It's the morning after the night before...New Year's Day, 2013, to be exact. The skies are varying degrees of grey, as they have been on and off for weeks, all the news is about the US (sort of) averting this "fiscal cliff", a new phrase we've learned in the last month or two, and how both sides in the NHL hockey lockout are coming together for more talks today. Technology is still an obsession and somewhere on this blue planet, people are still alternately rejoicing or suffering in one way or another. The world goes on.
I've long ago stopped making New Year's resolutions for the same reason most do...they are usually forgotten or broken by about week two. Good intentions lose their lustre when reality hits. The ten pounds you were determined to lose, the bad habit you were going to give up, the new path you were going to forge; none of these can last without a sudden abundance of self-discipline, which is what should be the real focus. But self-discipline doesn't sound quite as sexy as "lose 10 pounds!" or "stop smoking!" Which is what I've noticed in my spam email box lately; lots of stop smoking, lose weight and find a new relationship ads. I guess there are still plenty of New Year's resolution believers out there and spammers who want to take advantage of them.
I read an article a few days ago that suggested that instead of creating resolutions, we should focus on picking three words that we aspire to in the next year. It's less specific and more achievable. So for the last few days I've been thinking about my three words. And last night I watched "Eat, Pray, Love" on Netflix; I read the book and it was better, but the movie was still worth watching on a New Year's Eve because it was all about change and finding yourself, and it kept referring over and over to finding a word to represent something, which reminded me of my task at hand.
Sometimes in order to look forward, you first need to look back to decide what needs work. I know my faults and bad habits pretty well by now, but rather than trying to get rid of them, I work on emphasizing them less, be aware of them as they come up, and forgiving myself for them. That's easier than simply trying to stop them dead in their tracks, an almost impossible feat. So my words are going to be in a positive vein, a forward and optimistic motion. And I don't have to pick three, I can pick just one if that's what suits me.
It's is now the afternoon and I have just come back from a wonderful walk around Cedar Hill Golf Course. It's about a 50 minute walk, with a few good grades to huff and puff through, along with a couple of glorious views of the course and the city. On a clearer day, you can see all the way to the Olympic mountains across the strait. Today wasn't totally clear, but it did get a little sunnier as the morning wore on.
I told myself it was time for a talk with myself, but I was too busy focusing on the people I was meeting on my walk. Some, most, actually, were friendly and smiled or said hello as I did in return. Some were too preoccupied with conversation or the dog, or they were running with one of those three-wheeled strollers that annoy the heck out of me. Okay, Irene, this is not about that...
But those stupid strollers take over the whole aisle...why do they make them so HUGE?? And obnoxious...
Stop it, Irene.
The mind is like that, isn't it? Always jumping from topic to topic, or getting distracted by stupid things. So I never did get to having that conversation with myself. But through the course of the morning, I did manage to decide on my three words.
Let Go. I know, that's two words, but who needs rules? I seriously need to learn to let go even more than I have in the past couple of years...it's a constant effort. Let go of inane thoughts about stupid strollers, let go of everything that creates suffering. You don't even realize you're doing it half the time, that's the real effort. Which leads me to my second word.
Mindful. I know I've meditated on and contemplated that word many times before. But again, it is one that I have to remind myself of constantly. When I am mindful, I am present. When I am present, I am alive. When thoughts go berserk, I'm caught in a miserable quagmire that I almost forget I am actually able to remove myself from. How silly is it to sit there and make yourself miserable? On purpose? Or at least, without being aware. So mindfulness is very important and I shall remind myself of that word every day. The choices of let go and mindful, will lead me to my third word.
Creative. I'm actually on the precipice of writing songs again. By that I mean that I haven't finished one yet, but I've started two, and that's what counts. I laughed at myself the other day when I came to the conclusion "I'm too miserable to write." Actually, most people write a lot more when they are miserable! Usually, it's happiness that mutes one's creativity. So I have no excuses! I have gone back to my old way of writing...longhand, on lined paper, keeping every version as I am re-writing. No technology around except the mp3 recorder to keep a record of the music part of it. Technology has, I think, hampered my stream of creative consciousness. So it's out with the new and in with the old!
And with that, I wish you all a Happy New Year ahead. May you find success in everything you set your mind to doing this year.