So, have you made your New Year’s Resolutions? It’s actually been awhile since I’ve set one. I might tell myself because it’s boring, ordinary and “what everybody does,” but if I were being really honest, it’s more likely because I doubt my ability to keep one. I set a New Year’s Resolution to quit smoking in 1990. I lasted until 2 p.m. on January 1 – thus ending my resolutions career at the ripe old age of 16. (For the record, I’ll be three years smoke free in February!)
Resolutions are goal-oriented. Lose weight, save money, quit smoking, clean the garage. Great stuff. But resolutions don’t address the WHY. Maybe that’s why so many of us fail. Why lose weight or quit smoking? To be healthy, duh. But WHY? What do you want from your life that will require you to be healthy? Time with your kids? Adventures with your beloved? The ability to contribute to your community? I’m so much more inspired by “connection to my fellow humans” than I am by “don’t eat that doughnut.” When looking at the “why” of things, suddenly the two are connected. Suddenly, cleaning up the studio is not a matter of “it was my New Year’s Resolution” (blah) and is now a matter of creating space to create art – which is directly related to creating a powerful life I love (wowee!!).
So, instead of resolutions, I’m creating New Year’s possibilities. Possibilities that will inspire my actions through 2017. Sometimes possibilities come in a flash. Yes! That’s the thing! Sometimes, you begin to hear a word again and again over time. Compassion has been like that for me over the past several months. As I deal with weight gain, the concept of compassion for myself has emerged in many conversations. As I navigate my thoughts and feelings around Trump’s election, Standing Rock, Syria and the many tragic losses of 2016, compassion has occurred for me as a salve for anger and frustration and as a starting point for action to make a difference where I can.
The possibility I’m creating for myself and my life is Compassion. What is the “why” of Compassion? So I can experience freedom, joy and ease with myself, so I can create connection and contribution with my friends and family and so I can be a contribution to the planet and all of its inhabitants.
Fear not list makers and action takers! My possibility doesn’t end there. As promised, Compassion will inspire (and already has inspired) action! Here is how I intend to live into my possibility of Compassion:
Compassion for Self
- Move my body every day and stop when it hurts
- Get 8 hours of sleep every night
- Wear clothes that are comfortable, fit well, are season-appropriate and make me feel good
- Create and practise a daily affirmation
- Recognize and cease negative self talk
- Listen to what my body is telling me
- Go to the doctor/dentist immediately when something’s not working in my body
- Eat food that nourishes my body and avoid food that can damage my body
- Eat quantities of food that are aligned with a healthy body weight
- Buy and use products that contain natural ingredients wherever possible
- Complete required-but-unpleasant tasks as soon as possible (taxes, housework, etc.)
- Make music and/or art every day
- Get outside every day
- Nourishing my relationships with my family and friends
Compassion for Others
- Practise listening to hear, rather than to respond
- Reserving judgement
- Actively seeking ways to connect and contribute
- One Random Act of Kindness every day
- Acknowledge someone every day
- Communicate openly and from a place of love
- Honouring my word
- Cleaning up my messes (verbal, emotional, spiritual and kitchen)
- Create a community project around Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- Volunteering five hours a week to benefit fellow humans
- Share my experience and enrol others in a possibility that leaves them touched moved and inspired
Compassion for Animals the the Planet
- Keep my pets happy and healthy
- Limit the use of my car as much as possible
- Limit my use of disposable items and plastic as much as possible
- Volunteering five hours a week to benefit animals and/or the planet
- Donate $20/month to a cause that supports animals and/or the planet
- Exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose
- Continue to learn how to lessen the carbon footprint of my home, transportation and lifestyle and make adjustments as required
So now what?
It’s fun making lists, isn’t it? All of the potential! All of the possibility! None of the actual work it takes to accomplish the things on said list. Hmmm. Big list. Which brings me to my second possibility: Courage. I’ll need it to take on a vegan lifestyle. I’ll need it to create authentic communication with the people in my life. I’ll need it to go beyond my comfort level in creating connections with my fellow humans. Courage and a commitment to the “why” I took on Compassion in the first place. Will I accomplish all of these things perfectly? Nope! And I’ll have compassion for myself when I fail.
I invite you to create your own possibilities for 2017! Really look at your “why” and let that inform your commitments and your actions! I’d love to hear what you come up with.
Love and light,
P.S. If you happen to be reading this on a day that is not January 1, feel free to invent a March 7 Possibility or a July 23rd possibility – the date is, truly, arbitrary. Start your new life right this very second – it’s all there is ❤