Escape is a place, one where I stroll among images that make me feel good. Some of those images are pipe dreams, some are nostalgic, some are wishes that hang on gossamer threads that glisten as they slowly turn in the beam of the sun stirred by the slightest breeze of possibility.

I watched the gossamer threads break on a whole raft of wishes recently for someone I deeply care about. Hospitalized and confused at a reality no-one saw coming despite the other impending realities, I saw escape stolen and the Circles of Hell open up before this one person. And I wanted to give that person something to hold onto, some reality that I knew fed a portion of the peace that had gone missing, some wish to make a new hope that everything would be alright.

Like all good tales, that episode was the climax in the book that was 2012. The drama had played out with all its sidelines and mini-apices, until the final big hit near the end of the year. And just when all seemed lost, when the nightmare threatened to consume us all, the soul of my most treasured was expelled and La Porte de l’Enfer, beyond which I could see but could not step to pull my loved one back, slammed shut. I stood beside the battered and wearied heart and thanked the Gods for what I did not expect, reprieve not just for the soul of my beloved, but my own heart, that had shredded at the horror I had watched unfold so rapidly.

The tale of 2012 simpered to its end rapidly and I like many others turned to the sweet elixir of the vine at Yuletide to celebrate the end of the novel that was 2012 and welcome what I know will be a sweeter 2013.

Yes, it will be sweeter. Because my escape, whilst it remains real to my mind, now includes one more vital aspect – my choice to approach life without fear and in doing so, be positive in my outlook. I’m not sure when my positivity began to fade … it doesn’t really matter … because I choose instead to look back on what has been for the gifts I ignored and the lessons I should learn and to carry those forward into this new book that is 2013.

New Year turnings are such arbitrary points in time that really hold no impression on a universal scale. We can make the decision to change our approach to life at any time. But after the insanity of celebrating in a culture that places such emphasis of one point in the year, I like everyone else sit in the sun for a short time and review the year that has been. It is the cyclic arbitrariness of the Yuletide that makes it such a natural point at which to consider the year that has been and compare it against all those before it. Weighed and balanced against its siblings, 2012 came up better than I realized on individual value-for-money, even if it didn’t hold its own in balance against the other years.

And in that cyclic arbitrariness, I have, like most others, sifted the chaff from the grain to choose an approach for 2013 and hopefully beyond. Back to those Buddhist roots, which says I always have a choice, a belief I have found to quite empowering. But I limited that empowerment by placing that belief in a purely physical setting such as I always have choice about what I eat, the hours I work, etc. And at some time in the past couple of weeks, the reality of that limitation became real to me. The choice is of much more simple – I have the choice about how I respond to every situation. I have the choice to respond with a positive light or wallow complaining in some darkened corner. It’s such a very simple concept, although not one always easily put into practice. But with it, when successful, I create a more powerful escape from the bondage of life’s mental traumas than any physical bolt cutter.  It’s about the balance. The negative may not be what I want, but my approach will determine how much harm it does to my own soul.

Yes 2012, you were one almighty badass year, but I will let you define me only in positive terms. From you I take into 2013 a greater resolve to be the person I wish to be and to care for others, both physically and mentally, to be grateful for the blessings and look for the lessons on the trials. And when 2013 is complete, regardless of whatever negativity or vile harassment is sent my way, I hope that the benefits of my approach will be self-evident.

It is a bold challenge I am making for myself. I expect to fail at times because whining and complaining is easier than working through the issues sometimes. But if I am my own jailer, then I also hold the keys to my cell and it is my intention, if it should take a year or a lifetime, to give myself the freedom we each deserve.

I wonder if Alexandria will look different from this angle?

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