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A story my father told me over Christmas has given me a fresh perspective on my new year.

He described one day in 1945 when, as a small boy, he rang the bell of the church built by my family to mark the end of World War II.

I can picture the child, clutching the rope with small hands – caught up in excitement and new hope. What a sound that ringing must have been, as it carried across the hills and valleys laden with vines and wheat and olives.

I’ve often thought that the New Year could benefit from a peal of bells. Not the perfunctory striking of Big Ben, but a cascade of sound to ring out the old and formally bestow on us a new present tense. Whereas fireworks explode and cease, the sound of a bell resonates and lives on; it’s a sound that creates change.

Bells have rung throughout history to humanity’s most profound experiences – impending danger and the ‘all clear’. Bells chime us through our rights of passage like birth, death and marriage – sometimes in that order. And they’re not shy of signaling the mundane – like the end of class or closing lift doors.

I like the way the sound of a bell cuts a slice through everyday life. Their chimes call us into the present, helping us notice the now.

I’m going to challenge you to live your life as if your own personal bells could ring at key moments. I hope you’ll celebrate your achievements this year, and have a real sense of the power of the present.

© Gvons 2016

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