‘Cultures grow on the vine of tradition’ - Jonah Goldberg
The transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation is our historical way of shaping the traditions that form our cultural trajectory and evolution. Without traditions we become stranded in ambiguity to the point of total confusion, unable to navigate the tricky waters of relationship and human interaction.
We do not serve tradition but it serves us as a guiding light that keeps us on track so we do not wander too far from the path that history has formulated on our behalf. It also gives us permission to engage its inherent creativity and form new ways of being, for and with future generations.
Our lives are calendared by weekly monthly and yearly markers, points of reference that help us to stay grounded in the reality of the moment while looking ahead with anticipation to coming events of personal significance. Our bodies and minds have become memoried by the specificity of universal traditions that only the grinches, grumpy, and deeply wounded have abandoned.
The birth-day of all humans defines not only where we sit in the geneology of our family tree but it also enables us to participate in the generational paradigm of our peers who determine our becoming. Peer pressure is more than a cosmetic adherence to surface practices but a sub-atomic attachment that decides mostly who we will do life with and who we will find intimate connection with. The tradition of celebrating the beginning of life and honouring its significance reaches into every arena of our consciousness, strengthening our parochial bias and nurturing our cultural maturation.
My yearly calendar celebrates a number of birth-days that remind me to pause and reflect on the rich traditions of my subliminal formation. Whether it be the richness of my spiritual origins in Christmas or the very nationalistic focus of my indigeneity on Waitangi Day*, just to name a couple, they invite me to consider the part that I must play in embracing the unavoidable importance of my life and my contribution to the greater good.
On the very last day of each year we celebrate the highlights of the last 12 months and welcome in the new year with some kind of heightened resolution or resolve in order to appraise the need for possible changes. This tradition has stood the test of time and regardless of our late night levels of perseverance the mystical stroke of midnight keeps our expectation in play for the most part. For the last 20 years I have commemorated this event in the same location, a camping ground in Pataua South, Northland where I sojourn to every year to retreat from the everyday grind of my common life. This tradition is my attempt to reconnect with the beautiful simplicity of creations grandeur away from the trappings of my entitled lifestyle, to find rest for my soul and energy for the immediate future.
The traditions I form will conjure and propose a future that the next generation will hopefully embrace and eventually advance as they suggest new iterations of custom that will enrich society.
‘I never think of the future, it comes soon enough’ - Albert Einstein’
Happy New Year