Manifestation of Living
Someone sent a comment (Thank you!) and asked why I had not written about New Year’s Resolutions. They asked if I made any…ever. Truth is I seldom make New Year’s Resolutions. I could say that I am a realist and, given the statistical probability of keeping them, I find the making of such a waste of time. I could laughingly claim to not need any, emphasis on laughingly because, trust me, I am far from perfect. Actually, I seldom even think about making New Year’s Resolutions because of what I expect out of life and how such resolutions are generally approached.
There is an expectation involved with making New Year’s Resolutions. There are, in fact, several expectations. First, that one needs to make them. Secondly, that by recognizing what one needs to change, based upon the expectation of needing to change, the problem is solved. Clearly that expectation is untrue since most resolutions are broken by the end of January. Mainly, though, I do not make resolutions because they emphasize a change in behavior based upon negativity.
I do not wake up each morning expecting trouble. I am one of those disgusting folks who wake up fully awake. I give thanks for the awakening and expect good things. I live a typical life so good things do not always follow me around like a pet. I encounter the same number of problems and irritating people and make probably more mistakes than the average person. Yet, at the end of each “Oops!” and “Whoops!” and “Hey; watch it!”, I am happy I am alive to have had the irritation. I move forward expecting something better.
On January 1st of each year, I do not think of everything I did not do correctly the preceding year. Instead, I think of my hopes and I expect to give life my all, my best. I understand the concept of resolutions; I just hope I make them each new hour, after each aggravating minute, after each encounter with someone else being just as human as I am. Maybe I am just too imperfect to only make them once a year.
New Year’s Resolutions tend not to be our expectations of what we plan to do, in spite of how the name might imply that. They end up being a litany of things we perceive we did wrong in the past. Examples: Because I did not exercise and walk every day, I will resolve to do so in the coming year. Because I do not weigh whatever it is that society seems to think I should, I will resolve to lose weight, regardless of whether or not I am healthy. See what I mean? I try not to anticipate the negative.
I don’t believe in negative expectations. The etymology of the word is probably the reason I don’t. Rather than implying a future anticipated action, the history of the word “expect” actually denotes deferred action. So instead of a new resolution based upon expectations, it should create a waiting game of sorts. The word comes from the Latin “exspectare” which literally meant “to look out for”. However, as an English word of the sixteenth century, “expect” came to mean deferred action or to wait. It seems really silly to me to wait for something bad to happen. I mean, really who wants that?
I am a great planner, though. Are my plans a type of New Year’s Resolution? They most likely are but in a different format. My plans for the upcoming year are more universal and less about my own personal being. Rather than list things that will help only me, I prefer to plan how I can be of greater use to my community and world.
So while I may not have listed a specific group of “New Year’s Resolutions”, I maintain that I have given you some things to ponder doing in the New Year. These past twelve days of Christmas, in a series I titled “12 Days of Kindness”, I gave you an acrostic. If resolutions are to be those things that will improve us, then these twelve words explain how I hope to live in the coming months.
I hope we will all be generous, respectful in acknowledging and forgiving as we imagine a better world. I pray we will be accepting of others and ourselves, admitting our need for each other and being daring enough to follow through on that need. I hope we share laughter with each step, are open to potential, brave enough to change when necessary and approach each minute with positive expectations, waiting for the goodness that life has to offer us.
Today is the first day of Epiphany and a new series. I hope this year you receive grace and love. To me that is the true definition of living kindness. I also hope you share grace and love. That is the message of Epiphany, the manifestation of what life is truly all about. Our series for Epiphany will be about the manifesto of mankind and those who live it. I hope you join me on this journey and conversation.