After their mumbles of goodbye, I turned on the radio, only to hear some trio of local celebrities ranting about how crowded their gyms are during this first week of “New Year’s Resolutions.” And they all agreed . . . if it’s like all other years, there will be no crowd problem by the beginning of February, as most newbies can’t get through the first month.
Too often, for many of us, surely this tradition of making New Year’s resolutions is as much a joke as it is an actual life-changing action.
How about you? What have you found especially helpful in the areas of your life where you would like to make deep change? (And what is looking like an all-too-familiar joke?)
The Place to Start is with Grace and the Heart
It seems that resolutions tend to be primarily decisions (or at least good intentions) to use our willpower and planning to take action and make changes. If we bring prayer into the equation, sometimes it is like asking God to give us the willpower (or at least let the odds be in our favor) to do what we think needs to be done.
What if we opened our perspective to one of a prayerful heart? What if, as Richard Rohr suggests, “Prayer is not primarily saying words or thinking thoughts. It is, rather, a stance. It’s a way of living in the Presence, living in awareness of the Presence, and even enjoying the Presence.” What if spiritual disciplines are about “intimate relationship with things rather than achieving results or meeting requirements”?
What if we became more aware of our deeper motivations all along the way throughout each day . . . and with that, are better able to partner with God’s will? If you feel compelled to make resolutions, try adding one more: Pay attention . . . and remember who you are, whose you are, and who you are called to be . . .
Let me know if you have any new revelations . . .
Happy New Year and Blessed Epiphanies.
“HEAVEN” AND “HELL”
Here are some other insightful reflections by Franciscan Father Richard Rohr:
“Any discovery or recovery of our divine union has been called ‘heaven’ by most traditions. Its loss has been called ‘hell.’ The tragic result of our amnesia is that we cannot imagine that these terms are first of all referring to present experiences. When you do not know who you are, you push all enlightenment off into a possible future reward and punishment system, within which hardly anyone wins. Only the True Self knows that heaven is now and that its loss is hell — now. The False Self makes religion into the old ‘evacuation plan for the next world,’ as my friend Brian McLaren puts it. Amnesia has dire consequences. No wonder the Jews say ‘remember’ so much.”
“A person who has found his or her True Self has learned how to live in the big picture, as a part of deep time and all of history. This change of frame and venue is called living in ‘the kingdom of God’ by Jesus, and it is indeed a major about-face (traditionally referred to as repentance and conversion.) This necessitates, of course, that we let go of our own smaller kingdoms, which we normally do not care to do.”
And here are some further thoughts on “Resolutions” and “Revelations” by Kristi Nelson that I found on the wonderful website Gratefulness.org: