I recall my wonderful and late mother-in-law would always begin each year with the same proclomation, "This will be the year of change!" However, if she were alive today, I know she would agree, in honest reflection, that her annual New Year's message was really one of hope, not one of change.
My message to you today, dear reader, is that hope and change are competing interests; hope can be a beginning but it is not a means to an end, the change. When you say or think that change will come, you are attaching a positive and hopeful meaning to the thought. However, you have not taken any meaningful steps toward change; hope is not a plan or a means of moving you toward the destination.
"It is indeed beautiful to see a person put out to sea with the fair wind of hope; one may utilize the chance to let oneself be towed along; but one ought never have it on board one's craft, least of all as pilot, for it is an untrustworthy ship-master." ~ Soren Kierkegaard
Hope, like money, can be a great tool to help you move along the way of your life travels when it is needed most. However, both hope and material wealth can potentially cover your authenticity and thus paradoxically minimize the chances of arriving at that which you had hoped for -- to live a life of meaning and purpose.
Now go back to the featured Pascal quote at the top of this post. If the future is always your end, you never really live but only hope to live. Said differently, if you dwell in hope you do not dwell in reality; you are always Becoming but never Being; and thus you are not living; you are dying.
"Do I want the present moment to be my friend or enemy? The present moment is inseparable from life, so you are really deciding what kind of relationship you want to have with life. Once you have decided you want the present moment to be your friend, it is up to you to make the first move: Become friendly toward it, welcome it no matter in what disguise it comes, and soon you will see the results." ~ Eckhart Tolle
To bring about positive change, the focus is not on past or future but on the present. Start taking steps now toward the things you had only hoped for in the past; notice what is happening around you and begin to really appreciate it; recognize what is not you and allow the authentic Self to emerge; stop making plans and begin living life now. This is not the year of hope; it is the year of presence; and thus it is the year of positive change.
I wish you all the best in this New Year and I look forward to bringing you more perspectives for mastery of life, in the form of my first book, in 2013!