A mindful toast.
New Year’s resolutions stress me out. I love the idea of writing them. I tell myself I’m only going to focus on two or three this year. But I always end up making this incredibly long list, to include even my future lives, if possible (and the names of all my hypothetical children).
As the year ends, I try to resolve myself as quickly and efficiently as possible and while I’m at it, save the world. Maybe it’s the pressure of having to come through, checking off the items on my new-me-list instead of letting the process of my becoming happen naturally.
I do believe in deliberate living, in knowing your “what”, in figuring out your “how” and in getting to your “where”. I believe in plans. In persistence, patience and consistency. In never giving up.
But resolutions seem to go just a little further than wishful thinking and yet they don’t quite make it to the planning realm. Most of them, as the year ends, are still ironically somewhat unresolved. Maybe it’s just a problem of perception; maybe this concept has been watered down over time and lost its imperative meaning. Or maybe it’s just me.
So this New Year, instead of resolutions per se, I’ve decided to plan and also to remember.
Try to update the future by deliberately choosing the present, whether this happens on December 31st, April 7th or July 54th. And try to highlight some of life’s most significant lessons, for daily inspiration. You know, heart fuel, life mojo, garage philosophy, a few bites of chewable meaning to put up on your fridge door.
Because in the end, it’s not what you’re fighting against that matters, it’s what you’re fighting for. Though important, it’s not the big aha moments that determine your fate, but what you learn from long, beautiful and painful years of human experience.
Your 99% happens as you’re doing your dishes, cleaning the house, taking care of your children, driving biking to work, buying your groceries, talking (and by that I mean listening) to a friend or co-worker, cooking dinner, kissing your other (or your dog) goodnight, getting the job done. The blinding light that brings you to your knees only accounts for the 1%.
I’d like to share some basic truths that resurface through each one of my drafts. Think Declaration of Interdependence, 10 commandments, seven prayers, 108 mantras… What’s occupying you on a daily basis?
What vows would you exchange with life if you could marry her again, for the first time? And guess what: you can. It’s all we do, all day long. ‘Cause every breath is a second chance.
Here’s to a mindful 2012!
1. You’ve got nature’s blueprint within you. You can’t exist or function outside your ecosystem. You need all the green you can get. Let the planet take care of you. She’s got billions of years of experience.
2. You’re not replaceable. Your loss is also mine. You’re not an island. There’s a “you” only because there is foremost a “we”. Open the door.
3. You have a purpose. It’s your life’s quest to discover and honor it. Start by finding out what moves you and how you can serve others through it. Don’t live somebody else’s life. Nothing you could ever accomplish means anything without your signature on it.
4. Be grateful, even when you’re not. Don’t resist the ugliness. Every beast can turn into a prince, and every hell become a heaven, when looked at with the right eyes.
5. Quiet your mind daily. Most times she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
6. Eat with your head. Your taste buds will follow. What you put in your body at least three times a day makes a huge difference.
7. Get creative with your food, your work, your exercise, your relationships and your spirituality. Art is not just a museum thing. Art is you and me, with a cup of herbal tea. Let your inner artist break through your skin. This life is your canvas. You don’t get to paint it twice.
8. Laugh at yourself every day. With tears. Laugh even at your parents’ jokes.
9. Most things are not impossible. Don’t beat the odds, be the odds.
10. Be genuine in the little matters, especially when no one’s watching. Life is made up of one small choice after another. The only thing that varies is the number of people paying attention to you.
11. Get away often. Whenever possible, go to other countries. It’s not as expensive as you think. You can always camp or couch surf. There are many different versions of you out there. And they are such interesting people.
13. Talk to children and animals often. They know the meaning of life.
14. Look people in the eyes. Everyone needs to be seen.
15. Take responsibility for your actions. Mean the things you say and do the things you mean.
16. Fear can be your best friend when it’s not your worst enemy. If it stands between you and your story, take a deep breath and write it anyway.
17. Practice humility. Eat your ego like a candy bar. You’re not perfect. Mistakes are just ways in which your life doesn’t work.
18. You are going to die. But you’re alive now.
19. Be vulnerable. A broken heart is easier to mend. Pain is a pointer, not a killer.
20. Plug into your Source daily. Have a moment of solitude with God, your Higher Self, the Universe, whatever’s in charge of that Sun above your head and makes the birds so happy.
21. Love. This is the only rule with no exceptions.
Knowing your revolution is all right, but what’s your evolution? You don’t need money or much time or an amazing brain to leave a legacy. It all begins with a pen, a piece of paper and a heart.