As many, many people have discussed, 2016 is not going to go down in history as a great year. There has been so much tough stuff on many levels, and the weight of it all is oppressive. It is a year that tried to bitch slap the hope right out of us, and it is easy to feel discouraged. We look to the magical change of the calendar to provide a clean slate- another chance to get it right. I love that we humans are ever hopeful, resolving to make changes that will improve our quality of life. Even if we don’t always follow through, the process of reflection, the openness to admit we need to grow and change, is an important and beautiful part in the cycle of life. So, the question is- to resolution or not to resolution?
I’ve been on a big winter holiday cleaning out spree, and I came across an old list of resolutions that I had written. As I read over the list, I saw the usual suspects that appear each year;
Drink more water, less wine
Make more time to read and relax
Humph…Well, I’ve made some progress on that list, but it has been a rollercoaster. That same cycle of life puts many speed bumps along our paths that make sticking to changes incredibly challenging; stress, illness, death, unexpected changes in work or in relationships. I go through periods of being incredibly focused and on-track to times where I feel utterly out of control of my life. I try to remind myself that being human means we are flawed- we’re going to make mistakes and get off track, again and again. There is no perfect. Perhaps it’s when we give up trying or wanting to make changes that we need to worry. Change is life, life is change.
Lots of people say that making New Year’s resolutions is a waste of time, that those resolutions never stick, leaving us feeling like failures. I disagree. Making resolutions, at least for me, is a time of taking a hard look at where I am in my life, and where I want to be. When I look at myself honestly and see my failings, resolutions are a game plan, a thread of hope to hold on to. It is an act of hope, an act of believing that I am worth making changes to have a better quality of life.
This year, I’ve asked Dan for us to do something special concerning our resolutions- a burning bowl. We did this on the first anniversary of my mother’s death. In a burning bowl ceremony, you take pieces of paper and write down things that you want to let go of, things that no longer serve you, and bless them as you watch them burn in the bowl. It’s is a beautiful symbolic gesture that really speaks to my heart. This year, instead of adding to my list of resolutions, I am going to take away from them.
This year I hope to be gentle with myself, giving myself permission to not be perfect. I hope to love more and worry less. I hope to do more things to help others through the challenges of life. I hope to focus on living in healthy ways, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I am visualizing success, setting myself up to move forward in positive ways, one day at a time. I will focus on putting good intentions for myself and the world out there, and do my best to be a better human being. That is one resolution I always hope to keep.
Happy New Year and peace to you all.