the huge debate about what makes us human: is it language, our ability to care about others - to help them without expecting anything in return - that makes us uniquely human? The evidence suggests that will while members of our animal family show signs of complex behaviours and sensations, fairness seems to be a natural human predisposition.

However, Anglo-Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, "I am afraid we must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children that honesty is the best policy," - and the same can be said of fairness. In the view of evolutionary psychology, we were designed by natural selection to solve adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors, and although peace has featured in our problem-solving just as much as war has, we cannot ignore the part violence has played in our historic evolution.

Is war an innate part of human nature?

Wanting to move past our violent beginnings as we climb up the evolutionary ladder doesn't mean we have to be in denial about our past. We would be better off if we faced the reality that we have these strong emotions and sometimes they prime us to behave in violent ways. Science is starting to show us that we have many functions which point to some deeper evolutionary justification, and I think if we acknowledged that, we'd be better able to prevent violence in future, and create a fairer society. Such recognition and acceptance will make our progression away from violence all the more worthwhile.

Unfocused anger is still very much part of our lives, however, and we have some way to go. Looking back on news events for 2012 filled with mass shootings and narcissistic addictions - it might feel like we are fitting our former descriptions pretty accurately. The most recent school killings in Connecticut has even brought the news that US President Barack Obama wants to reinstate an assault weapons ban in the wake of the mass killings in Newtown, despite a defiant gun lobby. This was previously unheard of in a country where "the gun is god", and even equated with freedom - but if true would turn one killer's dark legacy into one of hope, and change.

And if that theory is true - and 2013 is a year of great change - then we must decide for ourselves what is fact for us and what we wish to discard. Do you believe 2013 is a signal to the return of a goddess? Do you believe in a goddess? Or do you believe that it's all just a fairy tale, and the goddess is simply symbolic of nature and fertility, as created out of the reverence of our primitive ancestors? Whatever we believe, we mustn't dismiss fairy tales however; some hold important lessons for us.

In the Grimm Brothers' story of The Twelve Brothers, it is the 13th child, the princess, who both seals her brothers' fates and saves them from it. Some believe that financial crisis is once again going to rear its head in 2013, to dent the patriarchal system further. Possibly what is even more true is that whatever we freely choose to believe, we understand that the time has come for all sides (left and right) to work harmoniously together for a better future.

People everywhere are sensing that the end of 2012 is a time for differing beliefs to come together. This is not a new concept. At the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, one of India's most influential spiritual leaders, Swami Vivekananda, called for tolerance and the end of religious fanaticism - by a strange coincidence the date was 11 September (or 9/11), 1893.

Vivekananda was the first to package eastern philosophy for the West, and his talent was in distilling complex ancient texts down to a simple message - that all religions are equal and God is inside everyone. He is virtually unknown in 2012, but his followers say he would not have minded. He did not want to be worshipped slavishly or remembered for all eternity. He just wanted people to discover the prophet, Buddha or Christ inside themselves.

Now nearly 120 years later, this vibrational energy has worked its way down to even the Christmas decorations on sale at my local garden centre - where the theme this year has taken on a decidedly Druidic air, with religious symbols merging with paganism to create some bauble bling to attract the Christmas consumer. The cynics among us would say, when money is the issue, we sure do know how to provide something for everyone.

But some see Christmas as the only time of year when the Western world collectively gives hope. The energy of this collective conscious prayer is believed to become almost magical, where it feels like any kind of miracle can happen. Most people don't believe in miracles, because a miracle by definition is an event that violates a law of nature. And we can't escape from the common reality that miracles generally only happen in movies; real life is a little more difficult.

However, some people are trying to use science to show us that a power or force outside of our understanding can bend the laws we commonly hold as true. They say that a miracle is simply a phenomena that science can not yet explain. Just as Benjamin Franklin harnessed the phenomena of lightening to make electricity available so that we can now live lives that would be thought in the time of Benjamin Franklin to be "miraculous", it is believed that through science the miraculous phenomena of transferring energy through our thoughts can be applied to benefit the planet and optimise human potential.

True or not, it gives hope for the power of goodwill, and hope is a powerful image for unity. While for most of the year it might feel that our community spirit, like our public services, has lost cohesive value, the truth remains that Christmas has evolved into a season that is about people coming together physically and spiritually - and when people come together they believe the door to miracles can open. And whether you celebrate this holiday season for religious reasons or to observe the winter solstice, focusing on unity means to focus on peace and goodwill - and to remember that enlightenment, joy and peace can never be given to you by another. The well is inside you.

Consciously create 2013

What would it be like if you could consciously create the future–creating 2013 for instance? Are you willing to experiment? Here is a process that experts in this field claim has produced some amazing results for people in past years. Use it to replace the New Year's resolutions you are about to make.

  • Step 1: Imagine it is December 31, 2013.
  • Step 2: Imagine you are looking back over the year 2013 and reflecting on all the wonderful, successful outcomes you had. See them. Touch them. Feel them. (The thinking behind this is that it's through the power of our emotions and feelings that we manifest our heart's true desires.)
  • Step 3: Now take pen (or computer) in hand and write yourself a letter describing everything that happened in 2013. What do you have in your life on December 31, 2013 that you are grateful for? It maybe a new job, career or business; perhaps you have resolved a major problem with a relationship and/or you have met twin flame. You may have a new home, a more stable financial situation, better health, a changed lifestyle where you spend less time working and more time doing the things you really want to do. (You can work less and make more life.) Whatever it is, write it down. Be specific. For instance, if it's increased income say how much.
  • Step 4: Now, take a look at each item and see what action steps you took during the year 2013 that produced the wonderful outcomes you are enjoying. Write those actions in your calendar, indicating when they took place. Again, be as detailed as possible. For instance, to increase my health, well-being and vitality I have made a commitment to stop eating processed foods, drink more clean water and exercise three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
  • Step 5: Now, put the letter away and look forward to pulling it out to read it next year on December 31, 2013 when you compare your letter with what you actually did. The experts reassure us that we will be amazed by the outcome. Especially if you take the action steps you wrote down as you come to them on the calendar during the course of the year.

Astrologers are also advising that this is a time to do with our future vision, connecting with others, discovering our spirituality and questioning our past beliefs. More of us are looking up to the stars, and wondering if life is a gift solely bestowed upon our planet. It is also clear that in almost every direction we look, and in every way that we look, there are planets around stars capable of inhabiting life near and far - the catalogue currently stands at 854 confirmed planets, and is growing with every new publication released by astronomers.

Other experts say that these areas pushing us to question our lives, and to seek improvement, have energised the last month of 2012 to harmonise and support the change that is coming. The general advice is to feel good about the future and the steps we need we to take, and to really look at things from an expansive view. Take the broad view as you look at your life, and what you want to see happen in your future. It can be exciting, but change can also be frightening. This is why experts also suggest you focus on the positive, to remove from your life what no longer serves you and surround yourself with supportive energies.

Really it's about keeping that peace and goodwill harnessed in December throughout the whole year, as we put ourselves out there to bring change into our lives. For some of us that will mean connecting with our inner child and who we really are - and from that inner self we create our future, and the life we really want. The challenge is to avoid negative thinking, or even to think that the aim is to always strive for perfection. The aim is to strive for harmony - or as I like to describe it, a synergy with our life.

Focus on improvement and being pro-active in your life. It's been often said that there is an opportunity in every crisis, so make it a point to see the good in the world and to stay positive. That can be a challenge when so much of the news we see daily is froth with fear and troubling news, but take just one minute and think about how you spend each hour of a typical day, would you smile or would you sigh?

Would you be ecstatic about what you achieve and accomplish each day or would you regret not doing what you really wanted to do? Do you wake up each morning feeling passionate and excited about the day ahead?

Read how to discover your passion.

Henry David Thoreau is quoted as saying, "most men lead lives of quiet desperation ... and go to the grave with the song still in them." Is this you? Because most of us do walk around not taking their lives seriously. We don't think about how we spend our time to really live and to truly feel alive. And by "live" I mean doing what you really want to do.

Do you ever get that spark inside you, that feeling you get that excites you when you think about things you love, but that you tend to automatically ignore because you don't trust it? It could be it's telling you something. Call it what you will: an inner voice, intuition, coming from the heart, or that gut feeling - it's informing you to your truth. It's telling you to listen to it. It's telling you to act on it. But maybe it's been so long since you've listened to that voice inside you that you've forgotten how.

Is the heart like a brain?

Experts say you can't afford to ignore your inner voice if you want to create a life of your own design, and be happy. It's about starting to trust life again - to follow your path, follow that voice, follow your dreams, so you can be happy, feel alive, and live in your passion. Use it for house-cleaning your soul and release what no longer truly serves you - whether it's ideas, beliefs, habits or lifestyles.

Rather than being cut off, cut loose from negativity. Give that as a Christmas present to yourself this holiday season. If you feel like it's time to build something new, then allow yourself the space and opportunity to pursue your dreams. If there ever was a perfect time, experts are all unified in saying that now is the time to harmonise with our world and build the life we really want.

Instead of living a life of quiet desperation, live your life to the fullest. You may not be able to control outside factors, but experts suggest you can control how you react to circumstances - making you the navigator of your life. How strong is your sense of connection to the world, to the environment, to others - or to "source"? How strong is your sense of connection to who you really are, and what your life is really about?

What do you really want to create in this life? How do you nurture yourself, and others? What is it that no longer serves you - is it your job, lifestyle, beliefs, a living location, a relationship? Resolve to find out.

Click here for 5 ways to change your life!

These are important questions, because change (in the best of times) is always about expansion. It's important to make friends with change. When this change relates to you, it means expanding who you are and expanding your dreams and vision - where you search for ways to become one with your inner child you might have so often ignored in the past. Purge the past. Holding on only causes suffering; letting go releases you.

Avoid negative thinking and negative people as this is what drains us. Put aside power plays and power struggles, and distance yourself from them. This will free you to look to your main business, which should be to bring more love into your life, and hold its goodwill as the only franchise we refuse to buy or sell.

As we all consciously create a new year for ourselves, we should feel ready to connect with our world and our human family. It's true it can be hard to stay positive when the world is going through such chaotic changes, but change can also be a cleansing energy. It's a fresh approach to life through fresh eyes - and with a new vision comes new ideas and new beginnings. It is how we will truly create a fresh world view.

Ask yourself: What is your work in the world to be? How will you activate your creativity? Whether we believe we are channelling the "goddess", or whether we simply listen and learn from the parables of nature, experts say that we can use change as a time for expansion and to take action. It is more than just men and women embracing their "feminine sides" or rooting for "girl power". This is your time to be your authentic self - it is time for the individual to live from the heart.

Shifting our awareness

We are often told by the experts that when we stay positive, the universe matches that with positive results. Sometimes a problem cannot be solved at the same level of thinking; we have to shift our thinking and go higher (in our awareness) to solve problems. Climbing higher in your thinking and thinking outside of the box is all about shifting your consciousness. It can seem like hard work, but focus on the positive, even if it's just having a hot cup of coffee on a cold day.

Happiness doesn't have to be complicated. Anything you take action on and put the initiative in will bear fruit, because of your readiness for new beginnings. Experts emphasise this empowerment is not coincidental - the next five years is all about the individual. Those reading this in 2017 will be testament to that; the focus is all about a return to individual freedoms. Although it will be through the mutual reception of the collective community as a whole, the focus will be on the framework of freedoms to explore our individuality, and on what makes us human and gives us a soul.

Thus we can look to spiritualists, look within, we can look to science, or we can look to all three for the answers for our origins. By the end of the second millennium, the big bang theory had provided an outline for understanding the origin of the universe - but the history of science shows that when scientific problems and questions on life have found answers, new questions always arise.

In the scientific arena, the textbooks are constantly being rewritten. It is a reality that scientists often disagree over real science, and progress is yet to be made on explaining free will and consciousness; but there is a growing acknowledgement that the problem of consciousness is a "hard" problem by many. Hard in the sense that the standard methods of science provide no traction in dealing with it. This is why some scholars now believe the range of application of scientific laws may be limited when it comes to the mind.

Read more on science and the power of the brain.

Researchers all over the world are understanding more about what goes on in our brains, but the realm of consciousness is a different matter. Why might this be so? Well, scholars tell us that knowledge results from an interaction between knowing subjects (a scientific researcher) and a known object (the thing being researched). To gain empirical knowledge though scientific research we subtract the knowing subjects and their experiential interactions from the results of scientific studies. For instance, in doing natural science, focus is on the objects in nature, not the knowing subjects - so as to achieve objective, observer independent data.

However, when we turn to the mind, which is the core of human subjectivity, we have no data, because our method has been specifically designed to filter out subjective data. In other words, because the scientific method has been designed to be objective - which is beneficial in dealing with the objects of nature - it filters out data on subjectivity. This is the very thing we are trying to study when we are considering the mind. That is why consciousness is a hard problem for the current scientific method - and thus raises the possibility of a world that, beyond some fundamental level, lies outside the reach of our knowledge.

Consequently, we can seek wise counsel through meditation or other people that have wisdom, but we also have to be aware that enlightenment or higher consciousness won't necessarily give us all the answers - just all the ones we want to believe in, because awareness is empowerment, not omnipotence. It's the power to consciously create what we want in our lives. Experts in this field believe that we create our reality through our thoughts and feelings (through mind and soul) - and that real change comes (and therefore must begin) from the inside out.

According to the authors of a World Economic Forum (WEF) report, even governments need to tap into this greater awareness to pay more attention to the risks that might lie ahead and prepare accordingly. And if 2013 is indeed a year of higher consciousness (where we see left-right duality consciousness replaced by unified one), then we want to be creating from a consciously higher state. Creating what we don't want is when we are creating unconsciously (such as from our fears), and experts say we need to focus on being concious creators because we are moving into a unity of consciousness where we recognise that we are all uniquely individual, and yet all one.

We have a oneness together, and we are connected to each other through the heart of us - that divine spark in us all. It's time make a commitment to a new start and to yourself - to use your energy to create what you want, and make your happiness infect and inspire others to the end of a greater good.

And it doesn't matter how you measure time - whether it is in hours and years, or more likely in love and relationships - for all of us the lesson is clear: Time is precious. It is also elusive and finite, but the things that give us hope - love and unity, faith and family - somehow transcend even the boundaries of time.

Ultimately, a good life is one where we are loved coming into the world, and loved going out, while sharing all the beauty in between. Thus to end with that thought, I want to wish all who celebrate the holiday season a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, and to wish everyone - whatever you choose to celebrate - that peace and goodwill become a permanent fixture in your lives this holiday season and beyond.

Yours in love,

Mickie Kent