I woke today, the first day of 2013 to a beautiful warm, sunny summer morning. As I watched from my deck the summer butterflies darted about the parched garden seeking the few open flowers, the surrounding trees were filled with the songs of the lorikeets and magpies, and I began to crystalize my thoughts about the directions I wished to follow in the coming year.
You may call these resolutions, but I have always shied away from using this term. I am not making any resolutions. I hate New Year resolutions. They seem somehow so pointless. I hear people around me making the same resolutions year in and year out – stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more, get a new job, etc, etc and at the end of the year most of their resolutions have fallen by the wayside and they have made no changes in their life.
New Year Resolutions seems to lock everything into a very narrow field and set up you up firmly and squarely on the success/fail axis. I prefer to adopt the more accepting belief that whatever we experience or wherever we find ourselves is the right place to be because it the one place at that moment where we will find the opportunity to learn and understand more about ourselves. So, by setting up resolutions I would be setting up inflexible parameters that didn’t allow for the shifts of life that provide the opportunity for growth.
In addition, this type of a rigid approach causes stress and all the concomitant health problems that stress invariably leads to, which I would like to avoid. What I have noticed is that when people are living in a way that embraces opportunities for personal growth other things in their life fall into place more easily. Exercising or weight loss comes more easily because they want to be out doing whatever activity draws them, difficult decisions are made, new opportunities arise, and life begins to flow more fluidly and easily.
So my thoughts about my directions for 2013 are a little looser than things like “lose weight”, although that would be nice! I decided to take a look at the Virtues Project to form my list of the virtues I would like to see acknowledged and strengthened through this year, both on a personal and a wider community or global level.
Here is my list in no particular order of THIRTEEN VIRTUES TO EMBRACE FOR 2013, taken from the condensed list of 52 Virtues from The 52 Virtues Project (the full list of Virtues is extensive and this condensed list provided a little more focus):
Being assertive means being positive and confident. You are aware that you are a worthy person with your own special gifts. You think for yourself and express your own ideas. You know what you stand for and what you won’t stand for. You expect respect.
Confidence is having faith in someone. Self-confidence is trusting that you have what it takes to handle whatever happens. You feel sure of yourself and enjoy trying new things, without letting doubts or fears hold you back. When you have confidence in others, you rely on them
Creativity is the power of imagination. It is discovering your own special talents. Dare to see things in new ways and find different ways to solve problems. With your creativity, you can bring something new into the world
Integrity is living by your highest values. It is being honest and sincere. Integrity helps you to listen to your conscience, to do the right thing, and to tell the truth. You act with integrity when your words and actions match. Integrity gives you self-respect and a peaceful heart.
Joyfulness is an inner sense of peace and happiness. You appreciate the gifts each day brings. Without joyfulness, when the fun stops, our happiness stops. Joy can carry us through the hard times even when we are feeling very sad. Joy gives us wings.
Moderation is creating a healthy balance in your life between work and play, rest and exercise. You don’t overdo or get swept away by the things you like. You use your self-discipline to take charge of your life and your time.
Thankfulness is being grateful for what we have. It is an attitude of gratitude for learning, loving and being. Appreciate the little things that happen around you and within you every day. Think positively. Thankfulness brings contentment
Compassion is understanding and caring when someone is hurt or troubled, even if you don’t know them. It is wanting to help, even if all you can do is listen and say kind words. You forgive mistakes. You are a friend when someone needs a friend.
Generosity is giving and sharing. You share freely, not with the idea of receiving something in return. You find ways to give others happiness, and give just for the joy of giving. Generosity is one of the best ways to show love and friendship.
Being tolerant is accepting differences. You don’t expect others to think, look, speak or act just like you. You are free of prejudice, knowing that all people have feelings, needs, hopes and dreams. Tolerance is also accepting things you wish were different with patience and flexibility.
Understanding is using your mind to think clearly, paying careful attention to see the meaning of things. An understanding mind gives you insights and wonderful ideas. An understanding heart gives you empathy and compassion for others. Understanding is the power to think and learn and also to care
12.Unity Unity helps us work and live together peacefully. We feel connected with each other and all living things. We value the specialness of each person as a gift, not as a reason to fight or be scared. With unity we accomplish more together than any of one of us could alone.
Love is a special feeling that fills your heart. You show love in a smile, a kind word, a thoughtful act or a hug. Love is treating people and things with care and kindness because they mean so much to you. Love is contagious. It keeps spreading.
Of course there are many more virtues to ambrace, and selecting only thirteen was very difficult.
The Virtues Project is a grassroots initiative started in Canada aimed at inspiring the practice of virtues in everyday life. It is widely used in schools but is equally effective in the home or your personal life. It “empowers individuals to live more authentic meaningful lives, families to raise children of compassion and integrity, educators to create safe, caring, and high performing learning communities, and leaders to encourage excellence and ethics in the work place.” If you would like to start off 2013 doing a daily Virtues Card pick for yourself then go here and click on ‘Do A Virtues Pick’.
But, if someone were to twist my arm and force me to make three New Year resolutions, then this is how I would go
1. make no stupid resolutions that would fall by the wayside during January
2. adopt a new Virtue to embrace each week, thirteen of which would take me through to the end of March
3. refuse to take any of these doomsdayer prophesies literally.
I hope that 2013 brings you the opportunity to experience the new, to find joy in the simple things of life and to grow to know and understand yourself and the world around you more fully, and that by opening your self to the world around you experience much abundance in all parts of your life.
And especially, if as the doomsdayers claim, the Earth is about to be wiped out by a meteor in the next few months taking us all with it, that as you go down screaming you can feel that you have lived a life worthwhile.
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