January 2016: Toward New Beginnings

by Brad on January 1, 2016

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” — Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past

Happy New Year to all my long-term (and shorter-term) newsletter readers, community members and supporters. My December 2015 newsletter marked the end of 14 years of monthly issues of Purposeful Wanderings, and I’ve decided it’s time for a change.

At the moment, I really have no idea what kind of change that will be; but for now, I’m closing this chapter of writing monthly newsletters, and opening space for “whatever comes next.” I’m sure it will all be made known to me as I navigate new waters. If nothing else, thinking about things in new ways creates its own change — a great recipe for avoiding stagnation. I have enjoyed contemplating, writing, and hearing feedback on these 168 articles over the years. Some of my writings are “better” than others; you know that as well as I do. Yet each and every one was such fun for me — allowing a new topic to manifest (often out of thin air, it seemed), pondering how I might approach it, and weaving in your experiences however I could (all of which touched me deeply.)

I have not run out of ideas, despite my initial worry about that some 14 years ago. I simply want to create (or discover) a new format, frame or context for them. One possibility is to offer more frequent but shorter blog entries on topics of interest to those interested in living more fully. As of now, not sure.

I would, however, like to invite any ideas YOU may have. Many of you have looked forward to Purposeful Wanderings each month. (I’m one of them!) And I don’t want to let go of or lose our connection. So, tell me what you’d like to see. What matters to you? How can I/we continue to share through community that which makes a difference in our lives?

Some of you know of my New Year’s ritual (12 years running now). I eschew big crowds and big celebrations, so it’s perhaps no surprise that the theme of my personal ritual is “Screw First Night; make mine First LIGHT.” Each New Years’ day, I get up about 3am, make coffee and a picnic breakfast, drive to a quiet place in nature with a view to the east, and sit. I enjoy breakfast under the stars, watch it get light, contemplate the potential my life holds in the new year, watch the sun rise, and come home. I’ve done this under pouring rain and  50 degree balminess, and I’ve done this under crystal clear skies in wind chills of 20 degrees below zero. (There’s no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.) Each experience has, without planning, agenda or effort on my part, offered a theme for my upcoming year, one I hold in my consciousness throughout the year (kind of like a screen saver, doing its thing in the background, without my having to apply effort.) As has been true in the past, this year’s contemplation may soon offer me an opening to “whatever comes next.”

However you spend your New Year’s eve/day, keep in mind that the year ahead will be a reflection of your thoughts — minute-by-minute, daily, and visionary. “Thoughts are things; choose good ones.”


Happy New Year

With gratitude




{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathie January 1, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Hi Brad,

Thank you so much for your many years of writing. I look forward to them each month and have used them in my work with people when I take them into nature. I will miss them, but I hope you keep them on your site in the archives. I used to print them out and save them, but with technology, I’ve gone to having them available through you.

Again, thanks,


Pam Russell January 1, 2016 at 12:53 pm

I applaud your willingness and wisdom to invite change. Even successful consistency, such as your newsletters, can become a rut. We both know that creativity arrives when we stop, notice and seek within while embracing all the we encounter outside of our bodies.

One idea that I have been tossing around is creating and sharing a dialogue between one or more informed seekers to see what dynamic might unfold. Then, sharing that dialogue in written text. Wisdom is so often found in questions – questions which inspire innovation.

Thank you for your generosity in sharing your journey with all of us. I look forward to hearing where you take your creativity next.

May 2016 bring new solutions toward peace for all sentient beings.


Phil Goddard January 1, 2016 at 5:51 pm


Congratulations on many years of helping so many people. I’ve found your articles inspirational and informative and have passed along your website to others.

My suggestion for 2016 is this; find a way to help young people with what you’ve learned and experienced. They are in desperate need of finding alternative ways to bliss and tragically they are choosing seeming shortcuts like drugs and it is tearing them apart. Many just don’t know what it’s like to sit and contemplate a sunrise or be silent for even 20 minutes.

There are many in the “connected” generation that have grown up completely devoid of inner experiences that you’ve had or many of us who subscribe to your writings have had. We use technology as a tool but had a chance to develop ourselves before an era of constant stimulus and instant responses etc.

There is much you have to offer that can help balance out their lives and I suggest working on ways to open doors for these young people who are dying in pain chasing what I call “false bliss.” They are finding themselves doing things that they never could have imagined doing once they are trapped by their addiction and the consequences have been devastating to not only themselves but to their friends and families as well. There have been cycles of this over the decades, but this one seems different with more potent forms of drugs.

The Hoxie Center in Sagamore is just getting off the ground and will hopefully be a place for learning and community building that may be a way in (check out the Bourne Enterprise from 12/25 or go online to see the story they ran about what is planned.) I think you may find there is a whole new audience that needs to hear your insights. It may however, have to be presented in a different way to make an impact.

Whatever you decide to do, know that you deserve a big THANK YOU for being a light on the Cape and for creating spaces for people to grow and realize they have more in them than they realize. I wish all the best to you in 2016 and beyond with whatever new adventures you have. Give me a call to catch up.



Pamela Thoits Olson January 2, 2016 at 9:19 am

thank you Brad for your newsletters for all those years.
Your insight, thoughtfulness and wisdom from experience have been inspiring.
best wishes on the path of discovery this year

with appreciation


CATHY January 3, 2016 at 8:16 pm

Happy New Year Brad
I have read your monthly newsletters for about 7 years. They have been very uplifting to me. I have been living in crisis mode for about 10-12 years; your newsletter gave me a glimmer of hope and a light at the end os whatever tunnel I was in at that time. Even if I could not take the time to read it for 2-3 weeks after getting it, I never deleted it with our reading the entire thing, sometimes taking days to complete it. Thank you for the hope and love I felt every month. Blessings to you!!!


Steve Klosterman January 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm


It’s been a privilege to get to know you and have those monthly “take a moment to ponder” reminders that your newsletter provides. Your inspiration gave me the courage to move into something new and rewarding and I thank you for your coaching!

Good luck,
Steve K


Michelle January 6, 2016 at 2:15 pm

Dearest Brad,
Sending you blessings for the new year and the next phase of creative inspiration. My theme for the year is “it just keeps getting better.”
I’m grateful for all the years of sharing the road less traveled with you.


Sally Glass January 17, 2016 at 2:22 pm

Dearest Brad, I just got around to reading your January 2016 “Towards New Beginnings” I too have shared with friends your thoughts of wisdom through your incredible LENS. I admire your ability in having “new eyes” for your next lives adventure of possibilities . ..a word you often use. I have to say, I had tears in my eyes when I read Phil Goddards comment. You have SO much to OFFER Brad! We hear so much about the crisis in addiction to the young people. Perhaps this could be another path of discovery for you???


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