I've never been one for New Years Resolutions - I generally make my "resolutions" around Labor Day, after a grueling week of camping in the desert with 50K of my best friends. When I get home in September, I review how I behaved during that week, acknowledge what I did not like about my actions and reactions, identify my triggers and set to work trying to unpack my own baggage, becoming a more objective, open and accepting person with greater tolerances for other people. This work is hard. I've been going through this exercise for 11 years, as a result I've truly improved as a human. As I look back, I recognize I was a bit of a jerk in the beginning. Granted I have transformed from a HOT 30 year old fire dancer with ass tons of disposable income and a stock portfolio, to a 42 year old undergraduate student with bank books in the red. A lot about my life has changed. While I am not particularly stoked about my mullah being in the toilet, the rest of the journey has been challenging and awesome -- even if some of it hurt (a lot).
For many years I’ve participated in a Viking tradition called a Sumble, which is a bit of a drinking festival where attendants Boast, Toast and Oath. Boasting that you’ve achieved your oaths, and toasting to those who’ve helped you along the way. It’s a lovely tradition, a bit hard to quantify, unless you’re really keeping good records of your oaths, while drunk. I’ve made some good oaths, some fluff, some have been achieved, but, because they are not focused with intention, I don’t think they’ve had the same impact as my September resolutions.
So why not add a New Years resolution, to my already solid practice of personal review? For the most part, I’ve always thought New Years Resolutions seemed to be a bit frivolous. Declaring, "I resolve to blog more" or "I resolve to get the best grades I can achieve!" seems shallow. So what? I always strive to get great grades and whether I post here regularly, I post daily in other places. These statements are not challenging and will likely be achieved without extra efforts. Perhaps I’m reading too much into resolutions.
Before I go digging through my dictionary, to make certain I understand the language of these words I’m using. I think that a resolution is solving a problem (ish) and a goal is an ambition to work towards. While they kind of sound the same, they aren’t. I think we, as a goofy western society have screwed up this new years resolution thing into a setting new goals thing (goals that we typically don't stick to), rather than identifying and solving. So I'm going to go a little deeper than actually achievable goals and dip into solving some problems.
But first, the dictionary. The word resolution has at least 12 definitions. My desktop dictionary, The Sage's English, says: solving, determination, finding, a decision to do something or to behave a certain way, conclusion, firmness of purpose, obduracy… bunch of stuff about voting blah, blah, then into music and the abilities of microscopes and picture quality. To cross reference I also looked into my microscopic OED "pocket" reference which says (I had to get out a magnifying glass and close one eye to read it, I almost started a fire), to find a solution. On to goals - which aren't related to football, or the other football - are defined as: The state of affairs that a plan is intended to achieve and that (when achieved) terminates behavior intended to achieve it. My generalization of a common misunderstanding of a New Years Resolution is not far off. By the very nature of a goal as per the definition is to stop doing the changing once the goal is achieved. I don’t want to do this, and I don’t think it’s a good idea. If my intent is to be a better person, I’m not going to put in the work to be a better person, get to be a better person, then stop practicing being a better person once I’ve achieved being a better person. Every year I hear people make resolutions like “lose 15 pounds,” that my friends is a goal.
Whatever. I resolve to not make shitty resolutions!
I have from personal experience, figured out that; I must be explicitly clear when I make declarations of want. I tend to get what I want (helps to not want for much), and if I flub the request a little without being perfectly clear, I get it all, usually it’s a lot of messy shit I have to sort through with bare hands to find a little bit of good. One of the things I want to resolve to do, I feel like I’ve declared before without the clarity required to actually net the appropriate results – therefore failing as resolutions and or as goals as they have not solved the problems, usually dumping a big pile of shit on me in the process. I’ll start with that one.
* I shall open myself to receiving welcome, sustainable, fulfilling, healthy, balanced, accepting, romantic, respectful love and partnership.
I’ve made statements almost like this before, and I ended up being open to hurtful, consuming jealous obsession “love” and it ate two years of my life with lingering bitter after effects. I want very much to release the bitterness and move on from that experience. I’ve been alone for over a year. I made an effort to give myself space to heal (and be a student). At this point in my life, and maybe I’m being a little swayed by my long break before school starts again, I feel like I have space and time to share with another person, so long as they are respectful of this space and time I have to share, without asking for more. What I have is what I have. I cannot (and do not want to) make more; manifest more; more, more, more. This is it folks. I am always improving, for myself at my own pace. I’m awesome in every sense of the word. If that is not enough for someone, they can take a hike.
* I shall open myself to receiving, accepting and maintaining abundant prosperity, without harming anybody or anything in the process, in any way; upon my own merit and efforts; close to home and heart; resulting from work I am passionate about.
Bring it! I’m tired of wondering how I’m going to afford cat food, or the gas to get to the store for cat food. Being broke, fundamentally broke since I broke my leg, has aged me. Well so has 4 years of recovery. I’ve leaned some good lessons from being broke. I am a better person for being broke. I have learned to be self-sufficient and sustainable with zero income, it’s true. It’s time I have comfort in my life, opportunities to travel, show my work, give myself the tools for better workmanship, have better nutrition and opportunities to enjoy hanging out with my friends.
* I shall begin learning to practice focused meditation. To make a genuine connection to contemplative practice, a desire to lead sane, dignified, confident life, and the aspiration to realize a more wakeful, sane society. I shall practice calm acceptance of the learning process and be patient with my struggles.
As it is, I make time every week to study my religion. I have taken vows, or is that, made vows… regardless; that was a while ago – after claiming to be Buddhist for many years of private study. I practice every part of it except meditation. I’ve taken refuge in two of the three gems, I think I’m ready to level up, as it were. It’s time to take refuge in the Sangha. I have not done this yet because I did not want to go to refuge as it were, as a reaction to fear or shame that may have sprung from my last intimate relationship. I was close before, but apparently took refuge in him rather than where refuge would have sheltered me appropriately.
And maybe I should resolve to being a better at mingling at parties too. Man. Tonight was tough work!