With the new year come expectations for improvement and pressure to come up with goals. Many websites and publications are full of articles on making resolutions. Gym parking lots are full and a few people are dusting off their old bible.
As I reflect on this past year and anticipate the one just beginning, I realize how much my priorities have changed from years prior. Like most people, I have spent most of my adult life in achievement mode; I wanted to change the world and worked very hard to do it! Consequently, my goals till now were mostly centered on external tasks like reading more, exercising more, etc.
I’ve changed, as have many folks my age. We can look back on our lives and re-experience accomplishments and disappointments. Second-half-of-life (for those who choose to embrace this inner-journey), contains barns full of hindsight, a million lessons learned, and a healthier sense of place in the universe. There is nothing left to prove. The second half of life is more about being than doing.
While my old self had to be constantly busy and entertained, my new self is slowly learning to be; to just be.
An old American expression is to remind people to “Stop and smell the roses.” It’s a sweet way of telling one to slow down—to be in the moment.
But we seem to prefer being human DOINGS instead of human BEINGS. We have to go, go go and accomplish, achieve and impress.
- As you think about the new year, how might you just be?
- How might you experience the fullness of each moment?
- How might it feel to think about what kind of being you want to be instead of the things you want to accomplish?
- What might it feel like to accept your body, love yourself, and be sensitive to Spirit?
- What might you do to slow down and listen to your heart and the universe?
- What might emerge if you shut up, sit, just be in the moment? And begin to do it regularly?
I want to cultivate happiness in the moment, be satisfied with what is, and continue to work on my stuff. I want to address areas of my character that are still problematic. I want to be a better person.
I’m not making any lists about losing weight or accomplishing some great thing. This year I’m going to focus (even more intentionally) on the inside stuff.
We live in really turbulent times with angst, violence, and fear. The regular human response is to name villains and saviors and look to them to solve our problems and meet our needs. Because we don’t deal with our pain, fears and other triggers, we tend to justify our thoughts and reactions and blame others. We look to external stuff (that one thing that will finally make us happy) and people (if so and so is just elected, all will be well).
It’s all quite unnecessary, really. We don’t need to carry our junk around our whole lives. We can deal with our stuff and live free lives.
The stuff that makes a difference in the world does not come about externally; it comes from the inside. The inside of ourselves is what we can improve. When we deal with our shit (hang-ups, fears, ego, guilt, shame, etc.) we become more God-like. We become more loving, kind, nurturing, pleasant, just, and all the other good stuff that longs to drive the world.
So my challenge to you in this season of your life is:
- Be. Just be.
- Pay attention to the inner journey.
Then put these thoughts before everything else, and see what happens:
- I am ok.
- I am loved.
- I bring unique gifts to the world.
- I get to determine who I want to be, not my culture, my peers or the media.
- I get to be me. And it’s good.