December 31, 2011

Courage is Kindness at Heart

C. photo by nishaan sandhu
Ring in the Courage....
Leading with your Heart in 2012.

Sometimes, I try to find an inspiring quote that helps to neatly tie down my fleeting thoughts. Other times they are given to me as a gift through my day; I find that life often offers us a lovely synchronicity of topics that come up seemingly here and there over a short period of time. An unnoticed coincidence to some, a sign to listen, to others.

Today's Quote:

He who cannot change
the very fabric of his thought
will never be able to change
reality. ~Anwar Sadat

New Year's Resolutions
I have yet to decide if New Year's is one of my more or less favorably of holidays. Unlike most winter holidays, New Years is one where I never feel guilty when I fail to make plans or put my phone on silent. For introverts it can be a nice time to unwind and reflect with a book or pen and paper. For extroverts: a time to unhinge with sparkly dress, friends, a nice bottle of bourbon and/or party hat. Either way, I think we all agree: New Year's Eve is a time to appreciate "new beginnings to come", right?

From Dark to Light
If there is one thing I love, it is an opportunity to let go of the old and start fresh. New beginnings can come in many forms: For example, a stodgy old town, whom over a decade, has found a pulse and gives birth to cultural Renaissance. When perceived trash is refurbished into a shining piece of furniture it may be within an individual-who's greater-self steps into a light brighter than before.

When we witness positive transformation of any kind, it is almost as if we cannot help but be washed with feelings of joy, acceptance and sometimes, forgiveness. Such changes lift the heart, transform the spirit, inspire evolution and the letting go of the old.

It takes courage to express generosity and kindness.
Since my early twenties, there have been many times when I have thought to share a gift or to offer my help, but, I did not in worry of how it may be perceived. I have so many times let my fears get in the way of being a better person. It seems much easier to dodge suspicion and judgement than to simply do something from the heart without worry. We live in an age of distrust, fear, and suspicion. I am not talking about conspiracy theories, (I would consider giving this some thought!), I am talking about your neighbor, co-worker, family members and friends.

...Back to New Year's Eve
Sadly, I feel that many of us witness and perform, year after year, a bi-polar roller coaster inspired by the wintertime holidays. It vacillates from community oriented kindness and cheer to glittering self-reflection that so often plummets in self perceived "failure" of New Year's Eve resolutions..

Where did we get this notion that the most appropriate time for change is on the first day of the said first year of the calendar? Where did we get this notion that change occurs over night AND at the same time as everyone else who rings in the new year?

It may be more sustainable if we scheduled in self reflection with "New Year's gusto" once every month.

During the winter months, many go from being incredibly loving to all life forms and with good cheer to subduing that compassion fairly drastically until the new fall and winter.

From the very beginning and throughout the heart of winter, we participate in a sweet and speedy formulation of how to interact with society and at what time. Think Charles Dickens.

November = Community + Gratitude
December = Generosity + Cheer
January = Self reflection + Evolution
February= I love you + Chocolate

Nothing against chocolate, some days I feel like it makes me a better person too....and then we plummet into a downward spiral of aggression from:
A. The bitter cold
B. Flashing red colors from Valentine's day kitsch
C. Angry wavers in blood sugar from all the bitter, bitter, chocolate.
D. Choose your own adventure from any/all above.

Thank you February. 

Ring in the Courageous-At-Heart
I think it would be lovely if more folks made a conscious effort to integrate all of these jolly good things,   and self evolves throughout the year. More whistling, skipping, random gift giving, and surprise days off please (if you have such control). Year round, time released, good-being-ness should be the new way of New Year's.

Maybe for 2012, instead of resolving to fit into your old skinny jeans before they go out of style, you can resolve to reflect on ways you can treat others with more compassion?

How about, instead of attempting to participate in irrational acts of self-discipline for the month of January, you gently reflect upon how to amp up the activity of your time released good being-ness at least once a month for the next year? It can be as simple as a journal entry or just reflecting on that very day. Maybe someone did something that made you feel good? Can you think of a way to pass along that kindness?

Try it, write it on your calendar (let's say the 8th or the 15th). Observe what happens to your state of self-awareness, the way you think, what you think and how that transforms those around you. I would like to think that most humans are good in nature. Other than a few strange looks, we have nothing to lose.

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