Every New Year presents us with a feeling of “new beginnings”. New Year’s resolutions abound . . . quitting smoking, quitting drinking, losing weight, learning a new language, getting organized. Whatever our individual goals are, we’re forever hopeful that this time we will be successful. Certainly, for some, that’s true. For most, however, the same goal was on last year’s list and will be on next year’s. So what is it that needs to change in order for us to experience life differently?
In truth, New Year’s can serve as a metaphor for every day, in fact every moment. We can treat every day as an opportunity to change our thinking and to have that “aha!” moment when we realize we have a choice because, in truth, unless our thinking changes, our behaviour will eventually return to our habit. For example, if I decide to organize my files and get rid of old redundant papers I may be successful for a time. However, unless I recognize that it’s my state of mind that’s creating a cluttered desk and office, my habitual thinking/feeling about my ability to be organized will gradually erode my will power. It’s only when I clear my head and realize my innate capacity to change my thinking, that I can begin to see the benefits and possibilities available to me.
“What is new” is the idea that changing a habit or an addiction isn’t about “slaying the dragon” but rather about truly seeing it differently. When we can catch ourselves quickly, before we’re gripped by thinking that doesn’t serve us, then we’re more able to take the thought lightly and see the situation/problem with fresh eyes.
For instance, in the case of my aversion to filing, I need only recognize that it’s simply a state of mind that I can change. When I approach the job, instead of becoming gripped by thoughts of confusion or bewilderment, I can calm my thinking and see the creative possibilities. I may find new ways of coding things or decide to archive papers that I’m not yet ready to part with. It may occur to me to ask a friend who’s very good at running an orderly office to give me some help or suggestions. I might realize it doesn’t all need to be done at once and avoid that “all or nothing” thinking that can feel so defeating.
Whatever it is that seems to stand between us and a feeling of well-being, it’s powerless when we no longer take ourselves/our thinking so seriously. The moment we recognize that we’re living in a thought-created experience and that we’re “the thinker”, we’re free . . . free to choose.
To quote Sydney Banks, “We’re all just a thought away from a good feeling.” Our innate reservoir of wisdom and common sense is just waiting to be tapped. So what is really new is we need only one resolution . . . to live, more of the time, in a calm state of mind that will lead us to all those good feelings of compassion, creativity and gratitude. . . and of course wise choices.
Sounds to me like a good way to start the New Year. Will you join me?