Every day is a new beginning and every day one can resolve to begin something great, work through a problem or simply get through a day. Every day is a chance to look at yourself – not as an inspection for flaws, errors and bugs like you can’t be released into the world until you’re the picture of perfection. But each day is a chance to look at yourself in your entirety and ask some very serious questions about long held thoughts, beliefs and even feelings.
I feel that resolutions aren’t helpful when they’re asking, “what’s wrong with me?” I feel they can really do some good, however, when they’re asking, “what do I do well that brings me joy and can I do more of it?”
You can look at the world and see all the problems (and believe me I know that there are a lot of them) and you can all fired up and angry about them until you feel a call to action. That’s fine but the anger won’t outlast the frustration you’ll begin to feel life doesn’t allow you to keep you resolutions. Change cannot last from that space because it wears us out. Then it creates it’s own negative spiral: I feel icky, so I will change something, I forget to make the change and now I feel ick-ier about myself, now I’m emotionally drained so I simply don’t care whether or not I’ve made the change, now I feel guilty that I stopped caring…I’m a horrible person…2014: I resolve to stop being a horrible person.
Stop it. You’re not a horrible person. You’ve simply forgotten how to love yourself and your journey. Remember how to love yourself and your journey and you will naturally, almost effortlessly, improve yourself, your circumstances and the world by extension.
|Save the earth
||I need to be better or the earth will perish and it’s tombstone will have my likeness, name and social security number engraved on it.
||I buy a separate container for recycling, I recycle for a week, I get busy and forget to recycle, I feel guilty and I’ve already blown it – (imagines the tombstone w/ likeness, name and SSN on it).
||I’ve been pretty good about using canvas bags at the grocery store. I’m glad I’m making a difference. I bet it would help if I also recycled my newspapers.
||For every newspaper put in the bin, there’s a feeling of satisfaction – because that feels good I do it again. I’m happy to recycle when I can and when I remember.
|Be nice to friends
||I know I don’t respond to friends promptly when they contact me. I’m horrible person who will end up horribly alone. Henceforth I shall be known as the Record holder for prompt return phone calls/emails.
||I’m in an important meeting (or in the middle of an Angry Birds level) and simply cannot get to that text message. I forget I received said message. I call back 5 hours later – friend has called AAA and my services are no longer required. I’m a terrible person.
||I’m really good at making sure I have dedicated time when I contact my friends and that makes them feel special.
||When I call I make someone feel special. When they call me I enjoy calling them back because they feel important to me. Because that feels good I do it again.
|I’ve gained weight
||I hate looking at myself in the mirror and not feeling attractive in public. I need to feel pretty in order to feel happy so I must make major lifestyle changes to “fix” myself.
||Day 1 – changes stick – I still hate looking at myself in the mirrorDay 10 – I’ve busted my ass and I’m still “broken”
I’m tired. I’m taking a break. I’m out of my routine – I hate myself.
|I’d like to get healthier but I know my friends love me regardless. I’d like to spend more time w/ my friends.
||I get out and go spend time w/ friends – just maybe not in so many food-centric ways. I love spending more time w/ my friends so I do it more often.
“Once in awhile there comes a crisis which renders miracles feasible.” Julia Sand
This time of year, around the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the collective consciousness begins to get a little jumpy. Odd things seem to happen with people’s schedules, everyday errands make people a little grumpy…nothing goes quite as expected because our stress pulls us out of alignment with our goals and ideals.
Now is a wonderful time to recall the bonding that happened between community members during that time. The grace everyone had for each other during their shock and even throughout their grieving period was a beautiful, open hearted selflessness during a time when the political scene was wrenching us apart from one another. I remember, quite clearly, how my sense of safety was rattled to the core – but I also remember how quickly I was reminded of what is truly important in my life. I’ve carried that renewed sense of priority with me through the years (most of them difficult) that have followed.
We may not fully understand the miracles that have become feasible as a result of that crisis but I feel that it marked the beginning of a big shift for the world community, a shift so monumental it cracked the foundation of old, the foundation of “I’ve got mine, you get yours” and started planting the seeds of love and compassion in the global mind. Seeds are small, they take time to germinate, take root and grow. But they’re also tough and because their progress is slow and steady they can become vibrant, resilient and prolific in even the harshest of environments.
This week puts more than a decade of initial growth of that seed of love, compassion, forgiveness and care behind us. As I look forward I imagine the seed has turned into a sprout and that sprout will turn into a bright, living, breathing source of sustenance as we embrace the miracle made possible by its planting. We need do nothing more than breathe the new life of Pure Love into our lungs and let it become a part of us so that we may be kind and gentle to ourselves, each other and the world.
Interesting side note: Julia Sand, the author of the quote at the top of this post was a disabled woman who began writing to Vice President Arthur after President Garfield had been shot by Charles Guiteau. She had noticed Arthur floundering under negative influence prior to the shooting and encouraged him to make more selfless choices in light of the nation’s tragedy. He had never met her before yet took solace in her written wisdom. He saved every letter. He met her for the first time, months after becoming president when he surprised her with a visit in a home she shared with her brother.
It is natural this time of year for one’s attention to turn to transition and cleanliness. Springtime brings about that feeling of renewal and freshness; so much so that it is almost as though we cannot help ourselves. We begin by picking up a room or a drawer that we’ve allowed to get cluttered with our tools of hibernation and soon find ourselves planning for improvement projects, gardens (even if we know we’re no good at it) and redecorating.
This is one of the reasons that Spring is my most favored seasons. Though it is wonderful to affect this kind of change on our physical surroundings it can also do us much good to consider the opportunity to perform a similar Spring cleaning on our Mind/Soul/Self.
Instead of simply sorting the junk drawer ponder the mindset (or lack of) that went into the stockpiling in the first place. Take a close look at what is in that junk drawer/room. Dead batteries and broken pens? Chargers and electronic pieces that you’re not sure what they go to? Keys without locks? Outdated stamps? Whatever it is – take a look at and see if there are any parallels between that item and something in your life or your mindset. Similar to a broken pen or a dead battery, perhaps you keep other broken or dead “things” in your life – friendships, relationships, grudges? Did you keep them by default never realizing the clutter they created or did you knowingly stock them away because you couldn’t be sure if you’d ever need to focus on them again? Consider the possibility that something could be gained (Hint: There is MUCH to be gained) from simply saying, “this doesn’t serve me anymore” and letting it go? Lockless keys may correlate to all the answers you have to problems that aren’t yours. There’s a chance that you’re holding onto worry, regrets and decisions that are out of your control or from the distant past. Recognize, mindfully, what issues are really your own to face and be willing to face them. Don’t worry, you’ll have more energy to do that now that you’re letting everyone else’s go!!
Our default habits come from somewhere and they stick with us longer than we realize and in ways that may not even seem significant – like a junk drawer. NOW is the time to give those patterns their due consideration. Maybe they’ll be hard to let go and chances are good it will take you more than one time to relinquish them. Remember, practice makes perfect. You may not even notice it the next time you throw a dead battery back in the drawer but perhaps you’ll notice it when you try to replace other dead batteries and you’ll have that same chance to revisit the recesses of your mind and ask yourself the question, “do I need this?” If you don’t – let it go – without regret.
What are some examples you’ve come across, either this Spring or in previous Springs/Cleansing sessions?