Friday, January 01, 2010

And We're Off ....

from Jacqueline

The year is but an infant, thus it is time, methinks, to set the stage for 2010. Of course, I can’t do this for anyone else, or the world; I can only look at my own life and how I would have it be. And I’ve given up on resolutions. I would rather think of those vows I make to myself about the year ahead, as intentions. A few of those intentions affect only me, but some, if I think about it, could ripple out and touch others. So, here’s a start, off the cuff, because I’ve only just begun to really think about it.

This year it is my intention to laugh a lot more. I want to find and create more reasons to laugh, to join others in laughter and create reasons for others to laugh too. I made a good start a few days ago when, at the end of a long walk with my dog, I came off the trail and, as I approached my car thought, “Funny, I could have sworn I locked it ....” I shrugged, and opened the back passenger door of my "older model" black Volvo V70 (which in itself is strange – I usually open the tailgate first so the dog can leap up into her place). It was only as my dear, wet, muddy Labrador leaped across the back seat into the Her Place that I saw the child seat. I do not have children. And this wasn’t my car. More to the point, my dog – formerly of the LA County Shelter – was clearly determined to stay in the car until we reached home. Any attempt to coax her out fell on deaf ears and a determined look in her eye that seemed to say, “Oh, yeah, I know, been there, done that – you’re going to abandon me here!!” I couldn’t help it – I saw the Lucille Ball situation for what it was, and started to giggle as I raced around to the back of the car, opened the door and - laughing my head off by now - dragged the poor mutt out by the collar. I slammed the door and almost threw her into the back of my own old black Volvo V70, which was parked just a few yards away. I drove away as if I'd just lifted a few hundredweight of diamonds. It was only when we pulled into the driveway that I realized my new reading glasses had dropped out of my pocket in the fray, obviously on the back seat of the other car. I know, it may not seem funny, but if you’d’ve been there ....

It is my intention to relax more – not in a sit about and lollygag kind of way, but in a kind of “Hey – no problem” manner. Yesterday afternoon I went along to the local grocery store to grab a few last-minute items for dinner last night – we had friends coming round. I only had about five things in my basket, and when I got to the checkouts there were fairly long lines and people were getting tetchy. The express check-outs were out of order, which was leading to some complaints filling the air. Book tours and security lines have taught me more about the power of Zen thinking than the Buddhist temple ever could. I picked the shortest line, and happened to be behind a woman with a cart filled to the brim with groceries. She began to apologize profusely, saying she was in a hurry, or she would let me go first. She started loading up the conveyor belt at breakneck speed, afraid she was holding everyone up. “Hey, that’s no problem – take your time,” I said. “I’m ending this year the way I want to go through the next – just taking it easy. I’m in no hurry.” When she left she turned and said, “You’ve just given me my new year’s resolution. Just relax.”

I hope I can stick to that one.

I intend to be very careful with resources. While I was in the UK in November, I read an article in which a leading conservationist was being interviewed. She pointed out that there is this belief that the more we recycle, the more we can pat ourselves on the back for our efforts at saving the planet. Trouble is, this has led us to play fast and loose with our resources. The more we recycle, the more we show that we are not really grasping what’s at stake. Instead simply thowing all those plastic bottles into the recyling can, for example, we should be utilizing re-useable bottles. More packaging means more landfill. So, with that, concerning all resources I intend to be even more mindful than I am already. Frankly, I can’t remember the last time I bought water in a plastic bottle, but I know I buy too many things with packaging that goes straight into the recycling or the trash. And though I also know this sort of decision, if taken up by thousands, has repercussions on the companies that make Styrofoam peanuts and the like - something has to give. So, yes, Mindfulness With Resources.

It is also my intention to truly consider what it means to have enough. I think I’ve written on that subject before. I am a truly blessed person, in my estimation. I get to tell stories for a living, and I get to have food on my plate several times a day. I have enough clothes to last me a long time, and the fact that I have two horses represents my big childhood dream coming true. In fact, just about all my dreams have come true in my middle years, which I think is just amazing in and of itself. I might have been in danger of taking it all for granted, had I been younger. As it is I give thanks every single day for these blessings – for family, for meaningful work, for dreams come true and needs met. I have enough, and I intend to remember that.

If you’ve been to the movies lately, you may have seen that advertisement for St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. That ad always touches my heart, especially with the message, “Give thanks ....” There is so much power in gratitude. I know I’m repeating myself here, but I intend to give thanks every single day for my blessings. If I can help someone else have reasons to love life a little bit more – then bring it on! And while I'm at it, God Bless children everywhere, especially those in war zones - whether their particular war is in a hospital, in front of an empty plate, within a battle-scarred community or an abusive home.

Thank you for joining us at Naked Authors throughout 2009. We have great fun with this blog – whether we’re moaning, groaning, sharing, joking or just telling stories. It’s great to be on this ride, and great to have you along with us.

Happy New Year! May you be blessed with many, many reasons to give thanks this year and always.

Now it's your turn - what are your intentions and resolutions?


  1. Those are lovely "intentions," Jackie. I don't do resolutions anymore (lest I be tempted to put "survive" at the top of the list) but I'll join you in many of your goals.

  2. I've been thinking a good deal about the new year and what it will bring. I haven't decided what my intentions will be but change is on the horizon. I feel it coming.

    Happy New Year to all the lovely people searching for Naked Truth. May 2010 usher in your heart's desire.

  3. I love the idea of intentions rather than resolutions. It sounds less accusatory when we fall a bit short of our ideals. It also doesn't feel as if you have to wait for another new year to recommit.

    Like Patty, I haven't decided exactly what I need to do in 2010, but I'll start with this: I intend to check in with Naked Authors more often.


  4. from Jacqueline

    Thank you, Louise. Yes, one is tempted to put "survive" at the top of the list - and I think you're doing it very well indeed!

    Patty, you know, I feel change coming too. Wonder what it will look like, how it will feel - part of life's wonderful mystery, isn't it?

    And Carson - we'll look forward to hearing from you on the pages of Naked Authors. Thanks for coming by to visit our blog!

  5. my last resolution was to give up smoking some 8 years ago. but your post made me think again.

    yes, laughing and making people laugh is on top of my list as well. there are quite a few people who come to my shop just for a chat and a giggle. i know that doesn't earn me any money but it gives me so much more.

    to find more time to spend with my friends and for reading would be nice too.

    and jackie, i have a small, silver car that looks like a thousand others. so before i get into it, i always check the numberplate first.....

    happy 2010 to each and everyone!


  6. from Jacqueline

    And a very Happy New Year to you, too, Sybille. Yes, I know, I should have checked SOMETHING about that car! And congratulations on giving up smoking - that's very good news, even if it was 8 years ago!

  7. Happy New Year! You are so right! Gratitude is Attitude! Or should it be the other way around - Attitude is Gratitude? Either way, we all have so much to be thankful for, and, as "they say" a little goes a long way.

    I've just found this blog and look forward to following you. I've read several of the writers already, and have just put the rest of you on my "must read" list.

  8. This is not my original idea, but I am copying a friend whose intention is to always act out of kindness this year. I think laughing more will help facilitate this, specially in my life with a strong-willed four year old!

    All the best to you in 2010 and thank you for your blog, which I always love reading.


  9. I think I was well over twenty before I understood that there was something called New years resolution - and since I had done well without them, I couldn't see the point in starting doing them.
    Intentions is something else - even if the new year has nothing to do with my intentions. I try to pay attention to my intentions, maybe not every day but ever so often.
    I'm afraid that most intentions might sound rather high-flown and sententious - especially when you write them down - but in short, my intention is to be available to however needs me.

    I have a couple of car stories, very similar to yours, but they're to long to tell here.

  10. from Jacqueline

    Merry Lu - I love that "gratitude is attitude" - I will write that down and keep it close to hand! And welcome to our blog - we're glad to have you join our community.

    Canan, thank you for reminding me about the power of acting out of kindness. I once read a quote (can't remember who said it), that many of life's most challenging situations can be solved with the question, "Is it better to be right, or is it better to be kind?" Fortunately, on most occasions, being kind is the right thing to do.

    Margaretha, we would probably all do better if we made ourselves more available to those who genuinely need our help - and then give thanks for the opportunity to lend that hand. Thank you.