As we approach the last few days of the year we called 2013 many of us will look towards the future and project our hopes, wishes and dreams that we would like to accomplish in the coming year. You may already have a list of things in mind. Traditionally this takes shape as a list of items we use as a measuring stick to gauge if our year has been a success or not.
Most of the people I have talked to this past year have had some very challenging times. They have had to confront them regardless of their bank account, latest promotion, or if their kid got straight A’s. What do all those accomplishments get you when faced with these problems alone? Who was there when the times got tough? What qualities did you develop deep inside yourself that you never knew were there before?
That’s what you will remember. The kindness offered, or the time spent with someone who cared. The resilience and patience you discovered about yourself.
Perhaps this year we can make a different list. Instead of wanting a bigger house, lose 40 pounds, or acquire a whole new wardrobe, we can stop choosing to see Who We Are based on what we DO and what we Have. These are goals that have been handed down from the outside world and somehow always get replaced by another.
We can start this year making choices based on what makes us feel viable, loving, grounded, joyful, connected, at peace. Perhaps it’s not so sexy to the outside world to be devoid of a laundry list of ways to show the world how important or special we are, but who cares? Instead choose based on the goal of nurturing the specialness inside and around us.
Is it corny to start placing priority on New Years SOUL-utions?
I offer you this wonderful and insightful speech from Anna Quindlen (link: http://annaquindlen.net/) that brought tears to my eyes as it brought me back to what’s really important. After all, there are only so many pounds one can lose…
“There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree; there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your minds, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.
People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the test results and they’re not so good. So here is what I wanted to tell you today:
Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast?
Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a cheerio with her thumb and first finger. Get a life in which you are not alone.
Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Each time you look at your diploma, remember that you are still a student, still learning how to best treasure your connection to others. Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Kiss your Mom. Hug your Dad. Get a life in which you are generous. Look around at the azaleas in the suburban neighborhood where you grew up; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black, black sky on a cold night. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Once in a while take money you would have spent on beers and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.”
New Years SOUL-ution for 2014: Get a Real Life.
One that is Extraordinarily, Amazingly, Stupendously, and Deeply teeming with LIFE.
Are You Ready?
As you take each step I will be there reminding you of your Magnificence, and I will continue to do so, until you are able to see it in yourself. © Copyright. Jennifer Annenberg Productions. 2013. All Rights Reserved. This publication may not be reproduced under any circumstances without the written consent of Jennifer Annenberg.
Join the discussion and please connect by commenting below. Your journey helps others! Can’t wait to hear from you!