I love beginnings – the empty white pages of September notebooks, the blank blocks of January calendars, even 40 days and 40 nights of Lenten not doing something.
I like intention setting, resolution making, spring cleaning and a little bit of self discipline. I’m not so good with charts, check lists or sticking to a routine. It isn’t so much that I give up. I rebel, grow bored and get diverted. Process is more interesting than product; big picture trumps the details.
So over the years I have found a way to fudge resolutions to fit my patterns – one that allows me to find wiggle room, to begin over and over again and the best of all to delay evaluation, endings and abandonment. I don’t start with a list. I choose a theme. Rather than trying to do – or not do – several things every day, I pick a direction. What, I ask, am I moving towards? What do I want to cultivate?
One year, during the coldest, shortest days of December, I decided I wanted to “lighten up.” I was, I decided, too dark, too serious, too flabby and living with too much stuff. That year proved easy to comply with the direction I had chosen. Mother Nature helped: Spring came.
Another year, it was to get out of my head and into my body. Sub idea: Already practicing yoga, I wanted to take my practice deeper. I signed up for the first yoga weekend workshop at a studio. It turned out not to be a physical practice but rather two days of lecture and demonstration for yoga teachers by a noted body worker – all anatomy instruction way over my head -- not what I had in mind at all. But it did lead me years later to become a yoga teacher with a renewed interest in anatomy.
Often I am not sure what the theme will mean for me. To pick it and let it percolate is sufficient. This year is like that with an exception. My first theme for the year is to nurture my heart. Visit my grandchildren and friends more often, read, write on my blog more—and here’s where it gets specific and tricky -- lower my LDL cholesterol. I am at lower end of normal on the BMI index for body fat, and I think I exercise enough and eat moderately well – working in lentils, salmon, walnuts and whole grains. But apparently when it comes to my diet, thinking and direction aren’t enough – particularly if you have a sweet tooth and a cheese tooth that cheat.
I really can’t leave this open-ended.
So in addition to cultivating my heart, I resolve to find a way to Draino my circulatory system and fertilize my brain (more on this in later posts) in the coming year. Simply put, I end up with two of the resolutions that many others are making without all the thematic nonsense. Eat better. Exercise more. I give myself six months to lower my numbers. June blood test to follow.
Here’s a link to the best list of resolutions I’ve read: Woody Guthrie in 1942:
Happy New Year and Dream Good