For many of us, the time to set goals for the coming year is approaching. I tend to set my goals near the solstice. Something about the earth shifting the northern hemisphere back toward the sun jazzes me, whether I actually feel the shift or not. I have some of the usual goals for 2015: writing goals, which altered dramatically this year, allowing me to focus on a manuscript I’d thought was finished; workout goals, which died a horrible death in 2014. (Hello elliptical machine! Did you miss me?) But a new group of my goals for the next twelve months will orbit around letting go.
My mother-in-law called my husband several times over the past couple of weeks to wrangle gift wish-lists from us. I have mixed feelings about end-of-year gift giving. It is fun, but most people seem to end up with things they don’t wholly want or need. It makes me think of a book a friend recently suggested, structured around clearing out possessions, keeping only things that bring joy.
This idea intrigues me. While I periodically deep-clean my house, de-cluttering, packing up boxes to donate to ARC, I’ve never approached this ritual with such a specific criterion. The idea set down in the book is a familiar one: by clearing away objects that do not bring you joy, you’re not only happy-fying your home, you are making room for more joy and inviting more positivity and success in your life. A recent fortune cookie reminded me of a fine definition for luck: being prepared for success when it comes.
And not only objects are calling out for a clearing away in my life. Attitudes and habits bear examination. I recently allowed myself to be drawn into a couple of disputes on Facebook that wasted my time and energy and even hurt people. I have not been meditating or journaling enough, and I think it shows.
It will soon be a new year. I have a new datebook. I’m completing a huge writing project and have a new notebook, preparing to work on the next manuscript. Along with these, I will strive for a new viewpoint, a new approach, a new stance. A recent episode of Masterpiece Mystery had Sergeant Hathaway recognizing a marble bust of Euripides, who said, “Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.” They’re wise words, and words to ponder. Another wise person once wrote, “Babies, you’ve got to be kind.” I sometimes forget how true these words are.
So these are some of my new goals: to be kinder and listen more than I speak. I will stray from them, certainly. When I do, I hope to find my way back to them without damaging anyone.
Happy holidays, if you celebrate them. Happy solstice. I wish you all a new year filled with love and joy.