“May the accolade for the first instant of the millennium (new year) make us aware of its flip side: its precious emptiness. ” Jose Reissig
I have never been one for resolutions at the New Year. There is something about them that brings out the rebellious side of me. I can quickly fall into the path of trying to outsmart myself with cheating my good intentions. Sound familiar? My mother might call this behavior that ‘bites off my nose to spite my face’, a common saying of hers. Of course, I am the only one to really suffer the failure of my own noble, though often ill-fated, attempts to better myself.
And so as we enter this New Year I have no grand illusions that I will create the ever common list of resolutions: lose weight, exercise more, save more money….etc…..etc. Today’s newspaper listed these among the top ten resolutions of most people. Though all these would be beneficial to me, this is not the road for me.
Instead I am thinking of my brothers and sisters in the faith who have learned from those in religious community. These are folks who take on what they refer to as a ‘practice’. I like this word much better than discipline, another word that brings out my rebellious nature. To begin a practice, spiritual or otherwise, in the new year seems quite appealing. It also seems as if it might be a path to greater success.
According to definition, to practice is : ‘to do repeatedly in order to learn or become proficient, to create a habit.’ With this clean slate of a new year, I want to practice being healthier. Healthier and kinder. Kinder and more forgiving. More forgiving and fully present to each person I meet. My hope is to practice and practice. To learn, to become proficient at embracing what makes for a healthier mind, body, spirit.
Many of us practice doing things in which we will never be fully proficient. We play scales on a musical instrument without ever making it to the concert stage. We practice dance steps over and over knowing we will never ‘dance with the stars.’ Every day people practice a sport in which they will never be a standout. But there is such great joy in the practice. Tiny moments of beautiful music happens. The mastery of a turn or quick step raises heartbeats and confidence. And the physical engagement in those beloved sports build strength and sometimes a fun-filled community.
Practice.What practice is calling you in the emptiness of 2011? On the blank pages of this new year, what longing within you is waiting to be practiced until deep lessons are planted in your cells? Whatever is tugging at your heart on this final day of 2010, may the new day and the new year find you stepping out with confidence to begin your practice. May each step be repeated over and over and over. Though we may not reach full proficiency, perhaps we will all feel as if we have learned much and are better people for it.
A blessed New Year……..