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?