2023 New Year transition reflection series 1

Gemma Jiang, PhD


Sunsets on Lake Hartwell where I live

The film Moments of Happiness made a deep impression on me when I visited the World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta in 2019. The idea that we remember life by remembering moments resonated deeply.

The relationship between moments and memory appeals to the nonlinear nature of time that I find increasingly interesting. While we can forget long stretches of time, we remember certain moments as if they last forever. These moments are the gold nuggets that our memories choose to hold onto after mining the river of life. They are like evergreen trees that always give hope.

I have been hosting year end reflection parties in my coaching circles, where participants take turns to offer reflective prompts. In one of the circles, this prompt was offered: What was a defining/enlightening/inspiring moment for you this year?

The prompt reminded me of the poem Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

I am thankful that I have experienced sublime moments as I am about to share below. Even though the linear passage of time for those particular moments do not last long, the nonlinear impact they have made on me will always stay and continue to inspire me.

Morning on the lake

One of my best experiences this year was the five-day workshop on healing from trauma at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Kripalu is situated in West MA next to a small mountain lake. Every morning I would get up around 6:00 AM, and alternate my activities between going to a morning yoga session and taking a walk to the lake.

On this particular morning, I decided to take a walk to the lake. It was truly a picturesque morning. There was light fog steaming up from the lake, embracing the early morning sun. There were people kayaking…



Gemma Jiang, PhD

Senior Team Scientist, Colorado State University; Complexity Leadership Scholar and Practitioner; also at