Sometimes, I am way too driven for my own good. I bet that’s a case for a lot of people as well. We’re all trying to plan, save, arrange, control, and set expectations for a safe and comfortable future. And, here it is, December 31st, and many of us are thinking of how we can change ourselves and our lives in order to have the best new year possible. Many of us make resolutions and say that this year we will stick to them. Some of us achieve everything on that list, and others of us don’t, but we all find that somehow we are back on the hamster wheel of planning, saving, arranging, and controlling another future that will look and feel better than the one that has already passed (and didn’t look exactly like the one we had hoped for anyway).
I have never made New Year’s resolutions. And besides, every aspect of my days usually seem to be based around how productive I possibly can be and how I can achieve my goals and dreams. When I turned 40 a few months ago, something inside of me clicked and told me that I should start shedding a skin of societal expectations I and others have set and start getting real with myself. Still, this morning my mind started spinning and I became frustrated that I am not where I thought I would be at 40. I found myself asking once again the same questions many of us ask: “What do I want to be and do when I grow up?” “What can I do to make my life more meaningful?” “What is my purpose on this God-forsaken and God-damned earth?” “Why are my dreams not coming true already?”
As my frustration, anxiety, fear, and anger started to build, so did my sense of play and sense of humor. I heard another wiser, kinder, sillier part of myself just laugh and say, “Really? You want to go for a spin on the crazy hamster wheel again? Haven’t you gotten dizzy and sick from that damn thing by now? Let’s play. Let’s dance. Let’s get dressed and fix your hair, brush your teeth, put on some perfume and turn on some music and dance and move. Afterwards, if you still feel like reliving your past woes and spinning your wheels in the muddy tracks, then you can by all means waller in self-pity. Let’s just give my solution a try.”
I wisely listened to that part of me and shook my money maker to the tunes of an African drum instrumental I found on YouTube. Feeling more alive and joyful after 10 minutes of butt-wiggling (tribal and belly-dancing moves included), I sat down and began a quiet meditation with my journal by my side. This is what flowed out of me:
The Resolution that is not a real Resolution (more as a way of being in this world):
I resolve to savor my morning cup of coffee and feel the warmth and enjoy the flavor of the full-bodied roasted goodness.
To snuggle up with my pets and feel their warm bodies, heavy on my lap, as I scratch their ears and tummies and feel their soft fur between my fingers.
To relish my nephew’s laugh and small voice that is filled with big dreams, ideas, and pure imagination. Allowing that voice of his to strike a chord deep inside of me, awakening the inner child who is yearning to be seen and recognized once again.
To embrace my moments of anger that well up from my depths whenever I witness an injustice or experience a cruel word. And to follow that thread of anger as it rises up to my solar plexus and gets mixed in to my open and beautiful heart that ignites tears and words of passion. And to not stop those tears from flowing or those words from materializing when I have recognized their truth and validity, despite the fact they may make others feel uncomfortable or strike a chord within them that has been trapped or brewing inside for awhile. I’m wise enough to know my own power now and how not to abuse it. And if I do by chance abuse it, may I feel the sting and the pain of the bruise from any and all repercussions and consequences and learn and grow stronger from those experiences as well.
To look others in the eye and recognize them behind the masks: the old man who is still a child at heart; the aging woman who is still radiant and sensual behind a few wrinkles and gray hairs; the insolent teenager who tries my patience and tests my boundaries simply to ensure he is safe and loved; the tired, angry, and bewildered parent who feels it is her duty to control and tame her child’s beautiful wildness and curiosity while at the same time she is longing to release her own beautiful wildness and curiosity as well. To love and protect myself in their midst and remind myself that their emotions and issues are not mine to carry around, but to also stand next to them, open my heart, take off my mask, and give and receive love that is around and within us all.
To touch the earth. To feel the soil slip between my fingers as I press them into the ground, securing my plants for a long winter, spring, or summer ahead. To place my hands on the trunk of a tree and feel its healing powers fill up the aching spaces within my body. To breathe in the fresh air and exhale it out. To let the fresh air breathe my body as we dance in the flow together. To allow my breath to be given away to a glorious sunset and my hips to sway and my shoulders and arms to lift with a passing breeze and fast rolling clouds.
To dance. Anywhere. Anytime. Especially in the middle of my living room as the magical connection between my wi-fi and cellphone turn out beats of drums and percussive instruments while my body recognizes the ancient rhythms of ancestors long since gone but somehow mysteriously not forgotten.
These things and more I resolve to do in my daily life. As many times as I can remember to do them every day and every moment that I draw a breath on this God-given, God-blessed earth.