My 2016 Whatchamacallits

download (17)   As always happens towards the end of a year, my email box began to fill with newsletters, links to blog posts and notices of webinars on how to make 2016 “the best (most successful, most prosperous, most whatever) year

As always happens towards the end of a year, my email box began to fill with newsletters, links to blog posts and notices of webinars on how to make 2016 “the best (most successful, most prosperous, most whatever) year ever.”

Truth be told, I wasn’t not sorry to turn the last page on 2015. Not that it was a particularly bad year for me personally, but for people I care about, it brought a great deal of heartache, struggle and loss.

Ring in the new, I say.

For many, that means New Year’s resolutions. A couple of articles I read suggested that perhaps, for those of us who make resolutions annually, it’s the terminology that derails us so soon after making them. The word “resolution” is too soft, too iffy; maybe “resolving” to do something is too close to just “trying” to accomplish something—so naturally, after taking a just couple of swings at bat, the majority of us can shrug and say “at least I tried.”

One writer proposed using the words “setting intentions” rather than “making resolutions,” which I kind of liked. After all, intending to do something sounds a bit more determined than trying or resolving. And, in the lexicon of many spiritual teachings, setting intentions enables the Universe (God, Source, Infinite Energy, Quantum Physics, what have you) to help us bring our intended objectives to fruition. So yeah, that’s cool.

More than one article encouraged that we take time to sit down and plan out what we want to accomplish in the new year. Create a course of action, a roadmap for the changes we want to make, instead of just a list. This, too, makes a good deal of sense, a reminder of the old admonition that most of us spend more time planning a vacation than we do our lives.

Author and teacher Marilyn Jennett took the renaming of our yearly resolutions even further, by urging us to call them revolutions instead. Challenge ourselves to make “sudden, radical and complete changes,” she writes. No namby-pamby, make a wish and blow out the candles yearning for things to be different, but rather a real “call to action…a change of paradigm.”

That concept intrigues and unnerves me in equal measure.

As I weighed the pros and cons of these various ways to kick off 2016, I came to realize that I had yet another term for how I wanted to go forward. You see, I really didn’t feel up to massively changing anything in my life as of January first, and I found the idea of laying out a 12-month action plan overwhelming and paralyzing.

What I wanted to do, starting 1/1, was simply reset. Get back to some of my regular writing, exercising and meditating practices that got lost along the way in 2015. Take the consistent kind of baby steps that can eventually lead to big changes.

So that’s what I’ve done. I start my day by practicing mindfulness, a technique of releasing busy, jumbled thoughts and simply focusing on one’s breath as a way to begin the morning feeling refreshed and awake.

I’ve also reprioritized writing in the morning over opening up Facebook or my email inbox, and I’ve begun walking for short periods every day.

No earthquakes here. Just steady, doable practices.

And if I get lost again in 2016, I can reset these practices any day. No need to wait until Mondays or spring or 1/1/17 in order to begin again. In that way, every day is the start of a new year.

So that’s my contribution to the New Year’s resolutions discussion. As of a week ago, I reset my priorities.

Maybe that’s just semantics, saying that I’m “resetting” instead of “resolving,” akin to calling a rose by any other name. . Maybe resolutions can just as easily be called whatchamacallits. Or Freds. Or roses, for that matter.

But hey, it’s been working so far for me in these early days of the year, so I’m sticking with it.

I also wish you whatever it is you want 2016 to be. I intend to make it a great one. Hey, a little help from the Universe never hurts.



Blog Attempt, Take Six

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I want to be a prolific blogger. I really do.

I want to write posts that inspire, motivate, inform, provoke, amuse and entertain. Make a difference with my writing, even if it’s only in someone’s moment.

But here’s the thing. I have always had this love-hate thing with writing. Some days I absolutely love sitting down and stringing words together across a blank screen. Other days, I would rather lie on a bed of nails.

Plus, I’d rather read than write. After all, it’s a lot easier to scroll through Facebook posts, catch up on back issues of AARP and Smithsonian magazines and keep somewhat abreast of daily news stories than it is to come up with things to write about–and then to actually sit down and do the actual writing. Blogging is hard work.

It’s also a lot safer (as in cowardly) to read and admire the work of other writers than to risk exposing myself as someone who just might not be all that talented or skillful with words. Not to mention being audacious enough to put my ideas, opinions, thoughts and feelings out there for others to skim, ridicule or ignore.  Blogging is not for sissies.

I have started and abandoned five blogs over the past several years. When I revisit them, months after the last post, I can honestly say I don’t really regret anything I’d shared on them. I don’t regret what I named them or tried to accomplish through them. I only truly regret leaving them behind, like so many cast-offs, until the purpose with which I started them just doesn’t seem to fit anymore.

But why do I stop posting to them in the first place? Why can’t I commit to them? Why do I always get to the point where I start avoiding the act of writing altogether, sometimes for months at a time, just so I don’t have to return to that latest blog and try to pick up where I left off?

And—more importantly—is it a pattern I can break with this, my sixth attempt at launching a blog and sticking to it on a consistent basis?

Beats me.

All I know is, I keep coming back to writing. I always have. I can avoid it, ignore it, discount it, say that I hate it. But I always come back to it. Always.

I wanted to name this blog “Take Six,” but the dot com URL was taken (it’s up for sale, but I’m not about to pay ransom for it). So instead, I have decided to name this blog after the original ezine and website I launched shortly after getting online over 15 years ago, a labor of love that I stayed true to for nearly a decade.

WriteSuccess. My first website. My Twitter handle. And now, my blog.

Here goes.