Contemplation for the New Year – By Margaret Hart

There are those who make resolutions, but call them goals instead. I guess there’s something about the word “resolution” that people feel sets them up for failure. Saying you’re setting a goal is a more optimistic approach.

I like what the principal of my son’s school said this year. Inserted in her lovely thank you note to my son and our family– for the homemade Peppermint Bark and Shortbread we gave her– was “Connie’s Contemplation” for the New Year. Dr. Stevenson is an intelligent and hard-working principal and an award-winning school administrator. She is also a mother. I liked what she wrote so much that I’d like to share it with you:

“If someone were to ask me what I’ve learned that I most value, my answer would be that I learned and practice the skill of living in the ‘Present Moment.’ I discovered that the measure of my peace of mind is determined by how much I am able to live in the ‘Present Moment.’ Irrespective of what happened long ago, or even yesterday or tomorrow, the ‘Present Moment’ is where I am, at all times. I know we have all mastered the neurotic art of thinking about many things all at the same time. Our mind is consumed with past issues and future problems we like to anticipate, and they fill our present moments so much so, that the outcome is always negative. What we do, without realizing it, is postpone our own happiness. We convince ourselves that some time in our life will be better than now, in this very moment. But I learned that it never actually arrives. It was a line by John Lennon that made perfect sense to me. He stated “Life is what’s happening while we’re busy making other plans.” While we’re busy making those plans, our dreams change, kids grow up, friends and family pass on, our body even changes, but mostly, life moves on, and if you don’t, right now, make the decision to live in the present moment, you will miss out on really living your life.

“I guess we are all guilty of living as if life were the sneak preview before the actual show. But it isn’t. In fact, we have no promise we will even be here tomorrow. Now is the moment, and the good part is, it is the only time that we can control. The other good part is that when our attention is in the present moment, any fear is completely out of our mind.

“To combat any fear or anxiety is to learn to bring your thoughts back to the present moment. Mark Twain stated, ‘I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.’ No person could have said it better. In this New Year, I wish for you the desire to practice keeping your mind on the present moment, the here and now. I know having lived this way; the joy and peace in each day are immeasurable.”

In this New Year, one of my goals is to practice living in the present moment.

Wishing everyone joy and peace in 2013 and always!


Margaret Hart has more than 20 years of diverse experience as a writer and editor. She worked in public relations and corporate communications at J. Walter Thompson and Nabisco, was the editorial director of research publications at The Conference Board, and held senior editorial roles at magazines, including Chief Executive. She ran her own communications consultancy serving a range of clients including Accenture, MasterCard, and, and helped launch New Canaan, Darien Magazine, where she was an editor for seven years until 2008. She is currently a freelance writer and editor and is working on her first children’s book. When not in her office, she’s a dedicated “soccer mom,” and an active fundraiser and PTO volunteer for her son’s elementary school.