Here it is - the end of 2020.
Last year at this time none of us could have imagined what this year would bring.
Truth is, none of us know what lies ahead this year, either.
Uncertainty is the nature of life.
Rather than leaning into this reality many of us try to reduce uncertainty by controlling the one thing we think we can control.
Typically, this looks like the good ol' New Year's Resolutions deal. We take a look at ourselves, at our lives, we find what's wrong and we set our mind on fixing it. Fixing ourselves. Getting control over all that feels out of control. Our eating, our drinking, our spending, our speeding, our talking, our sleeping, our watching, our playing, our working, our yelling.
Nothing terrible about this, BTW.
If this floats your boat, go ahead and set sail.
This year - for me - is going to look different.
This year I am going to choose only one thing to focus on, to work on, to try harder at.
Less self-aggression; more self-compassion.
Just writing it makes my shoulders drop, my jaw relax, my neck feel less rigid.
You see, resolutions tap into my inner critic. They tap into a sense of shame about who I am and what I'm like. They rely on guilt and willpower for energy. And truth be told, they almost always fail. And that creates a vicious cycle ...
And I am tired of running in circles.
So, this year I am giving myself a gift. And by doing so, I hope to give the rest of the world a gift, as well.
Because a less self-aggressive Alice means a kinder Alice. And boy oh boy, this world could use a kinder Alice.
And a more self-compassionate Alice means a gentler Alice. And man oh man, this world could use a gentler Alice.
So as 2020 silently morphs into 2021, I will look back. I will think through this last year. I will attend to where I've succeeded as well as where I've stumbled.
And I will take a deep breath and I will whisper to myself: "You did the best you could, sweetheart. You survived, even thrived in a few areas. You mostly tried to pay attention to what matters. You got sidetracked here and there and you've got some habits that don't serve you. But - thanks be to God - you did the best you could."
And I will whisper a prayer of gratitude for another chance to be alive in this amazing and confounding world.
And I will practice kindness, gentleness and compassion.
And I will start with myself.
And I will let that be enough.