Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Welcome in Another Year (Zoe Mulford)

Happy New Year!

In her December 28, 2007 blog, Resolution Revolution: A Better Way to Start Your Year, Christine Kane writes:

The reason most resolutions don’t work is that they address only one level of your life. The DO level. It’s the DO-HAVE-BE model. “I will DO this thing.” (i.e., Lose weight) “So I can HAVE this other thing” (Self-Esteem) and I can BE this thing. (Confident.)

The average New Year’s Resolution doesn’t address the core of the issue - the “BE” level.

The best order for creating positive changes in your life is the BE-DO-HAVE model. This means you start from the BE level. When you begin changing on the BE level of your life, then the DO level and the HAVE level follow more easily.

When you start only on the DO level, then all the blocks on the BE level will often become the obstacles you can’t overcome.

Several years ago, my friend Kathy and I decided that, instead of making resolutions, we would pick a word that would guide us throughout the year. It would be our touchstone. It would remind us of living our lives at the BE level.

The word I've chosen is Release - it was actually Christine's primary example and it almost felt like cheating to pick it... but every time I'd attempt to consider something else, Release kept coming back into the forefront of my brain and wouldn't allow the possibility of any other concept.

For decades I've used the phrase "relate, relax, release", accompanied by motions (hands on hips, hands on shoulders, hands flung into the air over my head) which, I am embarrassed to say, I borrowed from an episode of A Different World, the sitcom with Lisa Bonet which spun off from The Cosby Show - upon just now Googling the term, I find I've had it in the wrong order all these years (oh f*cking well... :-)

So... Release feels perfect, for its many meanings, incarnations and subtleties - for the next 366 days (it's a leap year!), I intend to:

RELEASE untruthful relationships

RELEASE undue stress caused by overcommitment

RELEASE unrealistic expectations, of others *and* myself

RELEASE unwanted clutter

RELEASE unhealthy habits

RELEASE unproductive pettiness

And I am sure there are so many more aspects of this multi-faceted word that can be both a noun and a verb I've yet to discover - in a nutshell, if I don't love it (whatever "it" fits the situation), I've vowed to let it go...

Relate, relax, RELEASE - I feel better already... :-)

SONG: Welcome in Another Year by Zoe Mulford
(lyrics unavailable but Zoe's website here)

BOOK: 365 Days to Let Go: Daily Insights to Change Your Life by Guy Finley

POEM: New Year's Resolution by Philip Appleman

Well, I did it again, bringing in
that infant Purity across the land,
welcoming Innocence with gin
in New York, waiting up
to help Chicago,
Denver, L.A., Fairbanks, Hon-
olulu--and now
the high school bands are alienating Dallas,
and girls in gold and tangerine
have lost all touch with Pasadena,
and young men with muscles and missing teeth
are dreaming of personal fouls,
and it's all beginning again, just like
those other Januaries in
instant reply.

But I've had enough
of turning to look back, the old
post-morteming of defeat:
people I loved but didn't touch,
friends I haven't seen for years,
strangers who smiled but didn't speak--failures,
failures. No,
I refuse to leave it at that, because
somewhere, off camera,
January is coming like Venus
up from the murk of December, re-
virginized, as innocent
of loss as any dawn. Resolved: this year
I'm going to break my losing streak,
I'm going to stay alert, reach out,
speak when not spoken to,
read the minds of people in the streets.

I'm going to practice every day,
stay in training, and be moderate
in all things.
All things but love.

QUOTE(S): "The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective." ~ G.K. Chesterton

"We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential." ~ Ellen Goodman

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