And so it begins, our journey into a fresh and new year. Already I am hearing rumblings from some of the futility of resolutions. Friends, take this New Year season as a gift to commit yourself to personal and global change. What that looks like for each of us will be different. But let me challenge you that there is no comfort and no reward in living a life full of regrets. May we launch ourselves into this new year with a vibrant desire to sift our hearts, our behavior and our out look upon the world in order that we might create the life we want to live and world we want to live in. As we begin, let us look courageously into the mirror of our life and see ourselves as we really are:
“We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable”
Thus begins the 12 steps of recovery. Without it, the resulting 11 steps are exercises in futility. And so in this new year, we who desire to pursue any sort of change within ourselves and to create change within the world we live must first decide to be brutally honest with ourselves. We must be able to look over the past year and examine our participation in it and identify where we feel we fell short and where we feel we succeeded.
Now I’m not assuming that you should view the past year as something to be recovered from. For many, 2009 was a banner year with many great and wonderful achievements to celebrate. But upon introspection, even the most victorious of us will find some areas that we’d like to change.
But before begin digging, we have to discover what is our goal. When we ask; “what do we want out of this new year that we didn’t like about last year?”- we must determine what are we looking for. What is the lack, the emptiness, the absence of fulfillment, the dissatisfaction; what exactly is that? Now there are lots of ways to define what this is. For some of us there will be a great dissatisfaction with our physical selves. For others, we will be unsatisfied with our jobs and where we are in our careers. Others will grieve the condition of their relationships or lack thereof. Some will have a spiritual void that craves occupation. And for many of us it will be a combination of these and many other things I’ve not mentioned. So, allow me to step out on a limb and declare that the goal of our search, the purpose of our journey, the prize of our pursuit is “happiness“. Yeah, mind-blowing isn’t it?
Now I know some of my spiritual friends are going to say, “Happy? Isn’t there a higher goal than us being happy?” Don’t we want “joy”? Don’t we want “peace?” Aren’t we all searching for “purpose” or “fulfillment”. Well the answer is yes and yes. I understand that happiness may sound shallow and selfish. But the truth is, we each lack in different ways and in different places. The global result of that lack being filled in all of us will certainly be happiness. So, I’m not just talking about feeling better emotionally, although I do believe that our contentment should produce an uplifted emotional state. The end result of our bodies looking better, about having a clearer purpose in our vocations, about enjoying healthy relationships and about having life in our spirits, will indeed be happiness. So get off my back already, Jeez you’re cranky. We better get started right away!
Because it will be the easiest, let us first begin by asking ourselves what made us the most unhappy. Keep in mind that we cannot necessarily change others. Therefore when examining our unhappiness we cannot say, “our spouse” or “our job” or “our church”. What we can examine is our participation in each of these areas and identify where a change in ourselves would produce the most happiness in our own lives. And that my friend is the seed of a resolution. For this practice to be fruitful, we must be willing to be humble and own up to our part.
Next, we’ll get down to business and actually begin to dredge our lives and pan for the gold of happiness that lies deep within each of us.
‘Nuff Said, Stay tuned in, Godspeed,