Art of Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson

January is the month when we celebrate starting over.

The first month of the year, in January we to become better, stronger, more effective than we were last year.

When we spent more money than we even had last year and wasted it on things we do not actually need, we resolve in January to balance our budgets. We resolve to keep track of what we buy, pay down our credit cards, or live within our means. Some of us open new savings accounts or save a certain amount each month.

No matter what we did last year we pledge to live differently this year.

We may have binged our way through the holidays eating more desserts than were good for us. In January we resolve to follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get into shape. Some of us join fitness centers, buy exercise equipment, or subscribe to apps which show us how to get stronger.

Many of us set goals and resolve to work toward them in the new year.

Quite a few of us resolve to lose weight and make more money. We seem to feel it is impossible to be too thin or too rich.

Some of us try again and again. When our efforts do not seem to take us where we want to go we start over.

More than anything else we believe in the power of starting over.

We love the idea of starting over. Many of us live in a nation, and a state, which are apparently based in an opportunity to start over.

Each January we celebrate with a parade and a football game. We invite people from far away to come, watch the parade and the game with us, and start over.

Of course, we do not only start over on New Year’s, or in January. Each month, each week, each day are filled with opportunities for us to start over.

Some people try to get us to believe life is about finding the right answers and plugging them in as many places as possible. 

Many of them expect us to believe the answers they give us, to follow their lead.

I believe it is more meaningful, and more fun, to discover our own insights for ourselves.

We ask our own questions and come to our own conclusions. As we try new ways of doing things we learn what works for us. We experience how our choices work for us and learn from our experience. Asking our own questions, gaining our own insights, we start over and try something new.

Some of us seem to want other people to try things for us. We want a clear checklist to follow, a marked path which will keep us safe. Life, including spiritual life, is not about being safe.

More and more, people want to approach the craft beer they drink the way they approach spiritual life. They want someone to go and try new beers for them and tell them which are good and which are not. Someone who knows us may be able to say what we might like and what we might not. That approach, though, takes all the fun out of trying.

January is about starting over.

This month is a great opportunity to start our approach to craft beer over again. It can be a new beginning which will lead us to other new beginnings.

January can be an opportune time to try something new. Please take some time this month to visit a brewery tasting room you have not visited before. Try a kind of beer you do not know you will enjoy.

This is a good month to start practicing a new habit. Explore the possibilities, the ambiguity beyond your certainties.

Taste something new. Try something you have always wanted to try, or something you have avoided so far.

January can be a fresh start.

Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor in Pasadena, California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and monks and monastic life. Greg is a recovering attorney, executive, and university professor. Greg’s website is and he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk. You can email Greg at, and he writes a blog for the Contemplative channel on

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