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Happy ‘Do’ Year

January 10, 2014

Resolution. The word of the new year, the word of now. We are resolving to start anew, set a goal — lose those pounds, finish that project, clear out the clutter. There are so many resolutions.

But what of this word “resolution”? What does it mean? One definition is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” It’s a word of doing, not one of thinking, or musing, or considering. As Diana Nyad, the 64-year-old who finally succeeded on her fifth try to swim from Cuba to Florida, said in her recent TED talk (quoting Socrates): “To be is to do.”

“Resolution” also brings to my mind, at least, the idea of re-solution. Re-solving. The idea of “again.”  Maybe we start an entirely new project, but more than likely we find ourselves staring discontentedly at a familiar picture. Often our impulse is to throw it out and start over completely, but more than likely all we really need to do is add a smidge of color here, take away a shadow there, paint over a few drips. A tweaking.

I know I do this in my own life — I often think I need to wipe the slate clean, approach life with a “whole new attitude,” go for the sea change. I think, I should cook family meals every single night! I should write for an hour every single day! I should take up piano lessons again! Naturally, that’s a setup for failure. Not to mention it just makes me want to go watch “Modern Family.” Besides, what if we actually did achieve these things? Would that really bring us ultimate happiness — or whatever it is we think we’re looking for?

What I’m starting to realize, unexciting as it may be, is that I just need to do things a little differently. Shift slightly. Decide to turn on the oven a couple of times a week. Sit down at the piano instead of walking past it. Bother to craft a good email. Baby steps.

Our resolutions relate to issues we face again and again. And there’s nothing wrong with resolving to “solve” them again and again. That’s really what life is about. Usually, we don’t have a bunch of new problems. We have old ones that are still there. And most of the time, there’s no solution. Instead, it’s a daily struggle. That’s why in disciplines like yoga, or music, or writing — in just about everything — the word “practice” is used. We practice at life. And we do it every day, every hour, every minute. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make better.

As the author Eckert Tolle suggests, “Die to the past every moment.”  No matter what has happened in the past, all we truly have is the present. All we have is Now. Every moment presents a chance to “do” and “do” again. All year long, all life long

The keys await… (Maybe if they were cleaner I'd be more likely to play them.)

The keys await… (Maybe if they were cleaner I’d be more likely to play them!)

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