Resolutions -- like the process of giving up something for Lent -- emphasize the negative. They zero in on the ways we see ourselves as lacking, on what about ourselves we think we need to fix. We weigh too much, we eat the wrong things, we are not industrious, kind or generous enough. That negativity itself is hard to overcome. Our resolutions (and Lenten disciplines, too), no doubt well-meant, only add to the negativity when we abandon them. A terrible cycle.
Another way of instigating change in one's life has me intrigued. It involves choosing a word for the year. Maybe instead of choosing, we could invite or ask to receive a word. Whatever works.
One writer whose blog I follow spent last year gently considering the word "threshold." This year her word is "immerse." So, the word can be anything. Nourish. Peace. Intentional. Amends. It can even be a word we might consider bad or negative. Like the focus of my last essay: failure. So, impatience, maybe. Or daunting. The point? Living with that single word for a year. Letting one's understanding of it -- and of one's self -- deepen. Getting to the essence. That's the point.
I like the word "attentive," along with the associated "attention." I have to admit that once I took to the dictionary I almost changed my mind! What I do not intend in choosing attentive is this definition: thoughtful of others; considerate; polite; courteous. It's not that I don't want to be those things. For some reason that list of attributes brought to mind immediately Eddie Haskell (of "Leave It To Beaver" fame; solicitous in an unnerving sort of way). All the more reason to stay with it, I suppose.
There are three turns of phrase in the longer definition of attentive that intrigue me:
1. Paying careful attention
2. Being receptive to what is
3. Alert stillness
I hope having one word for 2015 will provide insights and engender change in ways resolutions for most part have not. We'll see ...