Morning Letters

New Year Revolutions, Not Resolutions

Happy New Year! This morning I woke up feeling alive and awake. Beginnings. Natural turning points on our paths. Today is open to be anything. We can connect to every possibility.

Instead of resolutions this year, I’m reflecting on revolutions. Resolutions are firm decisions to do or not do something. When you resolve something, it brings closure or provides an answer, a solution. Typically we make resolutions where we firmly decide we will be healthier or happier or more creative. We decide. We set the intention. And then we feel badly when the river of life carries us around a bend we didn’t predict and the decision we made on January 1st suddenly becomes the residue left behind on the riverbank.

For years, I’ve spent hours of time writing resolutions, making decisions about the year ahead. I’ve mapped out every area of my life with the naiveté that I could somehow control things with firm statements. I tried to be specific: I will walk by the lake three times a week. Some years my resolutions looked like task lists. Other years, they looked like themes in a literary novel.

A resolution implies there is a problem. What if I let go of that too? By focusing on the problems is it possible that I create more problems? By looking at answers is it possible that I miss the questions?

This year I am letting go of any sense of control or idea that I have any answers. I’m shifting my attention away from the problems for a while to see what happens. I recognize that I can only see one step ahead of me at a time. What if the problems were already solved? What if I shifted from the pressure to resolve things to the pressure to be curious about things?

In a revolution, we don’t know what’s going to happen next. A revolution is about change. We let go of old ways of doing things to make space for new ways. What if I lived 2021 with the ease of the earth revolving around the sun? Movement just naturally happens this way and the earth adapts to the seasons. Why do we resist nature and natural ways of unfolding and changing?

A new year, a new revolution. An invitation to actively participate in change by showing up to something and paying attention in each moment even when I don’t know the outcome. A way to embody presence and curiosity and connection. Revolutions aren’t typically about an individual’s needs. Revolutions are about the collective. Community. Change through relationships. In a revolution we can focus on what’s most important in any given moment without the pressure to think about it. We just know. Revolutions aren’t about thinking or setting expectations, revolutions are about experience.

So this year, 2021, I let go of resolutions for good. I begin my revolutions. I hope you’ll join me. Let’s show up together each day, connect to the importance of each moment, and let the natural movement of the earth circling the sun guide us.

A friend posted this quote on Facebook yesterday and this is another way of looking at the same idea:

“I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” John O’Donohue

In 2016, my New Year reflection focused on working hard to make change through resolutions. In 2021, my New Year wishes are to engage in the experience of life’s revolutions wherever they may lead.

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