By Neal Lemery
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
At the beginning of a new year on the calendar, I am reminded of the many things that I am grateful for in my life. I celebrate all of that, and seek to be mindful of those treasures: friends, experiences, opportunities, and being present in a beautiful place on this Earth.
Gratitude is being thankful. And, being patient for what has come into my life and what awaits me in the future. By living in the moment, I can fully appreciate and be grateful for what life has brought to me and who I am becoming. I am a work in progress. Perhaps I need to wear a “construction zone” sign around my neck to remind me of that.
Being present with my intentions, and focusing my intentions on what is to come is my goal for this coming year.
In this coming year, I intend to:
- Be fully present when I am with others. I need to listen with an open heart and an open mind, and be tolerant of our differences and the wisdom and experiences of others. In doing that, I will learn and grow. Remind myself that I have one mouth and two ears for a reason, and that I am only learning when I am listening, and not speaking.
- Work out of my comfort zone. Try something new, something challenging, and strive to have new experiences and opportunities. I will only grow when I am challenged. I only learn when I am uneasy with whom and where I am at. Allow others to be my teachers and guides. Be open to new ideas, new viewpoints.
- Be a lifelong learner. Embrace new experiences, listen to different and challenging ideas, read books I disagree with, and be open to other ideas. Be tolerant and mindful. Wisdom comes from unanticipated sources. Remind myself that I may be wrong, that I can change my mind, that I am not all knowing.
- Embrace creativity. See the art in everything in my life, and seek out the creative energies of others. Tend to the artist within me, and celebrate the messages of my Muse, pay attention, and allow the Muse to work through me as I create. Tend that fire, and allow the heat of the moment to fill my heart. Grow that creative energy by sharing it with others. In that, I grow community.
- Build community in everything that I do, everything I say. Do that in big ways and in small, ordinary ways. Have the intention of building community without fanfare or ego, but instead because I am a child of the Earth and it is my moral and ethical duty to improve and grow community.
- Be fully mindful of others. Heed the saying that one should walk a mile in the shoes of another. Every person has their own wisdom, their own Truth. Be a good example of what I value.
- Live life according to my morals, my ethics, my beliefs in the goodness of others, and the unity of humankind. Small kindnesses can open hearts.
- Speak out against intolerance, fear and hatred. While silence has its place in changing the world, let me be aware that there are also times to speak my peace, share my thoughts, and take action for the good of all.
Act according to my beliefs and my purpose in life. A good life is not all talk and no action. Be congruent with my thoughts and beliefs and act accordingly. Social change comes from being a example of what I want to see in the world. Life is not “do as I say and not as I do”.
- Avoid judgment. I strive to avoid assumptions, or jump to conclusions. I cannot assume the roads traveled by others. I seek to be compassionate.
- Act with humility. Recognize that I don’t know everything. Life still has lessons to teach me. Be open to new ideas and new experiences.