Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Your New Year Resolutions

Although some jokingly say New Year resolutions only go in one Year and out the other, I like what Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn has said about them:
Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle.
What do you want to change about yourself in the coming year? Do you have a plan for self-improvement in 2009 that will help bring you closer to your goals and dreams?

For those who wish to take stock of their personal progress now that we're at the end of the year, I received this guide by Rev. David Ault that may help:

Year End Resolutions

Did I express love this year—real love? The kind of love that doesn’t announce itself in flashy circumstance or structured conditions—but an authentic, quiet, internal love? The kind of love that bubbles to the surface when I gaze at another with understanding, a love that places me in their shoes, granting freedom from judgment and deepening my compassion? A philanthropic love that expresses because it simply feels compelled to, because it knows there is more than enough and everyone can benefit. If not, then I resolve to be and do better in my authentic loving.

Did I forgive this year—really forgive? The kind of forgiveness that cracks open my heart, peeling away one more layer of righteous indignation, thus allowing my soul to breathe? The kind of forgiveness that loosens my clinched fists held high at a situation so that I don1t enter into the next one with guarded mistrust? The kind of forgiveness that comprehends there is a difference between understanding a behavioral choice and condoning it? If not, then I resolve to be and do better in my forgiving.

Did I stop this year—really stop? The kind of stopping that can’t help but make me vulnerable by becoming more familiar with who I am without distraction, smoke screens, excuses or self-imposed numbing? The kind of stopping that turns me, naked, towards my feelings, giving them permission to express? No right or wrong—a stopping that simply lets me hear what I need to hear so that I can live more effectively? If not, then I resolve to be and do better in allowing myself to stop.

Did I seek adventure this year—real adventure? The kind of adventure that requires me to not only take a leap of faith off my cliff of familiarity but actually sends me back to get a running start? The kind of adventure that shakes the dust off my capable but underused wings and gives them an opportunity to catch the gorgeous wind of change? The kind of adventure that knows there is no outside safety net in this physical world, only an internal one? The kind of adventure that shouts, "I choose to live fully!" If not, then I resolve to be and do better in seeking adventure.

Did I seek wellness this year—real wellness? The kind of wellness that requires me to be fully conscious of what I put in my body—the kind of wellness that requires me to practice what I preach when it comes to self-love while understanding that the power to dissolve poor habits starts by simply choosing to change? Wellness that says, "This is the only body you’ve got. Treat me with respect, praise me daily and honor me as the holy temple that I am? " If not, then I resolve to be and do better in allowing wellness in my life.

Did I play this year—really play? The kind of play that gives value to the heavenly activity of fun -knowing that fun is sacred, that play is the equivalent of work and that during play—renewal and relaxation usher in the newest ideas and the clearest choices for better manifestations? Did I view play as a necessary life function and not a debatable luxury? If not, then I resolve to be and do better in my relationship to playing.

Did I set a goal and see it to completion this year—really complete it? The kind of completion that lets the vibration of satisfaction and confidence in my abilities heal any opposing ideas of not being good enough? Did I honor my life and its sacred purpose by utilizing my time with forward thinking and letting my mistakes be motivators not antagonists? Did I dissolve my insecurities and procrastination by understanding that my untapped genius has but one mode of expression and that is through idea, thought, word and action? If not, then I resolve to be and do better in setting and completing my goals.

Did I open myself up to learn this year—really learn? The kind of learning that entices me to enroll in being a student of life with thirst and enthusiasm? Did I set an intention for uncovering more of my potential, letting divine intellect eat from my plate and stepping deeper into the waters of wisdom? Did I open a book, take a class, study a language, learn an instrument, write a poem, visit another culture? Did I learn to surprise and thrill myself with the infinite capacity I have to master more than I thought I could? If not, then I resolve to be and do better on my personal path of learning.

Did I clean up my relationships this year—really clean them up? The kind of cleaning that requires me to break open the lock, pull back the curtain, throw open the window and start removing the dust of harsh words, grudges, false accusations and misguided choices that have layered my heart? Did I make amends for the fearful ways that disheartened another, for neglecting to honor their point of view? With careful examination, did I communicate my truth, understanding that sometimes all we may be able to do is agree to disagree and to do so without judgement or malice? If not, then I resolve to be and do better on cleaning up my relationships.

Did I share my good this year—really share? The kind of sharing that comes from the pure joy of seeing another succeed, not from what I think they can or will do for me in return? Did I tithe back to where I was spiritually fed, transformed and inspired? Did I practice random acts of kindness and give of my time, talent, and treasure realizing that my good is a part of a never-ending wellspring that cannot run dry -whose source is and always will be the infinite wellspring of the Divine? Did I commit to walking the altruistic path, remembering that every step brings healing and enlightenment to the world? If not, then I resolve to be and do better in my sharing.

Did I pray this year—really pray? The kind of prayer that is spoken not to God but AS God—prayers that affirm rather than beseech, are pregnant with knowing rather than bloated with doubt? Did I make my every day activities a prayer—realizing that every thought I think carries with it the responsibility of an effect on the world? Did I remember how truly powerful my own prayer actually is and that by simply devoting myself to the practice of it, I become the change? Did I remember that my prayer takes what I seek and introduces it to me, the seeker? If not, then I resolve to be and do better with praying.

Did I do all these things because deep down inside I fully understand how precious I am and that these activities will help me to see that I am held in the light as a perfect idea? Did I remember that I have been perfectly conceived and am always held in the perfect mind of God as perfect being? Did I know that there is nothing that I can ever say, nothing I can ever do that will separate me from the love of God? If for any reason, I forgot my divinity this year, then I resolve to be and do better in my knowing of it, to fully understand and embody the truth that it is done unto me as I believe. And I believe in the power of Good, for me, for you, for all.

© 2005 Rev. David Ault

At Ode Magazine's "Exchange" (where readers share ideas, experiences and stories], Kristen offers ten questions she believes you can ask yourself to increase your self-awareness:

Whatever question is tormenting you, it’s time to get your mind to focus on what really matters now. Remember, you get what you focus on. Here are 10 questions to print out, answer and give some attention to. Get your friends and family to answer them as well. You will learn a lot about each other if you do.

* What was the best thing that happened to me this year? * What did I do this year that I’m really proud of? * Who did I really help? * Who do I need to thank and acknowledge for having been there for me? * What are the top three lessons I learned? * What increased my happiness and joy this year? * What’s something I got through that was really tough? * What did I avoid that I must pay more attention to in 2009? * What character trait did I develop most this year? * What new people did I meet that are now in my life?

At, Kirsten Harrell suggests a "Dream Book" -

[..] Get a 3-ring notebook, a scrapbook, or journal. Gather magazines, photos, scissors, glue (or tape), and a couple of colored pens or markers. Create a page for each life category. Cut out pictures from magazines and use photos that represent your dreams and goals. Make a collage on each page with your pictures and photos. Be sure to include your affirmations on the page somewhere. You can write them with your colored pens or print them out from your computer. Be creative and have fun with it! Create a page like this for each of your major life areas.

The next step is to create your action plan. Having great big, juicy dreams is fun and exciting! However, it can be overwhelming as you try to figure out how to achieve these goals. Breaking your big goals down into smaller, more manageable, actions steps will help. That's the beauty of big lofty dreams; you can break them down into as many little steps as you need to in order to move forward. I suggest you keep breaking the big goals into smaller and smaller ones until you feel completely confident that you can reach the new smaller goal. If you don't break the goals down, you may get overwhelmed and end up not doing anything at all to reach the big goal. If you notice that you are stuck and not moving forward on a goal, then you know it is time to break it down further. [more at link]

Good luck and Happy New Year
~ Jude