In years past, I have joined millions of others making the ubiquitous New Year’s Resolution.
By the time the Winter Solstice arrived, my thoughts had begun drifting to the upcoming new year. Planting a new houseplant in celebration, (See blog post Courageously Curious) with one hand in the dirt and a fledgling cutting in the other hand reminded me that, with the longest night of the year behind me, I will soon be moving steadily into the light of a new year and new possibilities.
As an aside, in celebration of the Winter Solstice this year, I planted a beautiful ivy which I named Isabella after Isabella Bird, the intrepid explorer. Though she is famous for writing A Lady’s Life in The Rocky Mountains, it is her panache in not only climbing Longs Peak, elevation 14,259 feet, in the fall of 1873, but doing so wearing rubber boots and a flowing, silk, Hawaiian dress, that leaves me transfixed.
In years past, I have joined millions of others making the ubiquitous New Year’s Resolution. Each year, I would give great thought to what I wanted to do and accomplish in the new year, and I would make “the list.” That list would migrate from place to place, from my kitchen table to my desk, from my desk to the refrigerator, and back again, until at some point about half way through the year, frustrated with my lack of progress, I would throw it out. Thinking back on all the years that I did this I wish I could point to at least one resolution having had some impact on my life. But I can’t. And that is because I was focused on the wrong outcome.
Only when I started discovering my own way, following the crumbs forming my unique path through this lifetime, I came to understand the difference between doing and being. My resolutions of the past were all about doing, accomplishing, and acquiring. They had absolutely nothing to do with the person I was searching for, the person that I was trying to become, the authentic me I wanted so desperately to know. Sigh...once again, while I was on the right pathway, I was lost.
Looking at Isabella Ivy sitting snugly in her new pot, my thoughts for the New Year returned to being—what I want to be and become in the new year. I started making a list, but it just didn’t feel right. How was a list, and a roving list at that, given my previous experience with resolution lists, going to help me? And it wasn’t as if I only had one list to work with. There was also my Wayfinding Principles list (see blogpost Wayfinding), my recently discovered list to becoming whole (see blogpost Wintering), my Priorities list in my Pathways Planner, my Happiness Habits list, not to mention my Pathways True North and 4 compass directions (Pathways to Possibilities book). Augh...it was time to simplify.
Researchers at the University of Oregon have concluded that the human brain has a built-in limit on the number of discrete thoughts it can entertain at one time. The limit for most individuals is four, according to the research team led by University of Oregon psychology professors Edward Awh and Edward Vogel.
If the limit for most individuals was four discrete thoughts, then I figured I had better pick 3 thoughts in order to give myself some wiggle room. And I needed to start with my defined True North of Grace.
Now, grace means many different things. From “courteous goodwill” to “the spontaneous, unmerited gift of the divine favor in the salvation of sinners”, and all definitions in between. But to me, grace is defined simply as love in action; as loving kindness.
Holding grace in my mind, thinking through my intentions for the new year and what I aspire to become, the path of how I was going to navigate to my best self in 2022 resolutely fell into place:
My Wayfinding Principles
Seek wisdom in all its forms,
Live with a grateful heart.
Sitting with my wayfinding short list, I feel the paradox that is my life. It is both a stretch and at the same time deeply comforting.
PS. What is your approach to making resolutions? And if you want to share, what did you resolve to do or to be in 2022? Please add your comments.