And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. Rainer Maria Rilke
With the year coming to a close, the most frequently asked question and the most discussed topic, besides the plans for the new year, are if one has made any new resolutions for the next year. The tradition of “New Year’s Resolutions” simply translates into a list of resolves to change the undesired characteristics, traits or behaviour, as well as to accomplish one’s list of personal goals, wishes or dreams. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t technically a new age phenomenon or a modern trend.
“Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.” Neil Gaiman
As far as history has traced to approximately 4000 years ago, early Babylonians made promises to their gods at the beginning of each year to return the borrowed and pay their dues. Similar trend was seen among the Romans as well. Fast forwarding to the medieval era, knights re-affirmed their commitment to chivalry every year by taking the “peacock vow” at end of the Christmas season. There are many religious parallels especially in Judaism, the Lent season where one has to reflect on one’s wrongdoings and make amends.
“Move out of you comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Brian Tracy
Yet the trend caught on especially at the end of the Great Depression where more people began to make New Year Resolutions. While research has shown that resolution made during the new year were more likely to succeed, each one has their own story and version of events. All said, if we decide to make them keeping them short, simple, targeted and realistic, will make the resolutions happen. For being human we need to look forward to something each day and resolutions give the hope that things do change when we try.
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, And next year’s words await another voice.” T.S. Eliot
The two wolves
A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.” The grandson asked him, “Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?” The grandfather answered: “The one I feed.”
For those of us who are avid readers of cartoons, comic strips and the “kids fun pages” in the newspaper, may have heard of the famous line, “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.” These words I first came across when I read Popeye, the Sailor. The truth we become what we feed ourselves. Our actions echo what our thoughts dwell in. The behaviour and our outlook reflects the character that lives as a result of what we think and believe in.
Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you. Joel Osteen
In our lives we come across many situations and people. With the unpredictable nature of time, if we react to everything then we end up being buried in a quagmire of bad thoughts and emotions. Instead on dealing with unpleasantness, glean off the bad parts and only retain the better sections. Let the words enter through one ear and exit the other, bypassing the cortical cells which store the memories and words. To an extent while we can’t control what others say to us, what we can control is our reaction to it. Retain the better parts, for those will sustain us. If the bad parts hold no truth, then leave it. Yet if they are mistakes on our part, it’s easier to accept our faults when genuine and then move in. For staying stuck in a rut, is no way to live life.
I realized that if my thoughts immediately affect my body, I should be careful about what I think. Now if I get angry, I ask myself why I feel that way. If I can find the source of my anger, I can turn that negative energy into something positive. Yoko Ono