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 Copyright © January 2004

For the Sake of "Auld Lang Syne"

An "About Face" We Need to Make....

~written from the common sense perspective of The Winds of the Soul~

by Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.)

 
to the book

I think Hallmark may even be responsible, they having a series of cards for such an occasion and always eager to populate our calendar with emotional laden events that demand their cards or suffer shame forever after.

The Holidays are over, the New Year has begun and those of us that celebrate such things are now engaged in making resolutions of change for the coming year.  I'm not sure who started the event or how it came to be, but the making of New Year's resolutions has been around for a long time.  I think Hallmark may even be responsible, they having a series of cards for such an occasion and always eager to populate our calendar with emotional laden events that demand their cards or suffer shame forever after.

But more seriously, New Year's resolutions are good things, I'm sure.  Lose some weight, become a nicer person, finally take care of last years projects, etc. are all laudable desires.  Unfortunately, so few resolutions are actually kept.  They're easy to make, but hard to keep.

Copyright © 2003 Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.).  All Rights Reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, including but not limited to all forms of media print, audio, electronic and video reproduction,  without the prior express and specific written content of the author, except in cases of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

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I think it all starts on New Year's Eve (known as "Old Year's Night" in other parts of the world) when at the stroke of midnight, everyone sings the wistful melody "Auld Lang Syne," the traditional Scottish New Year's Eve song credited, transcribed, and altered by the 18th Century Scottish Baird, Robert Burns, even though earlier versions of the ballad well preceded his time.

Many of us recall the song being sung in the Frank Capra movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” wherein Donna Reed and Jimmy Stewart sing it around the Christmas tree when Clarence gets his wings.  Most of us have sung this emotional bitter-sweet song all our lives, beginning in Music Class in grade school, or around our own family celebrations of the new year.

In any event, nowadays when it is sung throughout the Western World, most of us don't really know what we're singing....  and we can't blame the alcohol.  Here's the original and its translation for our inspection:

 

Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne?

Chorus:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl't in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine,
And we'll tak a right guid willie-waught
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye'll be your pint' stowp,
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

 

My Translation:

Should old acquaintances be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintances be forgot,
For the sake of old past times?

Chorus:
For the sake of old past times, my dear
For the sake of old past times,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For the sake of old past times.

We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine,
But we have wandered many a weary foot
Since the sake of old past times.

We two have paddled in the stream
From morning sun until we dine,
But seas between us broad have roared
Since the sake of old past times.

And there's a hand, my trusty friend,
And give us a hand of yours,
And we'll take a goodwill draught (of ale)
For the sake of old past times!

And surely you'll drink full your pint,
And surely I'll drink full what's mine!
And we'll take a cup of kindness yet
For the sake of old past times!
 

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These were things not to be trifled with, for only a fool would mistakenly leave these treasures behind as we march into our tomorrows.  He continually reminded us to not forget our friends, repair and not forsake our past, and give credit and thanks to those who have helped us on our way, while blessing by forgiving those who have only tried to hinder us.

If you've ever read Burns, with its resonating deep Scottish brogue sounding like an ancient Celtic foreign tongue (which it is), you will immediately appreciate his sentimentality for the past and the needs to carry the respect and value of same into our futures. 

Burns continually and romantically played off the position that our pasts were important, and that meant everything about our pasts including friendships and their respective activities, if not sacred memories, to each and everyone of us.  The value of our individual past experiences, which goes well beyond "tradition," was common sense in his day. 

These were things not to be trifled with, for only a fool would mistakenly leave these treasures behind as we march into our tomorrows.  He continually reminded us to not forget our friends, repair and not forsake our past, and give credit and thanks to those who have helped us on our way, while blessing by forgiving those who have only tried to hinder us.

Yet, that's not what we've been led to believe when were singing this traditional song, now is it?  In fact, today we sing it to mean the exact opposite! 

Namely, we raise our glasses and sing to specifically forget the old and bring in the new, sweep away the past so as to make room for the future.  The answer to Burn's question of "should old acquaintance be forgot"----is a resounding "yes" in today's superficial world. 

Indeed, everywhere about us we are encouraged to forget about yesterday and accept our losses so as to leave space for tomorrow, get rid of the baggage and become unencumbered of yesterday's mistakes and grievances, so as to make a fresh start for the rest of our lives.  Even within Christianity today, the wicked ill-founded notion of "forgetting to forgive" has become so overwhelming popular as to masquerade as a legitimate Gospel tenet.  But that dog just won't hunt!

But maybe that's what's wrong with today's world.  We are encouraged to forget far too easily about matters which have never been appropriately resolved or thought about, that have occurred "yesterday" or "yesteryear."  We abandon the promise that life teaches us valuable lessons if we would only accept its training and impact.  We launch into tomorrow with little foundation gleaned from yesterday's lessons, little understanding having been accrued, finding it too inconvenient and time-consuming to bring the matters of our life into better analytical perspective.  Far too many of us attempt to live lives without regret, without first having to acknowledge the costs and burdens we've put onto the backs of others.

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So the intentions of Robert Burns, and the economy of language in which he wrote, has been forgotten, only to be quietly replaced with something more modern that reflects our out-of-touch, self-absorbed society----a "quick-fix" scenario that encourages the erasure and loss of our yesterdays, along with all the mistakes and stains that go with them. 

In today's world there just isn't time for such contemplation, whereas in Burn's song, the point and purpose of moving on was to ensure the contemplation of every yesterday and every friendship we've ever experienced, holding it to our hearts and valuing the treasures of our memories that they are.

Yet, rarely do we toil in the making and refining of our own characters anymore.  We hardly ever admit to any wrong doing, nor do we apologize anymore for anything that we might do, fearful of how it may scar our prideful, preciously designed self-image.  Egocentrically, we exalt ourselves in the eyes of others, censuring and erasing every challenge to the contrary.  Never do we take the time to reflect, introspect and retrospect into our pasts.  Self-correction has become a byword for "looser;"  Self-preservation for "smart." 

So the intentions of Robert Burns, and the economy of language in which he wrote, has been forgotten, only to be quietly replaced with something more modern that reflects our out-of-touch, self-absorbed society----a "quick-fix" scenario that encourages the erasure and loss of our yesterdays, along with all the mistakes and stains that go with them. 

And that brings us to the problem at hand.  How can we ever be successful in making New Year's Resolutions if we continually forget about our pasts?  How can we ever hope to correct something if we've conveniently forgotten the reasons for it being a problem in the first place?

As most of you know, I take a different position, one that suggests that the recovering and restoring of the memories of our past, and especially the children we used to be, is much more fruitful.  Although this direction is not at all accepted by the "Kum-ba-ya generation" and those that "just wanna have fun," it is in the regard and respect of the intricacies of our own lives that true wisdom can be found, forging a better and more prosperous tomorrow. 

Even in the mistakes that we have made, the people that we've hurt, the blunders we've entertained, there is redemption if we know where and how to look.  Indeed, "for the sake of old times past" we can learn from our mistakes and embrace the lessons learned, toasting to the merits of the over-coming of sin and ignorance, and learning to legitimately become the better person.  How else can this be so established?  Only the willfully stupid think otherwise.

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I know that the restoring of past memories can be a very uncomfortable, if not painful, experience for many.  And because of the initial discomfort, very few of us even consider this as the needful foundation for our tomorrows.  It takes courage and strength to look at ourselves over the years and assess the works of our hands and hearts.  In all honesty, all of us are ashamed of at least some of the things that we've done---to believe otherwise is clinically delusional.  In not resolving our pasts and bringing closure to their lessons, we only ensure the same trials will continue for us into the tomorrows.

 

 

Do we really think that by simply making some half-hearted resolution we will find the honor and strength within ourselves to realize the stated goal.  Poppycock!   What nonsense have we been feeding ourselves?  To believe that we suddenly may arise and change ourselves for the better while paying little if any regard to our pasts is ridiculous.  

I know that the restoring of past memories can be a very uncomfortable, if not painful, experience for many.  And because of the initial discomfort, very few of us even consider this as the needful foundation for our tomorrows.  It takes courage and strength to look at ourselves over the years and assess the works of our hands and hearts.  In all honesty, all of us are ashamed of at least some of the things that we've done---to believe otherwise is clinically delusional.  In not resolving our pasts and bringing closure to their lessons, we only ensure the same trials will continue for us into the tomorrows.

But in the course of recovering all those memories of yesteryear, in restoring the children we used to be, and in learning to resolve the mistakes and errors of our past, even the worst of times can become a shinning example of courage and strength when our repentance is sincere and the dross of our pridefulness can be burned away. 

Yes, even in the most ugly of circumstances, the Lord our God can make us better than new again...., make us more than what we were before we did those awful deeds.  And although He will not restore our previous innocence, He will generously give to us the mantle of His Innocence instead, a covering far more grand and valuable than that bauble of original innocence we once held pure.  Inviting such a transformation to occur within us allows us to embrace all our memories with gladness and thankfulness, never wanting to lose even the least drop of recall ever again.

So, in the coming year, let's shun the dictates of the world and take to heart the words of Robert Burns. "For the sake of old past times," let us embrace this bitter-sweet ambrosia and drink to the bottom of our glass, never letting this nectar go unattended or unappreciated.  There is far more to this life than most of us ever understand----more wisdom hidden in the smallest and seeming insignificant experience of our lives, if we would ever be so inclined to re-examine our pasts.  By denying the realities of our past, by endlessly spinning, rationalizing, and excusing ourselves pretentiously, we only miss the grandest opportunity that God has afforded us..., namely the chance to repent and be healed of all that dirtied, disgraced, and defamed our pasts.   

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So determined, let us raise our glasses and as poetically instructed by Robbie Burns, himself, let us each drink what is and has been ours to the "full," ingesting and assimilating every bit of every experience with gladness and kindness, mercy and forgiveness----and let us never forget the wealth of our pasts and those that crossed our paths. 

When so inclined to repent and make plain and straight that which hitherto has been deceptively scrambled and encoded within our lives, we gain a fresh perspective, one that is invigorating and alive, hopeful and confident.  Isn't that how we should approach the New Year?

Becoming at one with oneself is not a fiction born from a trite bedtime story.  This possibility is real.  And when witnessed, becomes the most desirable thing that we can do within this life..., as then "all" of ourselves, all those that we used to be, and all those Godly influences, powers, and authorities that the children we used to be had been given, are restored and made whole again within us.  Then, when we see, we see with added intelligence and Spirit, more aware of that which surrounds us, more aware of His Presence making contact with out lives.  That's the only safe way to proceed into our tomorrows.  

Never should we be without the composite wisdom inherently protected in our yesterdays.  So instead of following the foolishness imposed upon us in this world, instead of following the false prescriptions so enticing to so many, let us be wise and smarter than those around us. 

So determined, let us raise our glasses and as poetically instructed by "Robbie" Burns, himself..., let us each "drink full what's mine," acknowledging what is and has been ours to the "full," ingesting and assimilating every bit of every experience with the sweet ambrosia of thankfulness. 

Legitimately, this can never be anything less than the haunting melancholy mixture which springs from the realized gladness for our blessings along with the grasped opportunities for repentance that were ours----wherein we have witnessed the mighty change of heart and cleansing offered by the ready kindnesses coming from the Lord's Hand..., namely, His Healing Promises of Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness....That's the "cup of kindness" we may yet take, and drink to our heart's content, namely, the Lord forgiving us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.

Truly, this sense of merciful reconciliation and blessed restoration to all things Good and so remembered, and no other, was Burn's passionate intent which made him wax so poetic. 

Indeed, taking instruction from Scotland's inspired Baird, let us humbly thank the Lord for all the opportunities presented us, for all the blessings and lessons given, even for the pain and suffering of the chastisements borne and the blessings subsequently endowed, and most especially the chance to change ourselves through the powers of Repentance and Forgiveness inherent in His Word. 

So, let us never forget the treasures of our pasts and those that crossed our paths, made clean by the Lord's Atonement.  Only through such a way will our New Year Resolutions ever prove fruitful and enduring..., and, we who made them, honorable.

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About the Author:  Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.) is a Clinical Psychologist and Neuroscientist having been educated abroad where he completed his postgraduate studies at King’s College, the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and then graduated and received his Doctorate from the University of Oxford, Oxford, England. He has been in private clinical practice and medical research for over 25 years, being active as an author, popular radio and TV personality, public speaker, and biomedical researcher. An expert in a number of fields including Forensic/Criminal Psychology, Child and Family/Relationship Psychology, and Neuropsychology.  He has also served as an expert scientific advisor, product innovator and formulator, and professional consultant to the Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries. He is the author of The Winds of the Soul~Heaven’s First Voice To Us, as well as numerous other scholarly papers and works.

 

 

 

 

Why don’t you take a moment and become part of the discussion.  Of course, more of this discussion can be gleaned from in the book.  Share with me your perspective, questions, and comments; tell me what you think of all this by emailing me at: DrYoung@WindsoftheSoul.com.


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Coming Soon in 2004:

Dr. Young's brand new book and the long awaited sequel:

The Winds of Forgiveness

~Heaven's Healing Promises~

 

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