I laughed as I read my Enneathought yesterday morning: “On New Year’s Day, you might be tempted to impose a long list of harsh new rules on yourself. Instead, be gentle with yourself.”
The whole last week I had been thinking about things I could do to be healthier, more disciplined, more efficient.
*no cell phones at the dinner table
*eat at the dinner table (as opposed to the couch)
*no more binge watching Netflix
*join the gym (again) and try swimming as exercise
*do more art! paint! knit! play piano!
*don’t let the dishes pile up
For every family Christmas photo on my facebook feed there were three articles suggesting which new year’s resolutions to choose, genius hacks to cleaning and decluttering, and all the best ways to lose weight. (tell me, what DO organized skinny people do with all their free time?)
“…instead, be gentle with yourself.”
This year has been harsh for many people and in many ways…but I was reminded a few days ago in a Google-commercial/movie clip that 2016 was also a fabulous year. Many wonderful things happened. (I was ordained. My congregation formed the Burke Augustine Literacy Project. Jonathan and I celebrated 12 years of being together. We reconnected with some of our best friends from when we lived in NC before Chicago. Just to name a few things.)
My facebook feed has been full of negativity and critics but every time I read my local newspaper there’s a story of someone doing good. There is so much good happening in the world…what if we highlighted that instead of focusing so much on the things that don’t go our way?
Note: This is not an attempt to downplay the harsh reality of oppression and injustice that plagues our world; rather, a proposal that we put our energies toward doing good, creating a better world – instead of wasting away in a downward spiral of criticism and intolerance.
I’ve come across several articles lately about how complaining actually rewires our brain to make us more likely to complain in the future. “Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Complaining becomes your default behavior…”
I fall into this trap more than I want to admit.
It’s so easy to get stuck in our ways of doing things that we get frustrated when things don’t go our way or aren’t done like we think they should be.
So for that (and other reasons), a month ago today I got my first tattoo. A visible reminder to celebrate beauty, to be open to the possibilities that each breath brings, and to allow the Spirit to transform me. It is a reminder to stay in tune with the divine image of God inside of me and in all of creation and to let my spirit fly….
“…be gentle with yourself.”
I planned on writing this blog yesterday, but we had friends visiting. Being gentle with myself yesterday meant enjoying time with friends and waiting until today to write. Being gentle with myself today meant lounging on the couch this morning with my coffee instead of rushing into the day’s to-do list. Who knows what it will mean tomorrow.
What does being gentle with yourself mean to you? How can you celebrate beauty and create good in the world? What do you need to let go of in order to allow the Spirit to transform you?