I haven’t been able to stop thinking about new year’s resolutions. Maybe because last years’ were unexpectedly potent. Over Christmas dinner last week (at a table surrounded by friends), I remembered one of them: “Be better friends with the friends I already have.” Huh, it worked. I also made some new friends. How great is that? (I raise a toast.)
The other was to start a meditation practice. After 20 years of attempts, I finally did it. Sitting every day! (Thanks for the method, Alan. Thanks for the prodding, Vanessa. Thanks for the company, Tim.)
So, here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week for the coming year. Take it or leave it—it’s free. Here’s to a happy new year—and an inspired decade.
1. Keep a small notebook-–a small one that fits in my pocket. Write down ideas, events and thoughts of the moment, lists, words overheard, sights overseen. I started this in November at the suggestion of a writing teacher (thank you, Victoria) and it has blazed some interesting new trails. How much was I censoring myself? A lot.
2. Break out of the routine for one hour every week—even if it means walking down a new block (which in fact I love to do). In 2010, I’d like to shake things up; keep the brain and spirit fresh. Visit new parks, museums, bookstores etc. Cheaper than a ticket to Rio de Janeiro, too.
3. Use a key phrase for comfort. Sometimes I have a mantra from my meditation teacher and then I forget to say it. But it could also be a phrase someone—anyone—has said that was moving. Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, for new year’s 2006, said, “one of the most moving experiences I have had was when one of my teachers said it to me – “Whatever happens, you can handle it.” Another good one is from ad exec, Paul Arden: “Start being wrong and suddenly anything is possible. You’re no longer trying to be infallible.”
4. Take on a reasonable amount—and no more. This week I set out to do a reasonable number of tasks each day instead of a superhuman number. It’s been fantastic. Lo-and-behold, I’ve been getting more done and feeling friendlier, too. (It sure helps to get to work at noon.)
5. Check in weekly to see where I am and what’s ahead. My own personal 1:1 staff meeting. I’ve set Friday afternoons for this weekly accounting. It’s actually pretty fun, and it helps manage the overwhelm. Another good idea from Victoria.
6. Use iCal on my laptop and on my iPhone. Getting my schedule out of my head and onto “paper” clears some space…. for all those thoughts that I need to get down in my notebook! (See #1.)
7. … also it’s *really* interesting to see how much junk I’m carrying around in my head. I would like that junk to stop jabbing me in meditation, so I’m excited to put it down somewhere. (The creative company Behance has all kinds of strategies, apps, and stationary to help with this very thing—thank you, Jocelyn Glei!)
8. Inbox zero! Again: inbox zero!
9. Annoying people and situations (hello, crowded subway) offer a chance to learn and grown—I know, I know, SUCH a cliche! But there’s a catch: they are opportunities only if I can stay vulnerable. It is challenging not go into habit—and so, interesting. Heart forward!
10. Open your eyes. For one minute every day, see who and what is around you. This summer I noticed an overgrown corner lot at S1 and Driggs. I’ve lived one block from it for probably 10 years: in July it was lush vines, weeds, morning glories, and leafy tree branches spilling over the fence. It was wonderful to walk past. I found myself taking detours to stroke the cat-tails, smell the flowers, inhale the green. Even if you’ve seen your local spot or your trusted people a 1,000,000 times, see them again. Recall the native greeting in Avatar, “I see you.”
It’s great to open your eyes.in Culture, Event and Teachings.