29 December, 2014

Hello Monday: Resolutions and Worth

It is a snowy Monday in Colorado. My love and I woke up at 4:30 this morning to drive his daughter to the airport. The snow was already coming down, black against the last bits of night that clung to the day. On the way home, the ice on the road had picked up. We saw one crash that pushed the interstate down to one lane. The weathermen are predicting snow today and tomorrow for where we live. Maybe winter will come after all. Maybe we will even get an early release or a snow day!

It is the last week of the year. Our thoughts turn from Christmas and family to resolutions and change. We often cling to pledges of weight loss, working out, being on time, or being more patient. And while these are good and valuable ideas, they often lose their appeal by mid-January and don’t really stick.

Maybe that is because losing weight is not what we truly care about but feel like it’s something we should strive for. Perhaps we have let what society tells us to pursue outdo what we really want.

Or maybe we know that working out more is an easy resolution to toss aside. If we stick to the surface resolutions we don’t have to face the bigger things we want to change.

I want to be less addicted to my smartphone – but is that really a resolution? Or is the resolution taking in what’s around me and not allowing myself to be so easily distracted (what Todd Henry calls "The Ping")? Is it getting over the need for 24/7 stimulation and instead becoming more okay with stillness, quiet and my own thoughts?  

If I keep piddling on my smartphone, I don’t have to create space and quiet to write, or read, or journal about what’s really bothering me. Instead I play Two Dots until I am out of lives and then move onto something else. If I never take the next step, I never have to risk failing. 

This superficiality in how we spend our time is startling. And it robs us of so much. Anthony D’Ambrosio goes so far to call it “cheating.” In an article for the Asbury Park Press (APP), D’Ambroiso says, “This type of cheating brings damage much greater than that of any sexual affair. You've given your heart to someone, you love them with every bone in your body, but yet, you have to beg for their attention. You sit back and watch them post status updates about useless things or post pictures just so people can comment.”

And he’s right. Oversharing is a pandemic in our country! We are all so self-centered about our opinions and images of our cats or breakfast that we don’t realize what we have lost. 

We are giving up connection, intimacy, authenticity (what is ultimately this need to be known), for what is superficial and false. We have the ability to put out more information about ourselves than ever before and yet we are less known because there is no true relationship in Facebook or Instagram. As Faith Salie put it, "status updates don't actually give us status."

Instead of clinging to useless (and often half-hearted from the beginning) resolutions, some people instead focus on a word. One word that will guide their year. It is often attached to a mantra, a set of questions, or a desire for how you want to be.

Tiffany Han chose ease. 
I’m ready to let go of the idea that effort = struggle, that the only way to succeed is by pushing and pushing and pushing until something breaks. I’m ready to embrace the idea that the work that comes the most easily to me is the same thing that the world needs. While I will still put forth the effort to write and create and share my work, I don’t need to bang my head against the wall to get the ideas to flow. I just need to sit quietly and let them out. (blog
Ali Edwards went with give
Give, for me, is so much more than the process of "handing something over." Give love. Give kindness. Give time. Give patience. Give to others. Give to myself. … (T)he word give for me is rooted in connection and openness and awareness and willingness. What do the people around me need? How can I connect with them through the process of giving of myself? … (It’s also about) giving time to myself. Giving patience to myself. Giving kindness to myself. Giving love to myself. I like the combination of the connection with others and the connection with myself. It's an opportunity to fine tune and get clear and make choices that align with what I care about most. (blog)

For Edwards the process of choosing her word starts in the fall. She says, “I tend to do a lot of listening and thinking and trying each one on for a minute or two or a couple days or longer. I know there is no perfect word, there's only choices and paths and possibilities.” For me, I let it rumble around in my brain and listen to what I see myself getting frustrated over or wishing that I could change. I take time and try to pinpoint what is truly at the heart of those things.

I see the word as a star put out there to guide the rest of my year. What do I want to accomplish? What is behind what I feel is lacking in what I am doing? What do I need to add into my life to be of better service to myself and others?

My word for 2015 is do

Actually DO what I say I will, DO what makes me come alive, DO what I need to create space and construct boundaries. Enough talking, it is time to DO something.

Do something with my writing and my small business. Do something to impact others.

It is letting my yes be yes and not agreeing to add anything else into my schedule if I do not plan to wholeheartedly do it. It’s coming alive. It’s not letting fear, doubt or insecurity pull me into mediocrity or distraction, but doing what makes me come alive and loving others as I live.


What is your word for 2015?

P.S. if you did not see Faith Salie’s editorial on Oversharing from CBS Sunday Morning yesterday, you can watch it here. It’s amazing. 

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© Amanda Lunday