Dose #11: A New Year;After The Striving - What Then?
"Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself."
~ Mohsin Hamid
Christmas is a gentle time. People smile easily, they're brighter, more friendly. Red, green, and gold warm the days. Cinnamon and clove arouse the senses.
The New Year is a different kind of holiday - more vigorous. Letting go. Decisions. Beginnings. A clean slate.
The year opens with new - and renewed - intentions to lose weight, exercise more, earn more, spend less, give up sugar, change careers, find a mate, grow a business. We turn the page to better the year before - out with the old!
We start with more than we need, but, we're striving people, praised for what we do, recognized for what we have, so we scramble and strain for more. We're a happiness seeking nation - yet, we are not that - happy. So, what does come after the gathering, the possessing, the betterment?
Poet Walt Whitman asks; "After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains?" He answers..."Nature remains...".
What we think of as nature is not only the tree, the mountain, the doe. It is us. It is we. When we attend to the us, when we take care of the we - then success, then happiness. The kind that sustains.
In this new year, how will you care?
Will you intend to think of others? Will you notice the one nearby - the man or woman in the grocery store, struggling to pay for the box of sugar-coated cereal, the 1/2 gallon of milk and the store-brand loaf of bread? What will you do?
Will you intend to be generous? Show up at the local food bank with cake mix and spaghetti sauce, canned tuna and tins of good coffee. Bars of chocolate. The kind you like. Will you tell others of the good you see in them? Will you give when no one is looking?
Will you intend to be kind? Keep criticism to yourself. Strive to understand. Look for the good. Will you let the other go first?
Will you intend to be patient with the elderly person who doesn't hear so well or move so fast? To listen to the child who wants to tell you something. Acknowledge with a nod or hello, the one who is homeless.
Will you intend to stop judging? To consider how you would be had you been raised as the other. To feel compassion instead of contempt.
Will you intend to be grateful - for small things and amazing people. For the life that is loaned to you.
Will you intend to be fearless? Trust your judgment. Live by your vision, not the vision written for you by another. Will you be willing to risk, to fall? To triumph.
And, this year - will it be your intention to play? Soar free. Live days that are goal-less. Walk in the park, sit on a bench, watch puppies and children and the old go by. Wear your robe - all day - drinking tea and reading a good book. Watch old movies. Visit a village you've never seen before, explore a new neighborhood, make a different kind of friend. Unclutter your mind. Stop thinking it's all on you. Put cushions in your shoes then run as if you were ten.
Finally, whatever you do, how much you strive or give or play - to make life happen with grace - will you intend to bring beauty into your life? Music that takes your breath away. A poem before you sleep. The glow in the face of someone you know. The river, the creek, the stream moving in joy, this way and that. Gentle words. The sound of two birds talking. Your own beautiful mind. The soul shining through the eyes of the blind. Will you let yourself be astonished?
And, if you are one who has less - one with a hole in your shoe or the small grocery list, one who walks late at night because there is no token, will you intend to not feel sorry for yourself? To let this thing that is now, make you determined. Give your best - today, then tomorrow, then the day after that. Keep growing. It will get better. It will.
In this New Year of 2019, whatever we do, let us do it with care.
Happy, Healthy, Joyful New Year 2019!
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