Mantras For The New Year

I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to think about what my word for this year would be.

People like me who don’t make resolutions sometimes pick a word or a theme to guide them through the year as a kind of north star.

 I was having trouble this year. I shuffled through my Feeling and Needs cards, but nothing resonated. 

Then I noticed a Thich Nat Hahn book on my side table: This Moment Is Full of Wonders.

I flipped through it and found some juicy contenders:

Listen

Mindful

Let go

Be Free Where You Are

Go As A River

Are you sure?

Now Is The Time

This Moment Is Full of Wonders 

No Mud No Lotus

This Is It

 No Mud No Lotus made me smile. Yes, I thought, this is perfect for times when I struggle; for times when I want to jump ship, and abandon the project.

Mud stands for hard work, darkness, not knowing, not being sure. Mud is lack of clarity. 

Clear as mud.

Lotus is the flower, the fruit, the result of the hard work, the deep introspection.

No mud no lotus.

So I decided this would be my mantra for 2019.

But it seemed a little dark, a little hair-shirty.

I needed something for the times when I wasn’t in deep struggle.

This Moment Is Full of Wonders.

I liked that. I liked that a lot. 

I like the word wonder

Wonder is an attitude of amazement. It is also a attitude of questioning, of not knowing. And that’s a space I’d like to learn how live in more comfortably, for sure. 

If it became my mantra it could remind me to look for those wonders in every moment. 

I could use it on the yoga mat, This moment is full of wonders, as I’m breathing in a posture. 

This moment is full of wonders as I’m filling the dishwasher. 

This moment is full of wonders as I fold the laundry. 

This moment is full of wonders as I walk Stella through the town and countryside. 

Today I road tested it  as I sat in the periodontist’s chair: This moment is full of wonders: the light glinting off the adjustable lamp, the sand-colored paint on the walls, the sound of the sonic tooth blaster thing, the dentist office’s version of Bohemian Rhapsody playing softly on the radio. 

This moment is full of wonders.

If I were forced to pick just one word for this year though, it would have to be Wonder. 

Wonder in the sense of amazement, like in the Mary Oliver poem where she wants to be “a bride married to amazement.” 

But also Wonder in the sense of curiosity and not-knowing.

So for 2019, it’s 2 mantras and Wonder. I think I’m off to a good start.

Happy New Year.

13 Things You Should Get Rid of in 2012

I have started thinking about New Year’s Resolutions lately. Not that I am going to make any, but I am thinking about things that I would like to do, or see happen in the coming 12 months. Mostly I think of adding things to my life when I think of changing it, but sometimes it’s more interesting to think about getting rid of things.

I think I have managed to get rid of most of the following 13 things from my life for the most part, but it’s always good to be reminded of what does not serve. I really think that that these things Have. Got. To. Go.

1. The extra 13 pounds you gained during the holidays (and before). Fewer cookies, more cardio.

2. Grouchy people.  Get rid of them. If you are married to them or they are your children or your relatives you are going to have a hard time with this one.  One thing I do with grouchy, negative people is laugh at them.  Yeah.  A grump pretty much hates not being taken seriously and will avoid you or move out of your vicinity if you make light of their situation.

3.  Get rid of dirt, grime, filth.  Clean your space. Throw stuff out. Get a dumpster if that’s what it will take. Do this. It’s important to your mental health.

4. Get rid of your fear of hard work, fear of success, fear of failure, and of all the other scary (non-existent) monsters under the bed. Stop procrastinating.

5. Get rid of the idea that you are going to live forever, or that you are probably going to die at a very old age and that you still have a lot of time left to get your act together.  You don’t.  The days are long, but the years are short.  Make things happen.  Now.  Don’t defer doing what you always wanted to do.

6. Get rid of the idea that only big things count.  Everything counts, and just like Mother Teresa said, we can’t do great things, only small things with great love.  Get rid of the idea that there are “small things that don’t count.”  The smallest little act of kindness or consideration counts.

7. Get rid of the need to be thanked or appreciated for anything.  People don’t write thank-you notes any more.  (When was the last time you wrote one?) So don’t work for the nod. Do your job, or whatever you do, because you want to do it and derive pleasure from just doing it.  Nobody is going to give you a trophy just because you played, or tried your best.  Life isn’t Little League.  Stop expecting praise.

8. Get rid of laziness.  Start by never admitting that you feel lazy even when you do.  Never say the word lazy.  Banish it from your vocabulary.  Don’t call anyone else lazy either.  Lazy does not exist anymore.  Get rid of the whole idea of it.

9. Get rid of bored, too.  Once you’re past age 3, there is no excuse for bored. Once you realize that you are going to die some day, there is no more “bored.” Never be bored.  Bored is just a form of lazy and we kicked that one to the curb in number 8.

10. Get rid of all your slovenly health habits.  Really people, floss.  I’m serious about this. Brushing your teeth doesn’t count.  Brushing your teeth doesn’t do a damn thing except make your mouth feel pretty.  There’s still garbage dumps worth of crap between each tooth.  Floss.

11. Get rid of other bad habits, too. Like eating on the run, or in front of the TV or computer.  Eat as much as you want, just don’t do anything else while you’re doing it and then just watch as those 13 pounds we talked about in number 1 disappear.

12. Get rid of anger.  Stop getting angry. It doesn’t help you or the person you’re angry with.  Ever.  Instead, develop your non-violent communication skills. There is a book that will help with this.  Get it, and start learning how to think in terms of identifying your needs and trying to get them met with the help of others.  And if you can’t?  Give up on them.  Seriously.  Take my word for this.

13. Get rid of complaining.  Complaining makes you a living breathing crap magnet.  Don’t complain anymore and walk away (actually, run) from chronic complainers.  If they don’t have an audience they’ll stop.  They really will. You can even try making a game of this. This book tells you how.

And finally (this one is just for me), Get rid of your need to hand out unsolicited advice or  tell people what they should get rid of on your blog.

It’s annoying.