Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Resolutions, or Devotions?

As the very first breath of 2011 approaches, I am reveling in a year filled with grace, growth and grand adventure. I have a queue of at least ten blogs waiting to be written. However, I am finding that this gift of a month with my family, living with FOUR generations under one roof, is joyfully consuming all of my time and energy (whew - my nephew is three years old, need I say more?). What I am trying to say is that my desire to be as present as possible to this experience has unexpectedly moved my writing to the proverbial back burner.

And yet, here I am, at a local coffeeshop, my family back home preparing for our evening of year-end festivities. The truth is, I cannot NOT write right now. All this annual talk of resolutions reminds me of the Soul-driven purpose of this blog.

We are in the danger zone. This is the time of year where self-image attempts to divert much of our attention. Many of us vow to lose weight, gain muscle, accelerate speed, increase activity, decrease caloric intake, achieve goals, make more money, buy more stuff, get rid of stuff, and, in essence, FIX ourselves in some manner.

This is not to say that any of the goals we set are wrong or solely self-centered. And I am not outside of this collective annual renewal of goals to "be a better person." My list of New Years resolutions include: Train to get back into running; drop a lot of weight; eat better; be in better touch with loved ones; launch my wedding biz more actively; start climbing again; do more yoga; dance more; sing more. And the list does not stop there.

But here today, after months of looking at my life and my beliefs about my self-image and self-worth in a new light, this list leaves me wanting. I want a
new way of thinking about the freshness of a new year, the clean slate we are handed at the turn of the calendar. So I do what I love to do, I get to digging deeper into the meaning of words. Today's object of my affection: resolution.

According to my dear friend,
Oxford American Dictionary, "resolution" has many definitions, among them:
1. a firm decision to do or not to do something; the quality of being determined or resolute
2. the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter

This dictionary also lists resolution as one of the many facets of
courage, but explains,
"Resolution also implies firmness of mind rather than fearlessness, but the emphasis is on the determination to achieve a goal in spite of opposition or interference." The word
resolution comes from the Latin root resolvere which means to "loosen, release", and is also the root of the word resolve. Now, I love this idea of loosening the hold of some belief, pattern or habit that we no longer wish to carry around. I also like the notion of releasing something we no longer desire to have as part of our experience. So I can go with this line of reasoning when referring to making New Years resolutions.

But this restlessness I feel inside shows me I am less than satisfied. So I still my thoughts and dive deep inside. What more can I see here? Often, finding a new word that feels truer to where I am in my growth helps. And then it comes,

Again, Mr. Dictionary comes to my rescue defining
devotion as:
1. love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause

I dig a little more, always working down to the root.
Devotion is synonymous with consecration, both from the same Latin root which means "dedicated, devoted as sacred." A warmth spreads in my chest, and I know I've hit it dead-on.

Here is my new approach to a fresh start. Tomorrow, I am going to sit with my heart and listen to what desires bubble up from the pool of knowing I hold inside. And from this place, I will make my New Years DEVOTIONS. From this place, I will choose activities and commitments that honor the sacred quality of my life, and set forth in practice thereof.

Will you join me? What New Years devotions are you willing to honor in 2011? How will you show up to your ever-unfolding journey in a new and more supportive way? How will you love yourself and others even more this year?

I leave you with a quote I heard from Maya Angelou this afternoon (quoted in Oprah's Master's Series preview on the Oprah Winfrey Network website): "Love liberates. It doesn't just hold. That's ego. Love liberates."

Happy New Year to one and all. Here's to a fresh start. May you choose resolutions that are devotional in nature, honoring how sacred every one of us is. May you choose Love and make room for it to set you free. MAY YOU CHOOSE LOVE.


  1. Hey there, dear friend. I think your comments here are spot on. I, too, have been looking for a word for the year, as opposed to a resolution of the typical type, and it's helpful to approach it from the standpoint of devotion. As you know, I too love digging into the roots of words--thanks for doing the work on that one! Along the same lines, here's a link:

    Lots of Love to you and your sweet, growing family!

  2. Thanks Gwenji! I LOVE Christine Kane and used to follow her blog but have fallen off that wagon. So it'll be fun to hop back on in this way. Sending you and YOUR precious family love. I miss yous guys. Thanks for reading! Loads of love

  3. Happy New Year darling. You've been in my thoughts often recently. I love your post and realized that I subconsciously threw the whole idea of New Year's resolutions out the window for 2011. My goals are many, devotional in nature, but if you boil them down, the root is acceptance. I vowed to do my best to accept each moment for what it is, each person for who they are and the universe for all it's beauty and mystery. I love you!