I gave up on New Year's Resolutions long ago. Why do we, as a human race, continually set ourselves up for failure? What is, is what is. This mode of being may seem circular, however my peace has come from accepting that what is happening in the moment of Now, is exactly what is supposed to be happening. No questions asked.
2006 was a year of huge challenges, growth, beauty and joy. And as 2007 dawns, and I look backwards, I feel so blessed. I am in a state of pure gratitude, and I wonder how I could ever have doubted anything. My life has been full of gifts, the obvious and not-so obvious...if only I had paid closer attention sooner. But no regrets. Accept what is.
I wanted to share some of Louise LeBrun's thoughts. They are full of wisdom and simplicity and I intend to integrate them more fully into my life in the coming year. I hope you are as touched by her words as I was.
On Creativity and Daily Living
Imagine what your life could become if you got curious - about yourself, about your world-view and about your motivation for making the choices you make. Suddenly, life would be filled with astute observations and their corresponding, life-expanding insights. The next time you find yourself in that same old __________ (you fill in the blanks: conversation, relationship, job, problem, etc.), instead of looking around for someone to blame for keeping you there, get curious! Let yourself notice you, for a change, and ask yourself the following questions: Isn't that interesting! Every time x happens, I do/say/respond with y. How come that seems like an intelligent response? How does it serve me to continue to do that? When was the last time that I actually chose my response instead of just acting out of habit? What is it that always doing x allows me to continue to not pay attention to? What would happen to the quality of my life if I did something else instead? Who would support me and who would be angry/sad/disappointed/frustrated with me? How much more of my life do I want to live like this? What am I waiting for to be able to choose differently? Whose permission do I need to be able to begin to live my life in a way that leaves me feeling alive, dynamic and energetic? Who do I need to become to allow myself to claim a joyful life?
We tend to seek to fulfill our need or desire for an experience of abundance from the outside. We look around us; or beside us and rarely ever inside us to find what we're looking for. We defer to external standards to tell us what we should want; how much and when we'll know that we've gone as far as we need to. Rarely do we move into those still, silent places inside of us and ask: what do I really want? If I were to die tomorrow, how will I know I've made a difference? How will my presence have enriched my world? What will really have mattered?
Sometimes, in our frantic search for more and bigger and better, we overlook the possibility that the roots of abundance lie in what we give and not just what we get. We forget those moments when we could burst – from the inside out – with a sense of joy of accomplishment or contribution or simple satisfaction from a job well done … and with an attitude of grace and elegance. Ironic, isn't it, that the more we give to others, the greater our sense of having received.
As the summer months unfold and offer up their bounty of cool, refreshing swims and BBQ's with family and friends, Mother Nature offers up an abundance of opportunities to feel the wind and the sun; to hear the delight of water-logged play; and to see the glorious moment when the sun drops below the horizon, holding the promise to come again. If we let ourselves pay attention, we begin to notice that the absence of the sun is always followed by the gentle offering of the moon. Where else in our lives have we perhaps not yet noticed that when one gift fulfills its time, another will always come to take its place – if we pay attention.
What is often overlooked in the small silence of its expression is that moment – or those series of moments – that fill us from the inside and happen frequently, from one day to the next.
Like a fine mist, easily overlooked unless you're watching for it. The smile from the gas station attendant. The concerned and thoughtful questions of the pharmacist. The patience of the traveler behind us as we return from our daydream long after the light has changed. The waitress in the coffee shop who remembers how you like your bagels. The receptionist in the dentist's office who takes a moment to explain to you that your dentist will be late, and offers you a magazine. The stranger in the hospital waiting room who entertains your energetic and restless youngster while you await the results. The pedestrian who stops and makes it possible for you to dart through, just ahead of the endless line of cars.
These too are celebrations. Frequently occurring moments that – if we pay attention to them and honor them - fill our hearts and touch our souls. Moments in which whatever we're wearing, whoever we're with, is just perfect for the occasion. Moments that invite us to feel what it is to be one human being, in our ordinary-ness, in the presence of another equally ordinary human being, in the creation of a magical moment. If this is not cause for celebration, I don't know what is.