We are nearing that time of year, the end of the year. And the age-old tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions.
I am not anti-resolution. I love goals, and anyone who knows me knows that I am the queen of lists. I’ve got a dry erase board on the fridge for just that purpose!
But I don’t like the set-up for failure that resolutions often morph into. We start off with the best of intentions. We really do intend to smoke less or not at all, or eat less of this or that or not honk as loudly when an idiot inevitably pulls out in front of you. But lurking in the shadows is this belief that there is something wrong with me and I need to fix it and maybe if I just tweak this one thing, then….
My resolutions, when I did resolutions, were less about eating or smoking less and more about being more balanced, more grounded, more centered, more grateful, less bitchy, less rage-filled. And, usually, when I’d have a moment of gratitude…yes, a moment of gratitude, I’d somehow convince myself that I’d arrived. Somewhere. At that Shangri-La place where all those mystics whose books I’d read seemed to dwell.
False. False. False. There is no arriving. No staying. No center.
The late Jungian psychotherapist Robert A. Johnson once said, It is impossible to live in the center. Instead, he offers the metaphor of living at the fulcrum, the point on which a lever pivots.
So how can I possibly make a resolution to always be grateful and happy and grounded, when life pivots? When I pivot?
But, maybe what I can do, is strengthen my ability to pivot, to accept that I am sometimes the last person anyone, including me, wants to be around. That sometimes I am generous and sometimes really selfish. About stupid things. Maybe I can open to the mystery of life and stop trying to buy real estate in Shangri-La and plant some trees in my garden. And just be.
Ya, I think maybe I can try to do that…except it’s winter and I can’t plant anything till spring. But I can water my plants, and sing to them, and watch them blossom.