ID-100109910_David Castillo Dominici

What Happened To My New Year’s Resolutions?

January 7th, 2014

It’s a week into the new year and I already feel behind and stressed out. So what happened to my New Year’s resolution? This was going to be the year that I slowed down my entire life. I go to my resolution list on my refrigerator. The list reads: 

This year I will change my life…

  1. THE ONLY THING I HAVE CONTROL OVER IS MEI can control only my inner life. I will try to get control of my inner thoughts and perceive a tough situation in a positive, controlled manner.
  1. SIT DOWN. BREATHE. BREATHE AGAIN. AND AGAIN. BREATHE OUT—GET RIDE OF THAT STRESS. These are not perfunctory breaths—these are slow, conscious, measured breaths to get control of myself. Get control of the situation. Slow down time. Slow down. Slow.
  1. PUT OFF EVERYTHING UNTIL TOMORROW. What is really, really important here? Blow off everything, except for meals and illness and injury. The ultimate question: Will this be important five years from now?
  1. EVERYTHING IMPORTANT TAKES TIME, LOTS OF TIME. In our electronic age, real life has sped up in a surreal way. Dinner takes three minutes in the microwave, but the family itself needs time to cook over a leisurely meal of sharing good and bad days. Letters can be delivered in twenty seconds by FAX or email, but connecting and communicating with people requires patience and much time. News cameras show us events as they happen, but processing the impact of the news takes time.
  1. LOWER MY EXPECTATIONS. I know that I am doing the best I can. What if I bring more compassion to my life and expect less of myself? I feel instantly relaxed. What if I extend this to others and truly embrace the fact that WE—ALL THE IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN MY LIFE—ARE ALL DOING THE BEST WE CAN. Compassion replaces expectations. Compassion replaces stress. I can relax.
  1. ALLOW MYSELF FUN. My life is different if there is a good book in the background. I’ll keep it in my purse for waiting times, I’ll read for fifteen minutes before bed, I’ll read while waiting for a pot of water to boil on the stove. Allowing myself this small joy and feeling that I deserve this gift provides a wonderful oasis of pleasure in my other-centered life.
  1. THE AIRPLANE SOLUTION, OR NURTURE MYSELF FIRST. On an airplane, during the emergency instructions at the beginning of the trip, the flight attendant talks about parents putting oxygen masks on themselves first and then putting the masks up to their children’s faces. I’ve always been glad for that reminder. As a mother, I think to care for my children first. The airplane lesson: only when we have nurtured ourselves first can we provide sustenance to our children.
  1. PRETEND TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY. I love my birthday. As a carry-over from when I was a little girl, I feel so special, happy, slowed down, deserving, appreciative, and appreciated on my birthday. My birthday is a day to savor and revel in, with bumps and halts seen as minor distractions. When I pretend that today is my birthday, my whole perspective on the day changes and becomes relaxed and special.

I sigh. Reading the list has helped me some. Just taking the time to slow down and read the list has helped. I do feel more peaceful inside. Cleaning up soggy Rice Krispies can even be a calming, zen-like experience. Almost.

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