Posted tagged ‘resistance and the serenity prayer’

Resolutions For Old/New Year

December 31, 2013


I had a sense that my new year’s resolutions were doomed when I looked down at the page on which I was starting to write them and saw I’d titled it “List for 2013.”

There’s a part of me that viewed that as one more sign of my decay, but then a good old defensive part kicked in.  Ah, I told myself–maybe a mini-review of what held me back in 2013 would be  a far more useful exercise than taking random stabs at that great but as yet unwedged pie in the sky of the upcoming year.

So what would I change in my personal 2013, if I had it to do over?

It came down surprising quickly to two words–”resistance” (as in having less)  and “quiet” (as in being more.)

Resistance is a shorthand for the concerns of the Serenity Prayer–you know, the one about having the courage to change what one can, the strength to accept what one can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference.

By resistance, I basically mean all those acts of non-acceptance and also all those non-acts of change that took up so much of my last year.  These are activities like moping, kvetching, carping, procrastinating–these may lead some people (eventually) to a burst of either reformation or resignation, but they are more likely, in my case, to lead to (i) a waste of time and energy that might otherwise be spent purposefully;  or (ii) a bungling of the contentment that might otherwise be attained.

Half the time I find myself complaining about circumstances to which I am actually fully committed, but which are–surprise surprise–just like me–imperfect.  (By “circumstances,” I also mean people.)

But my resistance typically only accentuates the imperfect–for example, I make my free time shorter by a henpecking focus on its shortness; I make the rocky parts of relationships rockier by grinding at them in a way that only sharpens them; I make all those chores and tasks and duties we all face more burdensome by stretching them out through procrastination (i.e. websurfing.)

So enough already.  Here’s the resolution–to stop adding to the inherent entropy of life–to let go, in other words, of some of the friction.

And the ‘being more quiet’ part–that speaks for itself.

Happy New Year to all of you!  I really do not know where this blog will go in 2014, but I am so grateful to you for your kindness and support for the last few years.