Sometimes what you are looking for eludes you, but in the search you find something even better. Now, you could think of this on the philosophical level, but I am being quite literal. On New Year's day I was searching for a specific photo in my semi-organized heap of catalogued photos. Just when I was beginning to turn an irritable shade of red, I stumbled across a quote I had taken a picture of many years ago.
"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now." - Goethe
I immediately abandoned my search for the other photo and simply basked in the wisdom and encouragement contained in these words. My tangible goal for 2017 is to publish my book. Yesterday, I handed off my manuscript to an editor in the hopes that she can help me tighten and polish this story so it's ready for the scrutiny of literary agents in the near future. I realize there is a lot I cannot control in this endeavor, but what I can commit to is a stubborn resolve to keep going no matter what. This is also known as high-octane grit!
Last year, my resolve was to pay close attention to my assumptions and how I let those unexamined assumptions dictate my life. I found it alarming and dispiriting to realize how much of my life has been ruled by the tyranny of assumptions. Over the course of last year, I began to weave these insights into my life, and I began to make changes so that the life I am living now is beginning to reflect the life I want to live. I hope to keep the that momentum going into 2017 and, in addition, try to let myself live with ease. Growing up, there was a lot of tension and I needed to be tense, anxious and on-edge all the time. While that served me well back then, it is inhibiting my abilities to live life fully in the here-and-now. It's incredibly challenging for me to relax and simply be at ease. My mind is habitually patterned to pick up on perceived threats, irritants, what could go wrong etc. This is an example of where and when I lift my meditation practice up and off my bench and apply it in real life. When I catch myself fretting when really there is nothing to fret about, I begin to practice Tara Brach's RAIN meditation while at the same time trying hard not to berate myself for being unable to relax. I'm essentially retraining my brain and taking advantage of its plasticity. This is known as neuroplasticity. I often show this two minute video to my fourth graders when I speak about neuroplasticity because I want them to become engaged in their brain's development. Often, we have no control over what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond. How we choose to respond either strengthens our habits or challenges them. Click here for the video. My next post will speak more to the power and science behind our ability to choose. Stay tuned!
I wish you and your family a healthy new year! May it be filled with the blessings of growth and discoveries!