A years time goes by in a flash, two bizarrely even faster.
Have you given any thoughts to what you’ll change and or add to your life in 2014? Do you make new year’s resolutions? A new diet? Stopping a bad habit like smoking for instance?
Or do you tend to be like me and not even go there?
I have long been an advocate for NOT making new year resolutions. This last two years for me has brought so many new life changes that had I made any conscious resolutions the last two January’s I suspect I surely would have not been successful in playing out those resolutions. Simply so because I am busy living in the moments life is prone to, while navigating this that I refer to as the reinvention of my second season.
With the new year approaching, I remain steadfast in my way of thinking for 2014. I have made choices and changes in my life that have challenged me in ways I never even realized were possible. The challenge of finding new paths in life to live authentically, while finding a balance that brings the bliss of contentment comes with built-in fear factors. Fears that very well could have derailed me right from jump street had I fed the fears any energy. Instead I forged ahead, often with my eyes tightly shut not knowing what I might find at the end of each path.
The “reinvention of my second season” certainly has been filled with lessons I have found difficult to reconcile with, affirming again for me it is not I who is in charge of all aspects of my life.
And this is my own personal take on a familiar tradition of making new years resolutions, certainly not a suggestion that this is meant as advice in any way shape or form.
For me I am feeling this great wonder of having the freedom and ownership being on my own. The gift of being only that genuine person I have been shaped and molded to be, from all my life’s experiences and interactions is the most comfortable I have been in own my skin for a very long time.
I continue to be a devout and professional student of life. I am certainly in no way a “perfect person” and though I strive to live the “righteous life” of simply being a good person, living by the golden rule, I know without a doubt I am filled with a variety of flaws and imperfections. Which brings me to the theory of new years resolutions. It is not that I don’t need to make changes in my life where most of those flaws and imperfections lie. I do.
I wonder then where the disconnect for me comes regarding the theory behind new years resolutions. It is our tradition and custom to compile new years resolutions that we hope are going to improve who we are, and our behaviors. We all have our own inventory of these self-proclaimed improvements we seek in ourselves, and we think we only need to comply and our lives will magically improve And there for me is the rub.
I realized that my discomfort in making resolutions comes from my personal theory that for me improving life is really about how to live as a person who treats our planet and all of its inhabitants with great care and respect. All the years.
I find myself needing to slow down in life and look for the ways I am best able to accomplish this as part of the person I am. Finding ways that I won’t just drop the ball after the first few weeks as I did with a diet. I discovered I simply needed to change my way of thinking. Just as I did in relation to my way of thinking about dieting. I chose to change my thinking from “die-it-ing” to instead to “live-it-ing”
Admittedly an abstract way of thinking, but it works for me. I am convinced our thinking determines our behaviors, and if I can simply change how I think about something it will have a direct influence on my perceptions and then consequently my behaviors.
While pondering and wandering in my mind I remembered something from so far back in school I was not even sure I knew what I was recalling was correct. In school studying about The Stoics I recalled they believed in one basic behavior: Being Good. Needing some research to confirm what I thought I remembered I was delighted to find history about the philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium -early 3rd century B. C.
I recalled correctly and was even more wonderful was that my research was serendipitous to my thoughts on improving life & new years resolutions.
Wiki notes on the Stoics:
“The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage
, or person of “moral and intellectual perfection,” would not suffer such emotions.
Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism
and human freedom
, and the belief that it is virtuous
to maintain a will
) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they thought that the best indication of an individual’s philosophy was not what a person said but how they behaved.”
Upon further reading I was reintroduced to the very basic of tenets that the Stoics lived by. .
I find it fascinating when I learn about the philosophies throughout history that despite their originating cultures all touch on the very same ‘golden rule(s). In today’s life-style and belief systems I think living by a sense of the Golden Rule is the only path to true contentment.
There are four more tenets that I ascribe to that help me find a clarity in remaining true to myself, true to those in my world, and true as well to this earth we call home and our universe.
- Living according to nature
- Helping others
- Commitment to self-improvement. (aha, resolutions maybe?)
- Central to all else, maintaining a proper attitude. ( And there it is. An affirmation for me)
Live without pretending.
- Listen without defending.
- Speak without offending…
And my All-Time, All-Star favorite tenant:
Maybe some might choose to call these resolutions, and that’s okay by me.
I can do this for the rest of my life, not for just a few weeks.
I will still make the choice to call it simply “Living Golden”.