January brings a return to our regular routine. We remember food groups again (well, hello there, vegetables!), go to bed before dawn (except on the weekends), and otherwise recall our habits and/or sanity.
One thing that we usually do as a culture is focus on New Year's Resolutions. I am not a fan of those, for a number of reasons that you can read more about in earlier posts in this blog. As a culture, we talk about these resolutions as though they are a required commencement ritual before we can roll out the year. But if our goal is to live in the present--where our power is, and where our ability to make choices resides--then these protracted promises knock us off course.
I do think that this is a good time to consider some things. We could put on our most compassionate thinking caps and look at:
* What we thought of the previous year (What did we want for ourselves? How well did our actions match our hopes? What kind of surprises did we experience? What were the outcomes?);
* What we want for this year (What would our ideal year look like? What happened in our personal and professional relationships?); and also
* What might be a better fit for us (What worked for us in the past? What did not work? What will we try that is new and different?)?
This reflection might be useful for us if we are ready to make room for more of what we want. That starts with a fearless inventory of our habits, and a confession of our deepest and truest desires (even if it's only to ourselves).
Why not resolutions? They are so often irrationable, unreasonable, or near-impossible (e.g., "I've never run before, but I'm going to run 10 miles every day, starting January 1st!"), or tied with all-or-nothing thinking ("I have to run all ten miles, every day, even though my tibia is cracked, or the whole year is for nothing, and I'll never run again").
If our real goal is to make that change, as the man suggested, then we need to incorporate some flexibility, or our idea won't fit into the shape of our world. We are not inflexible people. All of our parts are movable, including our moods--and that means we work best when we work with ideas that can shift, too.
For those of us who feel compelled to make a resolution--this is a good time to focus on compassion. Maybe the one resolution that will serve us best is to create a more loving relationship with ourselves.
Maybe it's time to do that. It would be the best gift we ever received.
And so it is.