Let those resolutions live and die!

Let those resolutions live and die!

It’s that time of year! It’s time to say good bye to 2020 and hello to 2021, time to air out the house and bring in the fresh air. It is also time for half of my Facebook friends and family to post that they hate going to the gym and seeing those who made resolutions and then watching them fail. BUT, I say, yes! Yes, to the resolutions. Yes, to going to the gym, only if it is only for the free trial period. Yes, to moving a yoga mat from the closet to the livingroom and letting it sit there.

I think that as humans, we look at new beginnings as an important reawakening, but what are we awakening? Is it the resolution or the idea that we deserve some sort of inner change? Do we need to follow through? No. Did we do harm by failing? Also, no. We get into our heads every day and bog ourselves down with how we’ve failed ourselves, but even through those “failures” there is something we didn’t fail. We put ourselves first.

How do we continue thinking of ourselves when our resolutions get away from us? Small changes! Even the very small.

I will:

  • Carry a reusable bag with me to limit my plastic usage from quick trips to the store. Stored in the car or in your purse, you can pull it out and know that you are making a difference to our world. If we’re taking care of the whole, we are also taking care of the individual.
  • Walk after I eat my lunch. A quick five-minute walk – brisk or otherwise – can put us into a better mood. Get that blood moving!
  • Seek the sun! (with, of course, proper protection.) We need the sun to live, but we also need it to feel good. All that Vitamin D is free for the taking, get out there and soak it in.
  • Drink your water! How many of us are living on coffee, wine, or pop (soda?) and forgetting about water? Drink it up!

MOST IMPORTANTLY:

  • I will NOT berate myself for not being able to run that mile, finish that puzzle, have flat feet in downward dog, or finish that book that all my friends are raving over. I will look at my limitations or growing disinterest and decide that sometimes, it is better to let things go. I highly doubt that when I look back at the age of 80, that I’m going to feel bad for not finishing one book out of the thousands that I did read and enjoy.

We’re not competing with ourselves; we should not be seeking approval to treat ourselves poorly because we couldn’t do or follow through with something. We’re coming from a hard year. A really hard year, and it is ok to treat ourselves kindly.

So, feel free to make those resolutions, feel free to tell others about them, feel free to be ok if you can’t follow through with them. But don’t create an inner atmosphere that is more toxic than 2020 was.          

Hank and I were talking today about resolutions. And he said that he had one for me, but wasn’t sure how I was going to work on being even better at it. So, all, here is my resolution that he suggested and I’m going with:

I will be great.

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Random kindness

Random kindness

“Practice random acts of kindness.”

It’s a great mantra, and it’s spurred some beautiful moments. Yet there’s a difference between “practicing” those acts on occasion, and being a truly kind person.

Case in point — Hubby and I backed our golf cart up to the outside edge of the local outdoor concert Friday night. We were tucked in between an empty silver pickup and a large green bush, with a nice little green grass spot between us and big log beam that served as the border of the park. We set up our beach chairs, unwrapped our BLTs, popped the lid on a frosty adult beverage and kicked back to the enjoy the show.

It’s the summer of COVID-19, so people were for the large part being respectful of distances and setting up their chairs on the sunny lawn in front of the band shell spaced apart from other groups. Still, being tucked in our shady grove under a palm tree, with no one walking by or coming near, was pretty great.

Eventually the owner of the pickup came by, folded down the tailgate and jumped up to enjoy the show too. I shot him a smile and said a quick “hey;” back to enjoying the music.

Eventually I had to make the short trek to the community trash bin so get rid of our supper trash. Grabbing hold of the edge, I did a little involuntary “eww,” thinking of all the hands that had just done the same.

As I walked the 20 paces or so back to the cart, I said to John, “Dang, forget the hand-sani.”

I wiped off my hands with what I had around, and sat back down. Meanwhile, silver truck guy walked toward his cab, shooting us a quick smile. He came back holding out his hand sanitizer, saying simply “I overheard you saying you forgot yours.”

I gratefully held out my hands and offered up what felt like a beaming smile, saying “Thank you for being a kind person!”

The gel was hot from sitting in the North Carolina summer heat, and the warmth spread from my hands to my soul.

There’s been a lot of ugly online lately, and in person. And it seems to spread like a virus when we’re exposed to it. I’ve been struggling with my mental state for weeks now.

This one moment — this simple act of human kindness — reminder me that good still exists. It’s rampant, in fact.

As I settled back to enjoy the rest of the show, the band launched into Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”

Indeed.

Carol Pearson is the founder of 10 Little Rules and the author of 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life. She reminds us all to remember Rule 4: Focus on kindness & love

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On Rituals … and the Value of Temporary Chaos

On Rituals … and the Value of Temporary Chaos

Rule #9 in 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life is “Make Life a Ritual.”

There is a certain comfort in routine. The morning cup of coffee is a perfect example. While some view it as a chore or a necessity, I see it as a way to reconnect to the waking world.

So much of our lives rush by in a blur. We find ourselves doing the same things over and over again, like dropping the kids off at school, or tossing a load of laundry into the washer, dashing off emails to the clients, or paying the bills. It’s too easy to become automated, almost unthinking, as we scurry through our lives.

One way to bring more connection into my life has been through rituals. Growing up Catholic, we had plenty of proscribed rituals. Tuna noodle casserole became a Friday staple during lent. Even stopping for donuts after Sunday Mass, which explains my ongoing craving for a good jelly bismark one day a week.

I have found new joy in recognizing and celebrating the rituals in my life. Making the bed is now an opportunity to bring my bedroom back to a state of beauty, and prepare the space for another restful night. Checking the mail is gives me just a minute or two to think of someone I’d like to hear from, and plan to write or email them. Cooking dinner goes from being a chore to celebrating a healthy offering for my body.

But what happens when change interrupts our rituals?

The last two weeks have been all about chaos — sorting, packing, storing, selling our home and moving in with a friend while our new home is under construction. The comforting rituals are turned on their heads. And with it, my sense of balance. It’s no wonder I’ve had vertigo in the mornings, as my physical body expresses what’s in my heart and mind.

Yet overturning the familiar is where we find new joy. Creating new order out of the chaos — even though I know this too is temporary — restores my balance while allowing me to be open to new experiences.

My latest ritual? Morning coffee on the dock, feeding the baby turtles at my friend Melissa’s beautiful home. Who knew watching tiny little shell kids bob for food could be such bliss?

I may be out of my element, but that’s no reason to be out of my mind.

 

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