New Year’s Resolutions

“I do think New Year’s resolutions can’t technically be expected to begin on New Year’s Day, don’t you? Since, because it’s an extension of New Year’s Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year’s Day isn’t a good idea as you can’t eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.”              — Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary

At the end of December, we take a mental inventory of all the things we did, or wanted to do throughout the previous year. Filled with hope for the next calendar year, we begin making a grocery list of things to do or habits to quit, and we call that list our New Year’s Resolutions. 

From the get-go, it is a set up for failure. Generally speaking, a typical resolution doesn’t see the end of the first quarter. And by the time Lent rolls around, we’re kicking ourselves for not quitting smoking, or dropping those “last ten pounds.”

Resolutions are not something I generally participate in. This year, however, I decided I would. But, I made some alterations to the “typical” process. Instead of choosing clichéd things like lose weight, quit smoking (something I don’t actually do), or workout more, I marinated on the thought of resolutions throughout the month of January and carefully constructed a list of items that would improve my ME. Resolutions that emphasize my spiritual side, and help me to define my place within the universe. More importantly, resolutions that I won’t abandon by the end of March. 

In 2012 I resolve to:

Write and Paint more
Writing and painting are something I have always done to express myself. When my verbal skills falter, I am able to find the words in writing. And should I not be able to express myself in written words, paint and canvas have always been there. Over the years, I have tried many mediums of art, from photography to sculpture and I always come back to writing and painting. 

Meditate more
Meditation is something I was introduced to, formally, in 2011. I had always been curious about how to do it. Isn’t it just breathing? It wasn’t until I made a conscious effort to learn about meditation, that I learned about the mind-body connection. How becoming centered within myself changes the way I view the world. I am less stressed, less anxious, and more aware of myself and my emotions. 

Practice yoga more
Yoga and I have been friends for years. Since I lived at home with my parents and followed VHS tapes in my bedroom as best I could with what little floor space I had. After all this time, I am still a beginner, and that is okay. To me, yoga is not the practice of going to a class filled with strangers or following a video at home, it the experience of doing it. Much like meditation, it is a time for me to connect my mind to my body.

Do one kind thing each day for someone
This should be an obvious choice for everyone. We live in a cold dark world, filled with anger and hate. Simple acts of kindness like holding a door open for the person behind you; laughing at a colleague’s joke – even if it wasn’t funny; or smiling at a stranger as you cross the street. These small acts may not seem like much, but they radiate positive energy into the universe and, can even change a person’s day completely

Become more present in my daily life; worry less about the future
I am a worrier. I often find myself just going through the motions, and I sometimes fail to really see what is going on around me.
I take the same route twice each day: out my apartment door, across the hallway, out the building door, down the stairs, across the parking lot to the car. Every day, twice each day (some days more), for two and a half years, and only yesterday did I notice a small tree standing between two others. Surely it was new? Unlikely since it is March and the ground is still frozen. I notice the small things, the insignificant. When my coffee table has been moved an inch, I notice. When the floor has been vacuumed poorly, I notice. And yet, I walk through the same parking lot day after day and fail to see the things around me. Upon further investigation, I discovered that this small, and beautiful tree had indeed been there all along, and I had failed to see it. 

Have an adventure
Put simply, I am boring. A creature of routine. This year, I resolve not to abide by my daily “schedule” and instead, make every effort to do things spontaneously. To fly by the seat of my pants, and see what kind of trouble I can get myself into.

Open my heart to all the wonderful things around me
A little less than a year ago, I was a broken women. Never in my life had I experienced such gut wrenching pain. As I struggled to get through those first days, weeks, months, a hardness started to grow over my heart. I craved affection, and yet spent as much time as I could alone – even though I did not like my own company. I started to become cynical about everything. And then one day, as if by magic (or fate), I was sitting alone and it hit me: The world is filled with wonderful and beautiful things. The universe will give back to me as much as I give to it.

Take a vow of silence
Those of you reading this that know me, may laugh at this one. Ha! She can’t be quiet! And, you might be right. But, I still want to try it anyway! I look at it like fasting, but for the mind. A few days (or a week) where I can vanish off the grid, and be alone with my thoughts.

Go on a trip by myself
Single, independent, and not afraid to show it! To me, vacationing alone is the ultimate show of inner strength. I view this resolution as my Everest.

What resolutions did you make for 2012? 
How are they working out for you?

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox 

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