This is that time of the year when many of us take time to reflect on what we did or did not do for ourselves this past year, trying to forgive ourselves for our shortcomings, and then to resolve to make a new start for ourselves in the new year. While I really can’t speak for the rest of you, I can say for myself that this process of making New Year’s resolutions simply has not worked for me, at least with any profound change in who I am.
To examine this shadow, I went to Wikipedia™ to look up the definition of resolve and found that as a verb, to resolve means “to find a solution to a problem” or “to make a firm decision to do something”. As a noun, resolve means “determination or will power”. Both definitions seem to convey to me that a resolution is centered on the problem and requires will power and a whole lot of struggle and effort to affect the change. So, I am thinking that if I were to focus not on a problem to be solved or resolved but rather including the problem as the seed of the intention toward workability in my life, perhaps the desired result will show up by simply looking to see what works as well as what does not, moment by moment, and then simply doing that which works, at least more often than doing what doesn’t work.
So, getting back to my shadow, does finding solutions and using my force of will to affect change really make my life more workable? Its easy to make a firm decision when I am in the throes of excitement, such as found at the changing of one calendar year to the next. Celebrations like these can foster some change in my emotions because I believe that for the moment, I am invincible and infallible, but in the light of day, I will wake up, go to the bathroom, look myself in the mirror and think to myself, “what the hell.”
One common resolution people often make is to live a more healthier life; to lose weight, eat better, exercise more, and all that other stuff. The aim is to “get healthy” when the experience of health, which is neither good or bad, is simply a state of having a mind and body which supports the other intentions in life. For me, seven months ago, I was in a state of health where I could not walk or stand for long periods of time without a support, such as a cane, and to get up or sit down brought wincing pain to my body. Somewhere I said to a friend, a healer, that I wanted a change in my life. This friend told me to imagine carrying ten pound sacks of potatoes in each hand as I walked and then to imagine doing that without those bags. That image became the seed of my intention and now I have lost 55 lbs and in my job as a deliverer of flowers, I use the stairs instead of the elevator and park farther away from buildings instead of the closest space possible. Instead of resolving to get healthy, I have simply done those things that support my body in doing its job to support me in my other intentions in life. I haven’t resolved to do anything, I have simply taken a look at what works and what doesn’t and doing what works, at least most of the time, anyway.
The very best use of life
...is to transform to the awakened state. Next best is to develop qualities. Next best and skillful use of life is gaining deep connection to capable mentor who promises to hold you and care for you even after your passing. The least useful is to say you are a Christian or a Buddhist and expect that to save you!