It’s that time of the year again…that time when you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and decide how you want your life to be in the new year. We call this a New Year’s resolution. Now I ask you, have your resolutions ever really worked?
We keep on rising to the challenge of resolutions and yet in the past, most of them have faded by the middle of January! The reason why they don’t work is in the definition of the word resolution: “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” Resolutions are all about doing because they are made by this mind that decides we need to be different to be okay. So, we make resolutions to change something, like losing 20 pounds, finding the perfect man, working harder to get a promotion, making more money, getting out of debt, and the list goes on and on. If you are completely honest with yourself, resolutions not only don’t work, but they actually increase the world of struggle. Just look at our war with weight in this country. Diet books, healthy eating plans, and detox cleanses are oftentimes at the top of the New York Times best seller list and yet it is so easy to see when you are out in public that human beings are becoming bigger and bigger and bigger.
I have an invitation for you, an invitation to enter this new year in a new way. Rather than figuring out what you want to stop doing, get rid of, or how to make your life better, what would it be like this year if you held the intention to say ‘yes’ to life? Eckhart Tolle’s famous quote speaks directly to this: “Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.” This is the opposite of how the mind perceives life. It says you have to try to control yourself and make your life be what you want it to be. But if you are honest, all of your fixing and changing is never quite enough. When you instead step out of the world of struggle and back into the creative flow of life (which includes a lot of things you don’t like), it is really true what Eckhart says, “…see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”
One of the most important steps in opening back into life is moving beyond the war we have been conditioned into and meeting ourselves exactly as we are, warts and all. We all live in a mind that is trying to make ourselves better or different than what we are. And when we live this way, we miss life for we are always trying to be somewhere else. The healing we deeply long for is to come back to life – to actually be present for our lives, which includes the easy times as well as the challenging times.
So what would it be like if, rather than deciding that you need to change something about yourself, you instead hold the intention to meet all of you with respect and acceptance? You are a unique creation of life. Life has never expressed itself before as you and never will again. You, like everyone else, are a mix of dark and light. And as you discover how to let go of this endless game of struggle that is always trying to make you into what you think you should be, you will find that everything you long for and who you truly are is right here, right now as you open back into Life.
Think about a part of yourself that has been locked out of your heart for a long time. It might be the shape of your body, your shyness, your judgment, your busyness. It could be your shame, loneliness, anger, despair, hopelessness, or not enoughness. Rather than resisting, numbing, or ignoring it, what would it be like to honor that part of you just by recognizing it and saying, “For just this moment, I choose to accept you as a part of me.” Now, the mind will say, “But if I accept it, it will never go away!” That is the illusion of the mind. For when a part of you is accepted, magic happens. You are not trying to fix or change anything, or resolving it to be different than it is, and you are not saying that anything is bad or wrong. You are simply opening your heart to a part of you that needs your love and attention.
As you begin this new year, ask yourself, “What is it inside of me that I would like to bring into my heart?” And if you don’t know, ask Life to show you, “Life, help me to see what it is that needs my heart this year.” What would happen if this is the way you begin 2016?