New Year’s Resolutions
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? That deep-felt sincere intention to do something different, something new or stop something not helpful?
The mindfulness movement is everywhere these days. It can overwhelm us with its “shoulds”. The message is old and repeated through many approaches and schools of thought. We are commanded to be aware and in touch constantly. We more often fail. This is an old imperative. It was part of the Gestalt approach. Ram Dass told us to “be here now”.
When we resolve and fail it can be destructive in its own right and undermine our best intentions.
There is a podcast, “Nothing Much Happens” in which Catherine Nicoli shares vignettes that are simple slices of life. Gentle experiences with a common thread. While the podcast itself is an interesting neurolinguistic programming approach to falling asleep, it is also a way for us to realize the simple treasure our daily experiences can be. These are the threads that hold our lives together and make it possible to go forward each day.
One of Catherine Nicoli’s podcast was entitled “First This Then That”. As she looks at a day with overwhelming “shoulds” she gets in touch with the phrase, first this then that. There is something about looking at what needs to be done in our lives and being able to prioritize them, not simply by demands, but also about what seems “first” viscerally for us. What connects our heart with what we “need” to accomplish at this moment? What is it that if we could do just that one thing right now would cause us to say at the end of a day, “well done” and a smile would find its way to your lips as you thought it?
So, making those major changes what we hope are life changing new year’s resolutions can overwhelm more than motivate. Simply assessing what feels right today, what is the ‘this’ that will set life in order for addressing all the ‘that’s’ later is a way to achieve goals that is gentle and non-punitive. This works because the present is always with us. It is there more surely than the memories of the past and the hopes of the future. We can begin again in the “present” that is always alive with possibility. What a gift.
Act,–act in the living present!
Heart within, and God o’ver head!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow