The beginning of things. Mondays. The first of a month. The stretch of a new year before us. If we have nothing else, we always have possibility.

New Year. New You. I’m starting to see these words in strange places. On the header. On the marquee of my mind. Lighting up centers of hope. Sometimes, sadly, the realist comes in and takes over with a thwack. Yeah. Right. It’s a calendar year, not magic. Change happens quickly, but also slowly. Change happens in one step forward and one step back and (if you keep on keeping on) two more steps forward.

How many times must we see or repeat something before it becomes built in, part of us, another screw in our hardware. How many beauty magazines must we read until we grow fearful of aging? How many rejections must we receive until we condemn our dreams? How many barriers must we construct before we can love? Conversely, how many resolutions/intentions/goals must we set in order to find progress?

Make it a mantra. Write it down. Put it where you can see it. Put your money where your mouth is. Believe. The past has no bearing on the future. What has always been done need not determine what will be done.

I don’t know the occult formula, the foolproof strategy for growth. Aside from faith.

Resolutions are not one-size-fits-fits-all, not one-size-fits-forever. Resolutions are mutable, discoverable, breakable. And nothing is foolproof. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is forever. Yet everything is forever, because God is forever, and God is everything, and we are God.

Resolutions themselves will not change a life. It’s the energy behind the resolutions that make them powerful. The momentum of the new year brings a surge of energy. A fresh wave to ride. I like to take advantage of it, tending to the spark until it becomes a fire that clears space for new ways of being. The sacred ten days between the solstice and the new year, this is when we set the goal posts. The resolutions.

Here’s 17 things I want for 2017. (Fun fact: I didn’t use numbers as I wrote them, just happen to come up with 17 things.) Can I call them resolutions? Not sure. They are behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs that I seek to practice and master. I am sharing them because it’s a kind of accountability, and because I hope to inspire, and because I want to remember.

  1. Make my bed in the morning. And by morning I mean MORNING, not right before I get back in it at night.
  2. Be curious, not judgmental. Finding curiosity instead of judgment feels like breathing in ocean air instead of carbon dioxide.
  3. Balance creation with consumption. Stop the soul-sucking madness of mindless scrolling through social media. Yeah. That.
  4. Practice kindness. Even when I want to growl or yell or howl. Especially then.
  5. Go for quality over quantity. Run faster, for shorter distances. Lift heavier, for less reps. Buy less. Buy from socially and/or environmentally responsible companies. Read favorite books again, rather than seeking to read all the books.
  6. Cultivate inner peace. Use meditation, mindfulness, and deep breaths. Don’t worry if my youngest wants me to lay down with her for an hour until she falls asleep, use this time to be with her and be still. Know without a doubt that everything I need is within me right here, right now. There is nothing I must accomplish or accumulate in order to find inner-peace. It is within me all along.
  7. Simplify. Letting go of things/activities/habits/beliefs I no longer need. This is all-encompassing, a continuous work-in-process. We must always edit, or we risk stagnation. Our best life comes from whittling away the detritus to arrive at the shiny center.
  8. Count blessings. Have gratitude for everything, even if it’s hard to see the good in it. Refrain from comparing my life to other lives on social media. Want what I have. Rejoice in the gift of life.
  9. Call people. The quickest way to connect with far-flung loved ones is to call. Call them first, call them back. I’ve fallen into the comfort zone of texting, but nothing replaces a conversation between human voices.
  10. Make more art. Yes, stories and essays and ramblings, but also collage art and installation art and collaborative art. Feed my inner artist. Let my inner art monster loose.
  11. Share my art fearlessly. Actively share and seek ways to share. Submit. Query. Apply. Publish.
  12. Focus on the process rather than the end result. Love the process. Have gratitude for the process. The process is the only thing we can control. The process is the reward in and of itself.
  13. Let presence eclipse productivity. “Ours is a culture that measures our worth as human beings by our efficiency, our earnings, our ability to perform this or that. The cult of productivity has its place, but worshipping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living.” – Maria Popova
  14. Go on more adventures. To places I’ve never been, whether that’s a city or a country or a street in my city. And to my favorite places more often, like the beach just to watch the sunset for 10 minutes.
  15. Practice peaceful parenting. Show empathy. Listen to and respect their opinions, wants and needs. Say “yes” when I can. Don’t get in power struggles. Delight in my children. Put aside special time every day to connect with them on an individual basis.
  16. Practice rituals religiously, and create new ones. I like to write my intentions under the New Moon and use fire to release that which is no longer serving me during the Full Moon. I like to read something spiritual with my coffee in the morning, and read fiction in the evening. My family likes crepes on Sunday morning and kisses when we say good-bye. In the coming year I would love to declutter and clean the house as a family on the spring and autumnal equinoxes. I would love to host gatherings on the summer and winter solstices. I would like to bless my food before eating it. I want to see my life bookended by rituals of my own choosing and making.
  17. LOVE MYSELF. Befriend myself. Shine my light. Be true. Be vulnerable. Be a badass. Be inspired. Be love.

Here’s to trying, and believing. Here’s to the rebirth. Here we go.

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