So honestly, how is it going? It is one month into 2017 and if you are like most of us you had some new intentions, maybe even resolutions, for the New Year. Minimally an energetic wish to have a good year, to be healthy, to feel happy. May it be so !
You have probably already figured out that wishing it so is usually not enough. You have to direct yourself so that your actions align with your intentions, and it does really help to have these guide posts of intentions. Because then...the weather got in the way,brrr so cold. The political firestorms likely pulled you away, brrr so awful. Or some extra drama in your life provided just enough distraction that ...wow I forgot to do this and I really, really wanted it.
Which brings us to kindness, an attitude of self kindness. I have noticed that so many people are hard on themselves, self critical, and sometimes their worse enemy, a saboteur to the things they hold near and dear in their heart. It must be a cultural thing because it is so prevalent. And knowing this, bringing awareness to this tendency, we can purposely try to cultivate the opposite. A warm hearted wish of love and support for all that you do and all that you are. Basic kindness to balance out the self loathing for all that we are not.
Kindness is a foundation of Buddhism and I have given it a lot of thought. How to be mindfully kind to ourselves and others? Even when the temptation, the habit is to be other than that. And do not under estimate the power of habits; the ones we learn, the ones we are born with, the ones we nourish as they sneak up on us again and again. It helps to remember that we want to change this habit, that we want to take that first risky step into not so well known territory. Yet how to remember? Buddhists meditate each day, umm - almost each day, to remember what is most important to them, how to be kind out in the rough and tumble world.
Other Ways to Remember - At Last!
• Pin up a photo, an image that is a metaphorical reminder
• Change your screenshot on your phone
• Carry something in your pocket, something around your neck, your wrist
• Leave a message on your phone or send yourself a repeating scheduled email
• Make a big public statement on Facebook-(tilts more toward shame than kindness)
• Have some skin in the game - pay someone to guide you where you want to go - a physical trainer, a coach, an organizer
• Schedule regular, 2-3 times a week sessions, block out your calendar - not to be encroached upon time - for action, focus, or creating
• Reflect on what might happen if you don't follow through, the ugly possibilities. You can exaggerate here!
• Commit to that first risky step and then recommit, and then recommit again
• Tell a close friend who will kindly remind you, ask you, So honestly, how's it going?
Whatever you want for yourself this year- more kindness, healthier habits, a more rewarding job- it does take a strong intention and an acknowledgement that it is a process, a training. And it also takes courage to really change. Often you need support and encouragement in one form or another. So pick your method and go forth to that place that is calling you, and may 2017 be the year that brings you what you have really, deeply wanted for yourself!
And...let me know if you have found something that works for you. You can share below or send me a note - don't be shy. In 2017 we are going to need to support each other.