Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I wrote this at the end of 2004. I'm still working on them.
Every New Year's resolution is a small gift wrapped in shiny paper that I give to myself and I want to chose it carefully. It wasn't until two weeks into 2004, after a great deal of thinking and considering different ideas, that I decided on nurturing serenity as my resolution. So, again, I begin the process. My resolutions aren't always practical or concrete or measurable. They're certainly not easy. I can't claim that I kept my resolution of nurturing serenity all the times I could have last year but I do feel more patient and calmer and that was the whole point.

After spending yesterday evening at my in-laws house, a house crammed full of stuff everywhere you turn, where it's impossible to focus on anything because there is just too much, my resolution includes to get rid of things that I don't need, don't want or will never use. There are some things I will keep for sentimental reasons, others because they're practical, but I will begin looking at the things in my house with a far more critical eye. Some things will be stored, others given away and others sold. I do not want to be eighty years old and spending most of the little time I have left on this earth taking care of inanimate objects while also trying to figure out how to get rid of them like my in-laws are doing now.

I also want to simplify my inner life. I have a tendency to make everything much too complex. I examine things too closely, try to determine all the possibilities beforehand and spend inordinate amounts of time making decisions about things which really aren't all that important. I do that partly because I dislike unpleasant surprises, have a tendency to be a perfectionist and want to feel in control. Yes, I am aware of how ironic it is that I will spend so much time determining my New Year's resolution but I'll argue that it doesn't apply because the resolution I decide on is not unimportant. At least, not to me.

I want to include three of the components I had last year.

I pray in bits and pieces throughout my day. I don't use long and formal prayers. I pray when I'm driving, when I fold laundry, when I cut carrots and roll out pie dough. I pray when I sweep the front porch or water flowers or see birds or sing. Prayer is an important part of my daily life.

Expect Joy
Sometimes I miss the little pieces of joy that are around me.

Accept Grace
Accepting grace is far more difficult than it seems. Part of it is having faith and sometimes mine wavers.

That's a start. I'll see where it leads me in the next few weeks.

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