Art of Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson


Happy New Year!

January is for celebrating new beginnings, starting over.

Each January many of us promise ourselves we are going to be better than we were last year. It is particularly popular to resolve to lose weight and accumulate more money. We apparently believe it is impossible to be too thin or too rich. 

Some of us resolve to put our poor health, slothful ways, and unbalanced eating habits behind us. We pay to join fitness centers, buy exercise equipment, or subscribe to apps which promise to help us become stronger and get our bodies into shape.

Others of us commit ourselves to balancing our budgets. We are determined to keep track of how we spend our money, pay down our credit cards, and live within our means. Some of us open new savings accounts or decide to save a specific amount of money each month. We may begin looking for a new job which would give us more income.

No matter how we hope to improve our lives this year, we all believe in the power of starting over again.

Our belief in the power of new beginnings is strong, no matter how many times we try to begin again.

It can be easy for us to set unrealistic goals for ourselves. We believe in our ability to start again and hope we can overcome the challenges we face this year. If only we can stick to our goals, we think, we can resolve our problems soon. It can be easy fro us to forget the things we are trying to change took months or years to develop and we cannot overturn them quickly.

When we set realistic, reasonable goals for ourselves it can reinforce our ability to start over. We do not need to change everything overnight. We can set goals for the year and work toward them each month, each week, each day.

It does not help us to continue behaving the ways which created our challenges and believe we can start over again later, next year.

We need to act in the present to overcome the past and change the future.

Some of us also need to learn more about the challenges we are trying to overcome and the goals we set for ourselves. There may be reasons personal to us which keep us from accomplishing our goals. Some of us might have easy steps to take to help ourselves. 

January can be an effective month to spend time reflecting on how we really want to grow and change, and what we are actually willing to do to meet our goals. We do not need to put pressure on ourselves to make as much progress as quickly as we can. It is more important for us to know where we want to go than to get off to a fast start.

These same factors also make January a great month to start over in our appreciation of good craft beer. I know people who have tried to taste as much local craft beer as they can who feel overwhelmed and discouraged.

We live in a place where there is a wealth of craft breweries within easy driving distance. It is not difficult for us to visit a large number of breweries and try many varieties of excellent beer.

It is not necessary for us to exhaustively catalogue or try to become experts about every beer from every brewery. We have the luxury of trying a variety of beers brewed in different ways.

January is an excellent opportunity to decide what we would like to experience this year and set some realistic beer goals. With a little exploration and curiosity, 2020 could be a year of new craft beer discoveries for us.

We do not need to drink everything all at once. This is just the beginning of a whole year to spend gaining insight into spiritual life and craft beer.

Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor in Pasadena, California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and monks and monastic life. Greg has served as an assistant district attorney and an associate 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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