Planting the Transformative Seed – A New Year’s Resolution
Here we are, the first day on another 365-day revolution around the sun. I feel inclined, as we do around this time, to ask myself who I've been in the past year, and even more importantly, who I would like to be for the next 364 days.
There is something in this ritual each New Year's Day that holds a certain power, a gift of a potential new beginning. That gift is actually offered to us anytime in our lives, yet something about a new year illuminates what we tend to forget.
A few years ago, in the wake of several unexpected changes, my wife, Megan and I found ourselves stuck in a rut that we could not seem to pull ourselves out of. Perhaps it was the snow drifts that mounted, unsurpassable, against the back door that contributed to the feeling of hibernation. However, I suspect that at a more profound level, we were not open to the possibilities that lay ahead and that we were being called to embrace.
I recall that just before the first of the year, that holiday season, I found myself stirred from this apathy and I recognized how deep our rut truly was. Now I can't name the moment that this shift occurred, but it felt as though we had become so uncertain about what to do that we lost an understanding of how to move, in any direction.
We needed to give life an overhaul, one that would bring our focus into high definition and make our actions purposeful. The best way for us to do this was to change our environment: set it up to become the space where we could make lasting and positive transformations.
Much of this seemed simple, for me at least. We started with small items, like turning off the television and unplugging the antenna so that we weren't sucked into the hypnotic fuzz of our quasi-antique tube; a quiet victory (five years in the making) for all who prefer this reality over reality TV. And, setting up a white board in our kitchen where we could write down goals and dreams that could serve as motivation when we were struggling to find inspiration.
I noticed, over the course of that year, these small actions established a rhythm of positivity and growth; not that each day was perfect, but rather, our home became a foundation upon which we were able to build and act on our dreams.
At the time, I would have never imagined how far this would carry us. That was two years ago. Now, every morning at breakfast we read our goals aloud, creating a resonance for the day. It sets the tone for the day and fills my heart and soul with those priorities.
These simple steps, now routine habits, helped navigate our intentions and have evolved over time to inform and direct our purpose. Our house has been transformed, and now a reflection of our desire to serve those in our community.
I know that for many, the concept of New Year's resolutions are wrought with unmet goals and broken promises, and it seems that this is often caused by a lack of vision coupled with what one might consider a muffled inspiration.
But as I settle down and reflect on what 2013 may offer, I find myself asking not what my vision is for this new year, but rather how I might better embody the vision my soul already carries. And, just as in working with those hoping to find greater freedom in life, I turn unflinchingly toward the urge to smile, trusting that therein lies all the seeds for transformation.