Resolve or Aspire in 2012

Each year, we contrive a point in time at which we customarily give ourselves permission to start over.  Of course, the tradition is to make New Year’s Resolutions. But resolutions are so breakable.  They are an instant set-up for paving the road to hell.  We even laugh about New Year’s Resolutions not lasting past New Year’s Day or, at best, the few days following.  But secretly, with each resolution made, and then broken, we assume a fresh load of guilt and shame for an instant double failure.  Not only did we fail to do the thing we were supposed to do, but we failed to keep our promise to do it. The more resolutions, the more double failures.  Resolutions are about doing—or not.  And what’s worse, once we don’t do what we said we’d do, we dump the resolution entirely.  Holy cats!  Now it’s a triple failure!  Call it cowardice, laziness, or lack of discipline.  I just don’t want to travel under that downer cloud all year.
So this year, new point of view: my list is one of Aspirations—how I want to be, rather than what I plan to do.  It isn’t really about starting over at all.  It is about reaffirming that I want to be a person of mindfulness, compassion and loving-kindness.  It includes acknowledgment of how often my actions don’t measure up to my aspirations, but takes gentle comfort in the fact that, unlike resolutions, aspirations don’t crash and burn at every chink in perfection’s armor (let alone the first one that surfaces after midnight, December 31).  The ways I want to be will always still be there, regardless of how often I stumble, and the fact of the stumble doesn’t make the aspirations any less real or valid. Hey, look—no cloud!

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