Yesterday I told someone about an experience in my life that happened several years ago. They were looking for an example of a certain subject and I had it. As I relayed to them the story you could tell they were surprised but also relieved that someone else had a similar experience that impacted their life. The basic question from the other person was; “Can good rise from bad? Is there a way to navigate a negative part of our journey that will ultimately lead to something positive?” What was interesting is that I didn’t answer their question and they didn’t seem to notice. I’m still waiting for the good, the positive to be revealed from my negative experience. However, what was more important to the person was not what resulted but that I made it through. This gave them hope.
Too often, when going through chaotic times of life we wonder; “Is there a rhyme or reason?” Then we meet someone who’s been through something similar and we are comforted simply by knowing someone who has survived. At first, we want to know how it all ends but we quickly understand each experience no matter how similar is different for everyone with incalculable resolutions. Our deepest desire is to know we are not alone, to believe if another made it through then maybe we can also.
Ah! New Year’s resolutions. A rite of passage for most folks as they walk into the new year filled with the hope and promise of new beginnings, fresh starts.
Several years ago I quit making New Year’s resolutions. I forget what I was reading or whom I was speaking with but it led me to the conclusion that most resolutions are ego, self-focused. A lot of losing weight, less TV, reading more, exercise, quitting smoking, getting more sleep, etc. While none of these are bad or negative in any way it’s hard to see how they improve anything else but ourselves and perhaps other’s opinions of us.
January 1st, after all, is an arbitrary date. It is not different from any other date. The universe doesn’t know it’s a new year, the cosmos didn’t throw a party. Any date can be used to strap on a pair shoes and go walking, choose to eat better, chew gum instead of lighting up a cancer stick, turn off the telly, etc.
If the New Year is to have true, lasting meaning then what we need is self and global awareness. The ability to see the world, its need, our abundance and be empowered to do something about it. A diet for ourselves doesn’t abate world hunger, quitting smoking doesn’t stop smog hanging over cities and global warming, getting more sleep doesn’t help those with no bed or home, exercise won’t put shoes on those with dirt covered feet living in poverty.
Our New Year resolutions are often self-absorbed and myopic because we aren’t globally minded. We live in the richest society ever in history. Most of us don’t want for much. Perhaps this is the year we begin to give some of it away.