Here Be Monsters
… And after a season long slumber the blog reawakens, shaking off the greed and loathing of Christmas while remembering that the world is still at least half good.
Like most reasonable people I detest the whole ‘new year, new me’ resolution bullshit. None the less the darkness of Solstice combined with an acknowledgement of another cycle completed does seem like it lends itself to a certain amount of introspection. Given all that I thought I’d share one of my personal practices. I learned this technique from Wendy Palmer. (I learned a lot of techniques from Wendy. I’m eternally grateful for having trained with her.) When I was first exposed to it I flat out couldn’t do it. It just seemed too daunting. Now I’ve been doing it for more than a decade and can’t imagine practice without it. Funny how that works. Here’s how it works:
On or about New Year’s day you choose one, and only one, quality that you’d like more of in your life. It can be most anything but choose wisely as it might wreak havoc. Anyway, that quality becomes the focus of everything you do every day for that year. It informs every decision and all your practices and meditations. In short it becomes your obsession, the lens through which you see the world. It takes a fair bit of dedication but you can do it.
One of my early choices was gratitude. A good choice for a lot of people since it makes you a lot less bitchy. It doesn’t have to be a spiritual type choice though. One year my theme was ‘lethal’. How did I make all my practices more deadly? Some other qualities I’ve studied have been ‘still’, ‘confident’, ‘fun’, ‘useful’, ‘calm’,‘organized’, etc. I do want to warn you that sometimes the results are unpredictable. The year that I chose ‘boundaries’ I lost a lot of friends.
In 2016 I chose the quality ‘non-judgmental’. It was so challenging and all encompassing that in 2017 I kept it for a second year. Among the gifts it brought was an interesting amount of clarity about who people really are. By detaching my thoughts from other people’s actions I got to see them in a different light. Some people have interpreted this to mean acceptance. Others think it means agreement. They’re wrong, but so it goes. It also got me out of politics but that’s another story.
So now it’s time to choose a new quality. I have, and I’m not going to share it. It’s not really any of your damn business. I don’t tell anyone, not even my wife or closest friends. I will tell you that, while challenging, this is a damn good practice. Give it some thought. Have a Joyous New Year as well as Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios, and Viva la Revolucion!