Waxing Existential: New Year, New You?
I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed. --George Carlin
I’m going into 2014 considering all the events of the last year, and what the New Year will bring. While I feel the urge to self-assess and get on the bandwagon of New Year’s resolution-making, I am trying to think of myself and my life differently this year. Resolution, according to Merriam-Webster online can be defined six ways. Allow me to self-indulge and share a few with you: the act or process of resolving as
a: the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones
b: the act of answering : solving
c: the act of determining
d: the passing of a voice part from a dissonant to a consonant tone or the progression of a chord from dissonance to consonance
and the other ones I found intriguing:
e: the process or capability of making distinguishable the individual parts of an object, closely adjacent optical images, or sources of light
f: a measure of the sharpness of an image or of the fineness with which a device (as a video display, printer, or scanner) can produce or record such an image usually expressed as the total number or density of pixels in the image
A New Year’s Resolution in my estimation is about change, but it carries with it a heavy burden: lack, deficiency, and maybe even shame. If one of these propels one into creating the resolution, it is often a different burden that appears to draw one forward: perfectionism. We see evidence of this all over the media at this time of year. New Year, NEW YOU!! It is especially insidious from the diet and exercise industry. From Halloween through New Year’s Eve we are bombarded with the message to indulge and then “reality” hits. We have been “bad” and now we have to “pay” by going on a diet, doing a cleanse, hitting the gym hard, stop doing this and start doing that. Redemption, my dear… redemption.
The actual definition of resolution is about the process of resolving, of finding a solution, moving from dissonance into consonance, and bringing something/persons/nations together. It’s about harmony. I believe it must begin with acceptance. The intention for resolution, when it comes from self-acceptance, brings with it the understanding of the inherent fluidity of life, including its limitations.
Take the weather. I can like or dislike the weather—and in Seattle, this is a true challenge—but it’s not going to make a difference. All I can do is respond to it in a way that makes sense to me. This is a limitation that I accept, and there are many more in life. But there are also opportunities to feel the freedom of and willingness to change. Consider these questions:
Is this what I really want for myself/my life?
What is my intention to make this change?
Does my intention to resolve this part of my life align with my core values?
Can I accept where I am and respond to my desire for change or resolution with understanding and compassion?
Now, look at the part of the definition that has to do with image and photography. Resolution, in photography is about quality and sharpness. Higher resolution means more image detail. Here’s a different aspect of change to consider. What do you really and truly want to focus in on today? Not tomorrow, next Monday, or this year—today. How would you like your focus to be sharper, clearer?
Change is inherent. It’s happening all around us all the time. This can be disconcerting or exciting, and everything in between, but it’s a given. Often it is very necessary to make life changes, sometimes more quickly than not, and these may be the most difficult. It’s always reasonable to expect that change as a whole takes time to integrate and to fine tune. We are extraordinary, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. (That is really ok, you know.)
Take heart, New Year’s Resolvers! The New Year can feel fresh and new and filled with the energy of beginning and moving ahead. This is a wonderful thing! But you were fabulous yesterday too. Organic resolutions are loving, accepting, and fluid, and don't come from what you are lacking, but from who you are now, in all your being and “becomingness.” Resolve to be. And then find your harmonious convergence. Happy, healthy, joyous New Year to you!
-- Sibel Golden