We are Awesome & Other Thoughts for the New Year

The New Year is here. It’s time to take a few deep breaths, square our shoulders and get it on. I’m feeling stupidly optimistic about the year ahead. Here are ten thoughts going in:  painting-of-hospital

  1. Weird is better than humorless. Experts agree. So, if you feel that special inclination, go for it. You’re not getting any younger.
  2. There’s a lot of discord out there. Our fellow human beings sometimes make a mess of things; in the best case, they disappoint us and in the worse, they horrify us. But I still believe that the greater herd is more powerful and enlightened than the individual errant misfits. Our positive energy can and will trump the bad. And we have amazing tools at our disposal: kindness, humor, intelligence, courage and generosity. What do you say we kick these into high gear in the coming year?
  3. The other day when I was taking a stroll through the park, I noticed a small group of little girls, all of whom were wearing flapper attire. They were either rocking some 20’s themed birthday party or had successfully raided a super awesome dress-up trunk. Who knows? But the point is that we are a collection of interesting little stories. The strangers we meet along the way have their own burdens, triumphs and mysteries. As such, maybe it behooves us to approach the New Year with more curiosity (and less judgment).
  4. I did not do 2014 perfectly. None of us did. But our failures don’t void our magic. If anything, our fuck-ups help us cultivate grit and resolve. We’re imperfect warriors. We falter, yet we still kick ass.
  5. A few small tweaks aside–more triceps dips and better sleep habits–I don’t have a big game plan for 2015. I’m thinking more in terms of themes than resolutions. My primary theme for the year ahead is freedom: freedom from any situation or person that constricts or limits me in anyway; freedom from doing things out of dreary obligation, as opposed to clean inspiration; freedom from fear, stress and worry; freedom from any negative thoughts or worn-out belief systems that stand between me and my highest potential. With freedom as my basic foundation, I am better able to honor other driving themes such as kindness and generosity. What is your theme?
  6. Cracking yourself up not only good exercise – a dandy belly workout– but a spiritual art of the highest order. It’s extremely good for you and I can’t recommend it enough. For some people, this might not come easily. But practice makes perfect and you’ll have a lot of fun honing this particular skill. If you need a prompt to get you going, Google “Jim Harbaugh’s pants.” If this doesn’t work for you, feel free to message me for more suggestions.
  7. With my kids grown and, mostly, gone, I sometimes feel like a lone wolf in this world, roaming aimlessly along without a pack. It’s a gloomy space that’s been weighing heavily of late. But on a recent afternoon, again on a walk through my neighborhood, life threw a funny distraction my way. It was a breezy day and with one quick and particularly strong burst of wind, a fence by a vacant lot fell over onto the sidewalk. A young couple going by also happened to see this. The three of us cheerfully worked together to prop up the fence, to get it off the sidewalk and to secure it to whatever extent we could. The whole encounter lasted all of ten minutes or so, but it was spirited and sweet. The world is teeming with opportunities for connection. We are never alone. Ever.
  8. In our ongoing search for meaning, conventional wisdom always suggests turning inward. But introspection, for me anyway, so often just leads to more questions and deeper tumbles down the rabbit hole of uncertainty. Maybe for 2015, a more outward view is in order. Perhaps the quest for meaning starts with our interactions with others and the spark of shared humanity therein– the mirror theory.
  9. It doesn’t matter that we sometimes feel incredibly small. We are inherently significant. Every weave in this glorious plan matters. Every stitch vibrates with possibility. The tiniest thread can be the one critical lifeline. Look upward. Take heart.
  10. We may not be able to save the world in just one year. But we have the capability to generate more goodness and influence the shift. We can look up from our gadgets now and then (or put them away completely for a minute). We can be friendlier and make eye contact with our brothers and sisters. We can engage in real time – face-to-face, heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul. We are sentient beings filled with light, wonder and moxie. Our capacity for impact, joy and love is infinite. We are all in this together and that is our resounding mantra. Collectively, we can seize the year ahead and define the course of the narrative. And it can start with the smallest of gestures. We are amazing that way. We are awesome.

“We don’t set out to change the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.”

                                                 – Pema Chödron

Window washers at children's hospital.

Window washers at children’s hospital.