“I believe that if you’re healthy, you’re capable of doing everything. There’s no one else who can give you health but God, and by being healthy I believe that God is listening to me.” -Pedro Martinez
We all want to be better than we are. I think this is the basic truth that drives the annual New Year’s resolutions, which more often than not barely last until February and too often leaves us feeling failed instead of renewed. I think our resolutions fail because we come at them believing we need to change ourselves, and often in ways that are so unrealistic that the discomfort of trying makes it impossible to act on or even hold onto. At the same time, we resist the changes that are happening all around us almost all the time. Consequently, our relationship to life is skewed- we long for change we can’t quite manifest while fearing change we can’t stop. Resolving to shift our relationship to change may be the one resolution we can keep, not only for the sanity it brings to our efforts to change, but even more for the clarity it brings to the world around us.
Below is a short list of a few of my favorite quotes to inspire you to both create the changes you aspire to in life and live peaceably with the changes that come unbidden.
1. “We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.” -Anais Nin
When we come to recognize that our entire life experience is filtered through our perception of ourselves, all change is possible. Whether we are thinking about our weight loss goals or the consequences of a natural disaster, we are a captive audience to the often invisible voices inside our head that literally run our lives. Becoming friends with ourselves begins with paying attention to the quality and content of our thinking. Resolving to listen for and befriend our own inner critic will change every aspect of how we see, hear, feel and think. Slowly, this attention becomes a form of giving yourself the benefit of the doubt and you will be able to witness how it softens the hard edges of resistance and creates the space to receive, which by itself can transform the unbidden changes into something good. Be aware that your ego will resist. Treat it as you would a stubborn child that deep down believes in his own unworthiness. Be patiently persistent in seeing your own goodness and love will follow.
2. “Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan.” -Albert Schweitzer
Why do we refuse to rest? More than ever, we fear being quiet with ourselves and our constant connectivity distracts us from the silence and stillness that allows us to digest and reset from life experience. Sunday, even for non believers, used to be a day consecrated to rest, reflection and, dare I say it, prayer. It was the day we reserved to let ourselves empty and feel for what was really ours. We have become a culture of extreme productivity. More and more workers never disconnect and exhaustion is a way of life. We are confused by this drive to be more productive as a measure of our effectiveness. We don’t trust the fallow moments to feed our desires. We lose our balance every time we submit to the urgency to do more, stay later and push through our fatigue. This loss of Sunday is one of the greatest detractors to being able to respond positively to the changes happening around us and cripples our ability to make changes. It’s bad for your sex life, your emotional life, your family relationships, and even your weight. It is the reason that we can’t turn off our devices. Learning to get quiet will save your soul and your soul will repay you by cooperating, even encouraging, the changes you seek.
3. “The secret of heath for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha
Our physical and mental well being is everything; literally everything. We cannot move forward with any changes we want to make, and dealing with sudden changes from our circumstances when we are unwell only makes us sicker. Taking care of our body is where it all begins and the single most significant truth is that bodies need motion to thrive. Directed and conscious movement is also curative for the mind because it focuses our attention in the present. Making yourself stronger physically translates into more emotional stability and mental clarity. Building your physical endurance makes you more able to hold emotional discomfort and refresh your thinking when faced with problems. Your body is your temple and it requires your attention every day. Raise the integrity of the food you consume. Start even with one meal a day and notice how your body feels, notice how your emotions rest, notice how your thinking clears when you are nourished. Cravings are asking to be witnessed, not fed. Bringing your consciousness to your body is a change that will literally embody every other good thing you desire.