Humans love to romanticize endings. And beginnings. And the draggy parts in the middle I guess, but they dig a goodbye, the drama of dissolution. And so as 2011 comes to a close, I’m forced via the emotional climate and energy to reflect upon this year, make assertions and judgments, constructively criticize myself and then pinpoint a new goal for next year. But what if this year was so beautifully perfect, glorious and pristine, rich and dense, at once hazy and yet crystal clear, that you don’t want it to dissolve? I want to reside in this current state of being into 2012 and keep experiencing life with this mindset and principles. Not that I’m whole, fully realized, successful or 100% fulfilled, but this year set off a flame inside me that is already burning bright, it’s impervious, cannot be dimmed. This is not a spotlight. I am not performing. I am Alive. Excessively so. And I aim to remain. We often want to lose weight, lose/gain a job, lose/gain a relationship, start something we’ve been wanting or end something our friends have been pleading us to; none of this works. These are external solutions for internal issues. We must be patient and kind to ourselves, begin to recognize old thought and behavior patterns, bring some awareness in and see the subtle shift we make toward progress. We shift the internal and the external blossoms. Having goals to change or improve aren’t bad, clearly, but our society perpetuates superficial or cliché objectives every new year, as if that specific fragment in time means anything.
Winter is often difficult and sometimes depressing, 3 months of dissolution, we see it in nature. A more appropriate date to explore varying routes to positive change is the end of March, Spring, a time of worldwide growth, amongst humans, animals, plants, a time of beginnings, renewals, a time to blossom. However, putting an actual date on your impending change in behavior or lifestyle only keeps this goal living in the future, some distant place you’ll reach somehow but obviously progress can only really occur in the now, and keep occurring during this very moment, from the inside out.
Just speaking from the western culture I’ve developed in and observed, we begin a steady decline once fall hits, the weather cools and we roll into the “dress up like someone scary/slutty/funny/weird/obscure” time while ingesting copious amounts of sweets and probably alcohol or some fun but harmful substance, and then for some deranged reason we hop on a gluttony train, eating stale candy until we can fill ourselves with pie, starch, turkey and other November deliciousness that inevitably makes us tired so we coast on lethargy and bloat until December when the cavalcade of holiday parties take up our weekends. By then we’re exhausted from our consumerist activities, shopping, eating, decorating, napping, drinking and any combination/order of those until we park ourselves permanently onto a cushioned surface to eat some tasty meat doubled over with butter, served with sides of gravy, accompanied by items covered in cheese or mysterious crunchy goodness, which is then sandwiched in moments of time eating holiday themed savory and sweet treats, washed down by equally intoxicating special occasion beverages while you watch Home Alone for the 8th time that month because you have the case for Christmas Vacation but no actual disk and although the charm and nostalgia of a VHS tape is fun, no one in their right mind still owns and uses a VCR, nor do we want to watch that shitty version made for a 19 inch 80’s television, then stretched to fit a modern high-definition flat screen.
After Home Alone 1 and 2, you may switch back to the 24 hour marathon of A Christmas Story, marking the 12th year you’ve watched it out-of-order, finding somehow to see the same scenes but never the full story, rarely remembering character names or a plot but merely specific famous lines and scenarios that have embedded their way into our culture like Star Wars references. I’ve only seen the first film (the one with a handsome Harrison Ford, not episode one or whatever, nerds) and yet I know that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father, just like I know in a Christmas Story the boy shoots his eyeglass out, gets into a fight, gets pushed down a slide by Santa’s boot and gets soap shoved in his mouth for cursing. It’s my parent’s generational holiday story and for some reason ours is Christmas Vacation and Home Alone. Can’t get enough of either. Back on track...
Then you have pie. And then, even though you all promised to cut back or perhaps not buy any gifts this year, the tree is up to its angel in gifts and you dole it out eagerly, most going to babies who don’t know and children who will soon forget, or simply prefer to play with the box over its contents. You add up your gift cards, inevitably lose something in the piles of wrapping paper and then you nap, waking up to another shot from A Christmas Story you saw earlier in the day. And then you eat cookies. At some point someone starts gathering trash, hoards and hoards of ugly patterned paper, tissue, tape, ripped bags, cards someone pretends to keep but actually tosses, rolled up food stained napkins, plates, half full cups, and candy wrappers, saying goodbye to numerous trees yet again, asking yourself if you’ve even had water once today, opting for whatever’s left in your plastic santa cup before you throw it away.
So you’ve had an 8-10 week sugar rush interspersed with moments of pure sloth, to then emerge at the end of December with nothing to show for it but some sugar related acne, broken zippers, burst buttons, probably some fun albeit foggy memories, and fading bitter ones of board games lost, and then a low-grade -no more singing joyfully, no more candy (until Valentine’s Day), no more forced, organized opportunities to gorge and get drunk with family and friends, no more too good to pass up sales, back to work- depression sets in.
For some reason, during this time I just described with 100% accuracy, we’re forced to evaluate our lives during a couple of months of indulgent, surfacey fun behavior and amidst all the chaos and stupor we’re then encouraged to land safely back in reality to then scout out our faults and bad habits and scold ourselves into changing after one last night of emotional and physical bingeing, to then miraculously make huge steps in an entirely newer and better direction for an infinite amount of time. No thank you. What a bunch of bullshit designed to keep us in our cyclone of crap, to repeat the same nonsense from January to December yet again.
There should be zero guilt associated with those few months of celebration, sugar absorption, gift giving and relaxing. It’s biological. Winter is coming, we need an extra layer to keep warm. That ebb and flow is natural, we’re leaner when it’s hot and fuller when it’s cold. When it comes to the more long-term, major adjustments, the resolution is much deeper and cannot begin after a night of alcohol abuse and slurred words. Perhaps we should begin on an arbitrary date, or our birthdays, or some date significant to us but no one else. The date does not matter. It is the intention and the energetic focus of that intention that determines our success in this evolutionary endeavor. Our goal as individuals and as a society is to keep getting better, internally, opening our mind and our heart a little more each day, so what we have to give only grows and a blissful presence remains despite external stress, relationship woes, excess pounds, or the absence of money.
We don’t need no resolution and we certainly don’t need it on January 1st. This is recuperation time. Time to reflect on the positives of the year, take the lessons from the mistakes and let any lingering negativity go. Time to let the massive quantities of carbohydrates digest, give the ole liver and kidneys some much needed H2O, resolve to either make changes necessary in the areas we are not happy and/or recognize the power in our own perception and reactivity. We choose to see people and situations in our own light and if that light is consistently dark and pervasively negative, then we know the change must first come within. As within, so without. If someone or something is so overtly caustic to us and others, then we must choose to remove ourselves from their presence. When it’s a necessary to suck it up and deal, then I’ve found it helpful to find the good and let it drown out the bad, whether in a human being or circumstance. We then change the way we operate toward the person or environment and the results are proof, we get what we give.
This year I resolve to feel nothing but gratitude for what’s led me here. Love.
I will allow my heart to speak up over my head and my chattering left brain to be silenced by the wisdom and acceptance of my right.
I will continue to strip my life down to simple truths and joys, food, laughter, love. Everything else is bonus.
I will do my best to choose collaboration over competition and relish the act of playing a game instead of predicating my happiness on the result. The means is far more important than the end.
I will not be discouraged when whatever external forms of success seem to be at a stand-still and when the financial well continues to be dry.
I will try to treat myself like I do my best friends and encourage them to do the same. Instead of labeling myself and others for their faults, I’ll lead and be grateful for the strengths and hope they diminish the weaknesses.
I will strive for a stream of consciousness that imbues a sense of connection with others, an unshakable calm disposition with an uninhibited self-expression, while in a perpetual state of internal and external motion.
Even those with whom I’d prefer to be apart, I wish you peace and goodness. For those I love, I wish you a balanced, loving life so full you’re overwhelmed by your happiness, fulfilled by your endeavors and satisfied in every imaginable way. I wish for us all to enjoy a full life together. Happy New Year.
May you always Eat (like a fatty), Laugh (like a schizo) and Love (like a lunatic). Remember: You’re awesome, give whatever you feel you’re lacking, let’s not take each other so seriously and have some fun in this whacktastic world.
Resolve conflicts. Relinquish control. Realize your innate goodness. Release. Repeat.