Intentions, resolutions, changes, promises.
I stopped “making resolutions” a long time ago. Mostly because, as with everyone I expect, I couldn’t stay with them. I’d start out strong, slow down to a walk, eventually be crawling and finally lay, exhausted, on the floor, staring at THE RESOLUTION off in the distance. Feeling like a worthless person, a loser, an incompetent lout.
Geez, that’s all rather harsh isn’t it? Maybe not a lout, per se, but definitely not thinking very highly of myself.
And then the beatings would begin. The banging up of the insides of my cranium as I failed to live up to my other-worldly expectations of my mortal self. And then I’d just throw them all, THE RESOLUTIONS, to the wayside, walking past as if they were discarded trash and not worth my time. I wouldn’t even pick them up and throw them away properly. I’d just walk on past, pretending not to notice them, ignoring my shortcomings so the internal brain-bashing would cease.
Eventually I decided to simply not put anything like a RESOLUTION out there for the Universe to see. It only ended up causing me more pain.
Fast forward several years to today. I’ve been thinking a lot in the last couple of weeks about resolutions and intentions and attempts to live a better way.
This last year, 2016, was a complicated one, to be sure. I have told the dear husband several times lately that I’ll be so glad for 2016 to be done and gone. Buried under the ash heap of history. He looks at me quizzically and says “why?” I don’t think he’s trying to be intentionally obtuse. I think he generally doesn’t see it the way I do. I shake my head and say to him, “The Fire.” He raises his dang eyebrows. I then say, “The Election.” He pauses for a moment, and I’m thinking to myself that maybe he’s seeing my light. And then he raises his dang eyebrows again. Shrugging as if to say, “meh.”
I stop there. If those two catastrophic (in my crazy cranium way of looking at things) aren’t enough proof that 2016 needs to be kicked to the curb, then I’m out. I can’t waste my precious seconds on this earth attempting to change another individual’s mind about…well…anything, truth be told. We will simply agree to disagree. I let him go. Mostly because I was tired of those dang raised eyebrows. I actually threatened him the other night that if he kept raising those dang eyebrows at me, I was going to get the tube of SuperGlue and make them permanently raised.
That elicited another raise of those dang eyebrows.
I stomped my foot and walked away.
Childish, yes. But sometimes my only recourse.
Intentions. Resolutions. Hope. Change. Equanimity. Peace. Calm. Serenity.
I have decided this year, 2017, that instead of making some grandiose RESOLUTION, I will try to live with better intentions. I will try to “be the change I want to see in this world.” (M. Ghandi)
I will try to live with a sense of peace and equanimity of spirit.
May I see the rise and fall of things with equanimity. (attributed to Buddha, I think)
That’s a big word. One definition: the ability to see without being caught by what we see. Or to “see with patience or understanding.”
A second definition: to stand in the middle of all of this; to remain centered or balanced in the middle of whatever is happening.
I am fairly certain I do not need to spell out for anyone the situation this might refer to, the “whatever is happening” that is now happening. I don’t even really want to write about it because that seems to give it credence or make it more so, more real than it is. And the reality is so frightening.
It took me about a month, but I finally, blessedly, peacefully and contentedly turned off the news. Anyone who knows me knows how addicted I am to news, all news, but mostly the political news. It simply became too much for my peaceful heart. Each and every day since The Election brought more angst, more trauma, more anguish. More powerlessness. I found myself becoming increasingly upset and tied up in knots. I was consumed. And I realized this was no way to live. Luckily for me (and those around me), we have a very large collection of Christmas/Holiday music which, when supplemented with the Jazz station, began to soothe my troubled mind and heart.
Now that the music is packed away until next holiday season, I find I have no desire to turn the news back on. I like my quieted cranium. I am learning to live with equanimity of spirit. We will become jazz afficionados I expect. Or connoisseurs of silence.
Another intention will be to stick close to a familiar mantra from over the years:
Goddess (Allah/Great Spirit/Universe/Great Mystery/God) grant me
serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
I need to focus on those things in my life, immediately around me right here, right now, that need changing, that I can change and that will benefit from me attempting to change. Everything else is not my business.
This is something I struggle with; knowing what is and is not my business. Knowing what to make hay out of and what to leave alone. Knowing how far to take my involvement in something versus sitting back and staying quiet. I don’t want to be a wallflower. Wallflowers never get to dance.
I don’t want to be a hermit living in a bubble, because if we all did that, what kind of society would we have? I don’t want to shirk my civic duties, my responsibility to help others who may need a hand up.
“To those who have been given much, much is expected in return.” (Joseph Kennedy to his children)
I may not have material wealth to be doled out to those in need, but I have been given so much already. I tell my precious daughter how fortunate we are, to have been born into a family that acknowledges the importance of education, service to others, and the need to pass it along. How fortunate we are to live in this country that was fought for by people in our own family so many generations ago.
We have been given much, and much is expected in return.
Finding out just what the return is becomes the question. What can I do? What can my little voice accomplish? I have no money to give, how can I be a productive member of society giving back some of what has been given to me?
Especially in this time, when the highest office in the land, the sacred office of President will now be occupied by a person who makes a mockery of it each and every single second of each day. (There, the elephant in the room.)
I can be the change I wish to see in this world.
I can live with good intentions. I can put good out there into the Universe, not bad. I can start to see the rise and fall of all things with equanimity of spirit. I can see without being caught by what I see. I can cultivate patience of spirit. I can ask for serenity of mind and acceptance of what I cannot change but courage to go forth and change what is in my power to change.
I read something interesting yesterday:
“If I allow myself to be influenced by what the (fill-in-the-bank) says and does, it will make blots and smears on the pages of my year. This I will try to avoid at all costs.” (from One Day at a Time in Al Anon)
I don’t think I need to be explicit in who/what goes in my version of “fill-in-the-blank” above. Anyone who knows me knows who would be center stage there.
We have but precious few seconds on this earth, in this form we are in, right here, right now. I cannot let the trifles of others consume me and ruin my precious few seconds.
Instead I choose equanimity. I choose serenity. I choose hope. I choose peace and calm.
And those are my intentions for the next year, living it one day at a time.