I’m borrowing the title from a year-old set of New Year’s Revolutions written by author Parker Palmer, who says his title term “revolution” instead of “resolution” came from a typo that then seemed appropriate. The same day I came across Parker Palmer’s post, I also read one called “A New Year’s Blessing” by Karen Maezen Miller that reinforced the concept of revolution. She discusses the time of transitioning from the old year to the new year as a way to examine our practice and progress – through no effort of our own – but simply because of the turning of the calendar in the West. We recognize what we haven’t accomplished in the old year. But we have an opportunity in this moment of recognition. Miller states: “This recognition is a rare and momentous blessing, and one to be used. Recognition is all any of us needs to make a change. . . It only takes a moment to transform your life. A moment of undefiled, nonjudgmental awareness.”
So I’m committing to several revolutions this year in 2017. Not to set rigid goals, or to judge myself, but to use my recognition and awareness of the need for some changes. I am focusing in my own personal practice, as well as in my counseling practice, on wellness – using four basic components: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. (If you are interested in attending Wellness Workshops on Thursday evenings in January and February, please give me a call!)
2017 Revolution #1: Ten minutes of meditation each day – to learn to be more still and to quiet my mind from anxious thoughts; to become more physically able to calm and still my body. This is a very modest goal, but to commit to a daily practice has always been a challenge for me. I am working on all four areas of wellness here, but especially mental wellness and learning to quiet the mind, and to find the discipline and persistence to maintain a daily practice. I will note my accomplishment on my calendar each day, and will not judge myself for missed days, but use each morning as a new moment to recommit to the practice.
2017 Revolution #2: Eating between the hours of 9 am – 7 pm whenever possible (my goal: 90% achievement – 9 days out of 10). I have been wrestling with binge eating in the later evening for a number or years. I have determined from learning from my own behavior, and my own emotional challenges, that I know WHAT to eat and generally eat very healthy food during the daytime hours – it’s the after 7 pm time when I tend to eat too much and too many carbohydrates. So I finally realized it may not be a food plan or a diet I need – but a revolution in WHEN I eat. This 10-hour time frame is an adaptation of the 9-hour suggestion from the Buddha’s diet (who was said not to have eaten in the evening). Because I often work late seeing clients, 7 pm is a more reasonable goal for me to stop eating each day. I’m not going to focus on any particular food plan or exercise plan, although I will eat a higher protein/lower carbohydrate, whole food, lots of fruits and vegetables focus. This is a mostly physical goal for me, although adjusting my habits of eating when I feel threatened, tired, frustrated, lonely, sad – or to reward myself for finishing a long day – are also emotional and mental wellness revolutions.
2017 Revolution #3: Addressing hatred, bigotry and prejudice when I encounter it. This is an important spiritual wellness goal for me, to “be the change” I want to see in the world, and to honor myself and my desire to be loving, kind and accepting. When someone in my presence makes a comment denigrating any particular group of people, I intend to say “ouch” or something else similarly brief and then, if possible, say something like, “You are talking about people who I consider my brothers and sisters so your comments are offensive to me.” I also intend to continue to incorporate an inclusive and empowering listening awareness with my clients, family and friends and to commit to addressing my own prejudice and become more conscious of my own biases and therefore more loving.
I invite you to join me in a moment of revolution now – January 1, 2017 – knowing that in any moment during the year, we can have a revolution of awareness and consciousness – to transform ourselves without judgment. Be well.