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The New Year

I heard from an old family friend when I sent her a copy of the last essay. She was pleased with my writing, liked my picture and sent me an email telling me so. In the email, she also said the picture showed that I "seemed to have gained a little weight.?

I need to digress for a moment. I am a guy that jogs. I'd say I'm a "jogger?, but the former is a little more accurate. If you saw me drag my butt around the block, you'd very likely agree. I have run two marathons, very slowly. I workout at the gym about twice a week. All together, five days out of seven I am exercising. I try to take good care of myself.

Throughout the years, I have learned that a journey toward self understanding begins with self acceptance. I have advocated and endorsed, in my writings and consultations, the precepts and strategies of adopting a sense of contentment, of inner peace. Through this, maintaining a happy, easy feeling of confidence becomes almost automatic. It is my job to assist others to embrace self acceptance as their natural state.

My natural state is twenty pounds overweight.

I don't believe in, nor do I endorse, the idea of resolutions. Setting goals is essential -- resolutions tend to be forgotten. Most people don't remember their resolutions from the first of January to the first of March. That's 60 short days, only one fifth of the year.

It's not that we don't try. We do, usually for about a week or so. The effort tends to wane during the second week. By the third week that same effort often gets applied to other goals that take the place of our original commitment, and by the end of the month, the original focus of our resolve is pushed aside for other things. In my case, my dietary restraints, to begin with, have taken a back seat to my efforts to eat. A lot. And frequently. This resolution usually takes a dive by day three of the New Year. The leftovers are gone. My jaws have been moving. And the pounds haven't left.

And with the loss of the resolve comes the angst, and with the angst comes the self-criticism. The goals fall to the proverbial wayside, and the feelings of acceptance about who we are goes with it.

So here's the challenge: how does one maintain self acceptance in the face of some long odds, unmet goals and resolutions that might not become reality?

I've got the answer. You're welcome, ahead of time.

We all go through change. If any of us look over the past year, from one day to another, our life has been active. Our course through the rolling months of the year is never a straight line; diversions occur, and our journey can take us to unexpected places. We sometimes do things that are short sighted, thoughtless, and impulsive. Equally, we plan, we are forthright, we maintain a grip on our responsibilities and honor our commitments.

When we focus on our lives, just for one day, we can better appreciate what we have. We are able to achieve our goals with a little more ease. If all we do this year is to take each day, every day, for the time that our waking hours present themselves, our journey is a little kinder, our movements more deliberate and our awareness more focused and relaxed.

Keeping our attention to this day, just this day, enhances and draws forth our appreciation for our life. We look at ourselves with a more loving, more forgiving and more accepting glance.

Taking this life a day at a time is the most fundamental, most fulfilling and most focused part of knowing that we are of value, and that we can get things done. Trust me on the last part: It is the absolute truth to all those who have taken course through this same embrace. We like ourselves, we enjoy this life and we meet the challenges at hand.

Above my computer is the following verse. It's a Sanskrit Proverb. It has helped me, when I actually follow its counsel, to stay on course and to believe in myself throughout life's journey:

"Look to this day, for it is life,

The very life of life,

In its brief course lies all the realities

And verities of existence:

The bliss of growth, the splendor of action,

The glory of power.

For yesterday is but a dream

And tomorrow is only a vision.

But today, well lived, makes every yesterday

A dream of happiness!

And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day!?

Print this. Put it someplace where you can see it and enjoy the moments, looking at each day in all of its realities, visions and dreams. You'll achieve your goals and you'll begin to truly like yourself in the process.

What a nice way to start the New Year.

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