1 January 2014: A set of resolutions to live by

A set of resolutions to live by

It’s been tradition for many to make New Year’s resolutions—e.g., lose weight, quit smoking—that most often fail to materialize.  The reasons vary, but I suspect they primarily relate to the fact they are specific goal, which, while well-intentioned, are negative or reactive, despite being grounded in positive intention.

As an alternative, I’m suggesting a 21st-century Ten Commandments, if you will, that focus on how one looks at him/herself and ultimately the rest of the Cosmos.  None of the following is original with me, having garnered, stole, or otherwise borrowed from others far wiser than I.

I. Accept reality.  The negative way of expressing that is don’t live in illusion or denial.  Too often we want something for ourselves or for others so badly we refuse to see, whether unconsciously or intentionally, what is truly happening or is the case.

II. Be kind to yourself.  Since you’re human, making mistakes and enduring painful challenges is part of accepting reality—see #1—so cut yourself a break.  If you have blown something, recognize it.  Make amends to another if the behavior has been hurtful, but above all, don’t beat yourself up over it.

III. Let go of fear, anger, doubt, hatred, and bitterness along with their siblings.  Whenever you experience them from time to time, refer back to # II.

IV. Give up control and let go of the outcome.  The only person you can ultimately control is yourself.  Even a two-year-old has a mind of his/her own.  Further, the best laid plans go awry.  Intend and plan, but know that in the end, it’s mostly beyond your ability to have it come out exactly as you envisioned.  Again, refer to # II in case of lapses.  Besides, all too often, we are appreciative of the fact something did not come out the way we had hoped…the old “be careful what you wish for” adage.

V. Imagine and intend your deepest positive desires, wishes, and wants.  Then practice # IV.

VI. Recognize your worthiness to receive # V.  Too often, we demean or belittle ourselves and hold that good fortune is for others.  That’s not true.  Each is us is worthy.  When one does not consider him/herself so, it’s likely due to his/her buying into a story created by another person, group, or institution—it’s what religions do best—that is simply untrue.  Begin by re-writing and re-telling your story, not from a “woe is me” point of view, but from a heroic one.

VII. Live to your highest self.  You know in your heart and soul what that means, and when not doing so, refer to #’s II, III, and IV.

VIII. Be willing to be vulnerable.  One of the worst things anyone can do is to erect a wall and/or hide him/herself in armor.  That’s not to say one should continually weep his/her sad tales to the world or wear his/her plight on his/her sleeve, but sometimes to the right person or group it’s OK to admit to something is painful or disabling.  The irony is that when one does that, he/she finds strength to deal with tough situations.

IX. Speak your truth.  Upper-case truth—Truth—is for the weak-minded.  When it comes to the Big Questions, none of us knows ultimate reality; accordingly each of us should have our own perspective about what is true.  That goes as well for day-to-day human events.  It’s similar to two people looking at the color teal: more blue or green?  Likewise, those with color-blindness might see red as green.  Most see Old Glory as red, white, and blue, they don’t.  That simply means most see a certain light refraction one way, and a few see it differently.  Both are true.

X. Offer gratitude every day to God, the Universe, or to whatever unseen energy you see fit for the blessings in your life: friends, families, and others; health; and joys and sadnesses, for without them, we could not experience, understand, or appreciate joy.  Make it a regular practice to thank others for acts of kindness or perhaps just for being.

Finally, remember courage is not, as Atticus Finch reminds us in To Kill a Mockingbird, “a man with a gun in his hand.  It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through, no matter what.”

I disagree with Atticus only on this: If you begin and stay the course, you’re no longer licked.

Each person is capable of leading a noble and heroic life.  It’s a matter of choice, and you get to make the call.

Wishing you blessings in 2014.

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