So, this brings us to 2012. And while I kind of hate new year's resolutions, I can't argue with the hope and optimism of believing in fresh starts. The truth is that fresh starts are available to us at any time. But somehow, the new year helps many of us see that truth. It jolts us out of our rut and, with its clean new calendars, makes us believe we can break old habits and be happier and healthier than we were before. Maybe it's just the relief of having Christmas behind us, and at least 11 months before we have to do it all again. But it's something.
So, in that spirit, here are my "aspirations" for 2012. (I call them aspirations because they are things that I hope to devote time to this year, because I think they would make me happier, but they are not things that I'm going to whip myself into doing. I do these things in the spirit of lovingkindness toward myself and others, not in the spirit of thinking that I need to fix some terrible flaw in myself.)
- Find a community of fellow meditators to help strengthen my practice.
- Write more, here or elsewhere.
- Listen to music, and discover new music that I love.
- Clear the clutter from my home. (This is a whole post in itself.)
These are all positive aspirations, things I want to do, rather than things I feel I should do or want to stop doing. But to find time for these things, I think I am going to have to try to kick one bad habit. I need to stop wasting gobs of time on the computer. So, I'm going to lay out a few ground rules about computer use that I hope and pray I will be able to work toward this year.
- Institute a digital sabbath every Sunday. No using the computer except for practical things like looking up a recipe or a phone number. I am allowed to use it for writing at any time, as long as I don't use that as a gateway into checking Facebook and Bloglines. No email except in special cases.
- On other days, check email no more than twice outside of working hours. Preferably once.
- Check blogs only once per day.
- And this is going to be a hard one, check Facebook only once per day.
Those things are going to be really hard for me. But I hope that list of positive things I want to do with that time will make it more doable. It's not a punishment. It's creating a clearing for things that will be more rewarding and fun than the time I now spend checking random websites a dozen times a day.
Lastly, I did the Mondo Beyondo exercise this year, but it didn't really resonate with me. However, it asks you to come up with a sort of theme for your year, which can be described in a word or short phrase. The thing that popped into my head and seemed to stick was "This is my year of choosing love over fear." One of my meditation teachers once told me that there are only two motivators in the universe, love or fear, and every decision is made out of one or the other. When we choose to treat others badly, or work in a job we hate, or not give to charity, we are choosing out of fear. As I think I have documented here, fear is a huge presence in my life. It's with me every day, but I don't want to let it rule me. This year, I'd like to put every decision I make to the test. Am I doing this out of love or fear? I have no idea how this will go, or if I will even remember to do it most of the time, but it's a worthy aspiration.
Those are my hopes for 2012. Is this too much? Maybe. I should probably have only one aspiration, rather than a three-part, bullet-pointed list. But I just can't help wanting it all. And if all that comes out of it is this feeling of hope and optimism, right here right now, then at least that is something.