I have never truly understood the excitement about celebrating the New Year’s holiday. Personally, I always find myself feeling a little melancholic and out of sorts. With the wonder and beauty of the Christmas holiday behind me, and the down-time with family coming to an end, I can’t help but feel sad about the passage of time. I’m always amazed by people who are energized by the celebration, and who seize the opportunity to make a list of the many ways in which they are going to change their lives for the better. As someone who suffers from the tendency to spend too much time working and not enough time relaxing, I resist the urge to make even more commitments on my time and self by making resolutions to do even more – to eat healthier, exercise more, or learn to ski. After a period of internal struggle, I usually give in and make at least one promise to myself for the new year. But this year nothing felt right and I found myself coming up short on a resolution.
This New Year’s Eve passed like all others. I put on a good face and celebrated with my family, trying to hide my impatience for the ball in Times Square to drop and for the clock to strike midnight, marking the socially acceptable time for me to call it a day. The good new is that this melancholy doesn’t last long. By January 2nd, I’m always back to my old self, and am as energetic, optimistic and driven as usual. This year, however, the snow that fell that evening and into the next morning really put a monkey wrench into the works. The added “down” time felt all too much like an extension of my dreaded day – the first of the year. I found myself rife with restless energy, unable to go out due to the storm. This, in turn, led me to embark on my one resolution for the year: to rid myself of the many extraneous and useless possessions I’ve managed to amass over the 20 years I’ve lived in my home. No corner of the house was safe from my resolve – closets were pulled apart, drawers emptied, baskets culled through, bookcases dismantled and china cabinets stripped down to the barest of items. Piles were made for my two boys who will soon inhabit apartmentsof their own; bags were set aside for the Salvation Army; boxes were packed for the homeless shelter. I was on a roll and was enjoying my new found “flow” and had just about licked my bout of extended New Year’s blues when I found an item that stopped me cold, and made me cringe and laugh all at once – A Page-a-Day Calendar from 2006, unopened and still sealed in its original package, tucked deep in the back of a little-used cabinet in the kitchen. The fact that the calendar is now eight years old is only part of the irony. The title is what really caused me to pause: “365 Meditations and Reflections for Women Who Do Too Much.”
The irony inherent in the found treasure was not lost on me, nor was the message. I was particularly struck by the ways I do not always practice what I preach, like a time I caught myself literally running at breakneck speed to make it to a yoga class where I could “relax” and “be in the moment.” I realized on that snowy day how I must strive for optimal spiritual health and balance if I am to be successful at teaching our students how to do the same. So my search for the perfect resolution was over! This year I will challenge myself to open that Page-a-Day Calendar each day to engage in a brief period of quiet contemplation. I invite all of you out there who also do too much– man or woman – to join me in the profound reality that whether we’re talking about the “stuff” in our lives or the ways in which we spend our time, sometimes less really is more.
Comments? Thoughts? Ideas? I’d love to hear them! Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org