I’m straddling life right now. Are you? Anticipating the changing of the guards. Two weeks into a new year that sets expectations that things will be different. That I should be different. Not wanting to own any big changes within me. Not wanting the changes happening out there. Feeling like I should rise up more than ever before, while I’m typing this from the comfort of my bed.
Yes, I’m psychologically straddling forward movement while digging in my heels.
My thirteen year old approached me on January 2 and said, “Mom, we never talked about New Year’s resolutions.” I must admit I consciously chose not to have this typical January conversation. Maybe it was because I’ve lost interest in setting them based on my track record. Maybe it’s because New Year’s resolutions seem to take on a different degree of importance given the backdrop of world events. It’s no longer enough to want to exercise more. I feel I should be setting loftier goals.
I love what my daughter chose for herself, “I’m going to do me. And I think you should do you, Mom.”
What a powerful idea! To focus on being your most authentic best self. Is there any better goal for the year?
So, if I take on her friendly challenge to "Do Me" then the next question is, what exactly is my most authentic self? Does authentic mean the part of ourselves that never changes? When I shine the spotlight on myself, the parts of me that come most quickly into focus have the most repetitive narrative. They are the soft part of myself that I constantly feel the need to shape and get right.
In order to "Do Me", I first have to embrace this part and polish it until it shines. I need to hold up my whimsical, nonlinear, no-revenue-making, teary-eyed, chasing inspiration, around-in-circles, self and take Kamal Ravikant’s advice to, “Love myself like my life depended on it.”
So let me ask you; can you fully own, love, even cherish the parts of yourself that seem to go around in circles? The parts of yourself that don’t change? Is it possible that these parts are supposed to be a constant because they are your authentic core?
I’m reading a fascinating book, The Fourth Turning, in which historians explain the three structures of time that have evolved, starting with Chaos, where there is no rhyme or reason to events. This quickly shifted to a Cyclical concept of time where humanity learned patterns of seasons, nature, and life cycles. In this structure, there was an honoring of past ancestors and future generations and an awareness that our lives play a part of a bigger collective journey. With the advent of industry modern man has moved into a Linear model of time where we over-focus on achievement and short-term individual betterment at the detriment of caring for the whole. It’s an interesting way to think about our own beliefs that self-improvement is necessary to be able to plot “growth” along a timeline.
What if we enter 2017 with a sense of deepening ourselves rather than changing ourselves? What if we “go back at it”, letting our sameness generate a sense of peace and wholeness, rather than resignation or frustration? If "You Do You” and “I Do Me" well then we are adding to the collective gifts of this world without having to be everything. Our cycle on this earth will bear great harvest.
This year I will love the softest parts of myself. I will tend to this love with greater commitment. I will deepen my practice of self-compassion and self-knowledge in order to grow strong in my heart. This will propel me forward in all the ways I can contribute the most from my authentic core . . . in ways that the world needs most.
My heart will find a voice. My heart will find the time. My heart will find the courage. My heart will find the feet to turn thoughts into action. This action will come from the inside out: not from setting a pre-defined goal, but instead from living moment by moment with a sense of my place in this world.
From the words of Mary Oliver, “You too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.”