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7 Dec 2013

The Crossover, December is here again

December is here again. So  it means it’s that time of the year when several of us morph temporarily into accountants (albeit without due consent from ICAN). But of that estimable and multi-faceted profession, we constrain ourselves to a singular aspect: Stock-taking.
Yes, it’s that time of the year when we tally up our experiences from January 1 —November 30 and assess where 2013 stands on the grades continuum from A to F. Were those lofty targets precociously set at the turn of the year anywhere near fulfilled? And what about those New Year resolutions — if we can still remember what they were?
The point being that there is something about the point of transition from year to year that for some reason appears to hold a critically high ranking in our value (if not spiritual) system as human beings and accordingly wields undue influence over our thoughts and actions. Somehow, we have consciously or subconsciously adopted the same performance yardstick employed by inanimate corporate entities who repetitively plan and execute the pursuit of their organizational objectives according to a fixed calendar (typically January to December), measure the results achieved, and assign rewards (or punitive action) on that basis.
And on an individual level, it  seems we also have the same frame of reference for our dreams and aspirations. From buying that new car to completing (and moving into) that new house, securing that long-awaited spouse, getting that promotion, resigning to start that business, relocating to that country —the list could go on and on, but the time frame remains the same. Must happen this year!
The question is: why should it? What if it hasn’t —as is probably the case for many of us? And if so, is 2013 therefore an abysmal failure? Why measure the success of our lives according to confines of a calendar in the first place? Who taught us to do that? And where is the merit in it?
It’s unflattering to admit it, but as human beings we frequently operate by herd instinct — we do what we do because … well, everyone else is doing the same thing. So when various faith ministries proclaim an inspirational theme for the coming year (as is their wont to do at this time of the year), we dive full length into the surging river of positivity, hoping to ride its swelling waves all the way to the shores of our appointed blessings.
Nothing wrong with exercising faith for a good thing. Except when it conditions and confines us to attach a mystical importance to specific years that they innately do not have; ascribing special powers (benevolent or otherwise) to them instead of treating them as mere time markers to be used and discarded at our convenience.
So although we may still be in early December, some of us have already written off 2013 (good or bad) as gone, in exchange for the glowing promises prophesied for 2014. And of course, the all-important Crossover service looms large; that event at which one’s fortunes for the coming year are determined by the intensity of one’s participation, and from which the consequences of being absent could be terminal (judging from the typically outsized attendance).
But we should guard against canonizing this practice as Holy Writ. Because a wise man once declared: “To everything there is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven.”
No mention of the concept of ‘year’ for manifestation. Just the right time, the right season.
A principle that no profession abides by better than in agriculture. The very nature of their work requires farmers to think and act in the context of seasons rather than years. They sow all kinds of seeds, each of which has its own unique gestation period to maturity – some in a matter of months; others in excess of a calendar year. It would be an insane farmer who rants and raves (or alternatively, sulks) during the festive period at the turn of the year because there was nothing to show for the pineapple crop he planted a few months earlier; obviously he should be well aware that the nature of the seed planted required a lengthy wait before the enjoyment of harvest. Success is strictly related to the outcome of the planting season; the conclusion or commencement of calendar years is of no relevance to performance assessment.
In another place, the same wise man opined: “(God) has made everything beautiful in its time.” Meaning that until that time comes, that thing may look and feel downright ugly, and the mere crossing over from one year to the next won’t change it.
But unlike your average rational farmer, when we sow seeds for the harvest we are hoping for, we actually have no idea what the stipulated gestation period is for manifestation (although we know what we would like it to be – now!) Notwithstanding, we set the year before us as an ultimatum for harvest and use its expiration as a barometer for whether we should be happy or sad.
In reality, 2013, 2014, 2015, etc … all are intrinsically meaningless; they are merely capsules of time available for profitable planting (to continue the agricultural analogy). What matters most for the harvest we seek is sowing the right seed at the right time and being prepared for the inevitable wait until it produces.
I definitely believe the tradition of Crossover service has its place.
But to spare ourselves from frustration, the real crossover should be mental. From amateur accounting to professional farming.


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