“Keep your hands open, and all the sands of the desert can pass through them.
Close them, and all you can feel is a bit of grit.” ~ Taisen Deshimaru
Look at us starting a brand-New Year! We’re full of anticipation; promising ourselves a fresh start. Well why not? There’s a blank page in front of us with 365 new possibilities. Let’s be bold and influence their outcome by making new and different choices.
Each day arrives with options. The truth is these options are always here, within our reach, every single day. We don’t need a new year to begin again, but January 1st is our annual reminder to take charge of our lives with renewed commitment and energy.
Change starts by looking for possibilities. Predicting negative outcomes can become a reflex, so instead of thinking about why something won’t work, remove the emotional, mental and physical blocks and make the way forward less cluttered. We are not aiming for success, we are focused on contentment.
Success is over rated. Manage expectations, imagine joy and find ways to connect yourself to it. Success is nothing more than a possibility you breathed into life on your own terms. On January 1st, we are gifted with 365 new ones.
The Stop-Doing List
What you stop doing is just as important as what you start doing. This list takes on a life of its own the more you empower yourself to say yes to no. It’s a tool for managing the most important gift we have—time.
If a habit, belief, task, or relationship brings you pain, uneasiness or unhappiness, it’s time to question it. Stop trying to fix it and instead stop doing it. A former manager once told me, “if it’s meant to be, it will re-invent itself in a more positive and productive way.” Amen.
We’re wired to be in control—of ourselves, others, our world. Possibilities open up when we let go of the need to fix everything. Yeah; that’s a hard one for me, too. Sometimes you have to let something that is broken stay broken. The world will still be here.
Stanford University Professor Rochelle Myers offers this advice:
“Have the discipline to discard what does not fit — to cut out what might have already cost days or even years of effort — that distinguishes the truly exceptional artist and marks the ideal piece of work, be it a symphony, a novel, a painting, a company or, most important of all, a life.”
Do it for the possibility—the possibility that one minor change can set the stage for major changes. Sometimes even the smallest shift in thinking creates a shift in the way we live. When we think differently, we act differently. When we act differently we invite the unexpected to be part of our everyday life.
The unknown is always uncomfortable, but remaining in a comfort zone that offers no possibility for transformation means every day is identical to the one before it. Life is not meant to be lived that way. Letting go of sameness is so very hard, but so incredibly freeing.
Baggage weighs us down. We all have it, and at times even embrace it. Old hurts, wrongs done to us, backhanded slaps from life, and (the big one) anger become so familiar we cling to them and allow them define us.
Amazing things happen when we decide to let baggage go. It is hard to do this one alone; it’s a journey you work through, one painful piece at a time, with compassionate understanding from friends and family. It’s painful, because in order to let things go you have to acknowledge them. Helen Keller said, “When you can tell your story and it doesn’t make you cry, you know you have healed.” May it be so.
Negative emotions (and people) become part of a garbage train we pull behind us and proudly show off. It has no value, it keeps getting heavier, and it stinks. Let that sh*t go.
A Perfectly Imperfect Life
Each new day offers limitless opportunity. Limits, where they exist, are more likely to live in our imagination. Keeping ourselves open means looking forward, without prejudging the future.
Expecting perfection sets us up for disappointment. An open mind, and most of all an open heart, enable us to believe in possibilities. Setting expectations that can never be met sabotage the joy in what we do accomplish. I have learned imperfect cookies taste just as good as the perfect ones in the picture.
We are imperfect humans, and our lives are messy. Striving for perfection is not just unrealistic, it’s silly. There are moments of ecstasy, glimpses of perfection, and times we swear life can’t be any better. In between, loved ones leave us, people disappoint us and Things.Do.Not.Go.As.Planned.
Emily Dickenson reminds us to dwell in possibilities. In 2019, be curious and brave enough to embrace the possibilities the New Year brings. Wishing you 365 days of imperfect and joyous results.