~ Why I Don't Do Resolutions

Why I Don't Do Resolutions

January 4, 2014. A year ago I wrote in my blog about not doing resolutions. Today it's interesting for me to look back on my thoughts about the upcoming year of 2013. I was at a very weak point a year ago. I’m thankful my body has recovered, and there have been some incredibly wonderful memories made in 2013, our last year in Copenhagen. I'm thankful for the personal growth, and my wonderful husband who has encouraged me each step.

As I look toward 2014, here are a few thoughts I’d like to share with you, my friends. I wrote last year that I don’t do resolutions. The reason? It seems to set me up for failure, and they’re usually performance-based – something I’ve been trying to avoid. (I’m a recovering perfectionist.) Also, I have no idea what the coming year will bring. What challenges will I be facing? What failures and triumphs, joys and sorrows? “Resolutions” tend to carry the assumption that I know what I can do tomorrow, whereas the truth is, I don’t. I like these two words instead: focus and invitation.

A focus this year? I turned 60 this year, and along with that marker comes a new respect for the idea of “elder”. This isn’t the same as “older”. People can grow into eldership while still quite young in years. And people can remain very immature and self-absorbed into their 80’s and 90’s. But what’s been on my mind is how our society puts youth, physical appearance and ability on such an unrealistic (and often undeserved) pedestal. If youth means remaining flexible and adventurous and willing to learn new things, then I’m all for it. (I know a lot of young people who need to learn to be young!) I hope I always keep and nurture these qualities. But as I move into this fall/winter season of life, I don’t want to view certain inevitable changes as negative. They are actually beautiful. To be honest, I love the silver in my hair. I think it’s gorgeous! 

But there are also inner changes that I’m welcoming:

To be quieter, more peaceful, slower, simple, content.

Not needing to solve everyone’s problem, not needing to understand every unanswered question.

Okay with mystery.

Eyes open to see, and heart open to be exhilarated with beauty in its multi-faceted expressions.

Growing interest in others, and a lessening interest in self.

These are qualities I think of when I think “elder”. These are things that I can’t resolve to “do”… but certainly a focus on life that I would like to nurture in the coming years.

An invitation… I like that word because it has a quality of grace and honor.  It’s like a table is set, and there’s a place at it for me. I can choose whether or not to come. So, as I visualize the table before me, I realize that in a few short weeks we’ll be moving into a beautiful house in a new community, of which we’ve never been a part. It’s a blank slate. Many unknowns. There will be challenges for sure. We’ll be re-adjusting to life in the United States, and navigating a certain amount of reverse culture shock. I’m looking forward to settling in, to less jetlag, to making a home where friends and family can come and share life with us, to making new friends, to seeing how living in the Rockies changes my art, and especially to seeing my grand children grow up!

In order to identify my specific invitation into 2014, I find it helpful if I pose it as a question to God: “What are you inviting me to this year?” (You could ask this of God, or if it works better for you, of Life.) This is what I’m sensing as I listen:

I invite you to enjoy the beauty and gift of “today”. There will be much to do, you will be tempted to reel from one errand to the next, and you will feel pulled to get involved in various new and exciting activities, especially in your desire to make new friends. I invite you to savor each day, and to nurture simplicity. What you don’t get done today will still be there tomorrow. In the quiet, lonely days, look for a gift. I also invite you to fresh new adventures… they might be out of the box of your “normal” … so be open to the possibilities.


If this blog posting has inspired you to consider this upcoming year in light of a fresh focus and a gracious invitation,  I’d love to hear about it. You can write your thoughts either here as comments, or send me an email at Sylvia@sylviamcguireart.com.


Jan. 2014 blog

Dear Sylvia,I love your blog, inspiring and true words that give me encouragement as I enter2014. I am so happy you will be nearer and hope to share some wonder and adventure will you.  I love you! Linda  

Resolutions and aging

I don't do resolutions either, for reasons you mentioned.   What I hear as I read (hear, I hear your voice as I read    : )  )  is  "wisdom" .  You have become so very wise and a good trait as we age.   I love how the  natives' traditionally have respect for the elders  and the desire to glean from their wisdom.  Although I think it is something, they too, are losing. 


I have been praying every day for good closure in Denmark, and for your reverse culture shock. I need to remember the fact that what I do not get done today will stil be there tomorrow.

Your brother in Christ,

Focus & Invitation

This really resonated with me and where I am as well. Turned sixty, had health issues, rethinking what it means to be an elder not older but not "loving the gray hair" on me though. LOLI have had the opportunity through a Bush Fellowship, to research and reflect on what is leadership. How can leadership help to bridge the disconnects from youth to elders, nonmedia to social media worlds, diverse cultures lack of communication etc. I have look at ways that can allow people to find open space where they can truly communicate and contribute. Of course this must start with self. It is hard to carve out open space for self when their are a million THINGS I can fill the life space with.So next week I am attending a 3 day training on OPEN SPACE TECHNOLOGY, and this week end taking time for self for some open space of reflection, focus and maybe a resolution or two..... 


Pam, has your view of "leadership" changed at all as a result of doing the Fellowship project? How would you describe "open space"? Perhaps this is like the "spacious place" described by David and others in the Bible? I'd love to hear about your contemplative time over the weekend. I hope it was extravagantly spacious!


Dear Sylvia, what lovely, profound reflections.  Thanks for sharing your spirit with us through these words!Kyle


This is a year of Mindfulness.  Just sitting with life experiences.  Being.  Awareness. Calm. Open hearted.  Nonjudgemental.  Nothing to do. No where to go.  Nothing to be. Not fixing, analyzing or preferring.  Just glad to be here, now.  Just finished Ezra Bayden's  "Zen Heart".  2013 was the year of very high blood pressure.  My best efforts were killing me.  I am giving one hour a day to just  sitting and being present with myself.  And leaving room for 'mystery' of course.

I appreciate you!

I so appreciate each and every comment to my new year's blog. Trey, I just read a review on Zen Heart. Looks like a book I will get my hands on. I've been appreciating the writings of Father Richard Rohr. What's amazing is the oneness of thought, when it is TRUTH. http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/books/books.php?id=18264A book that is really blessing my socks off is "Falling Upward". For those readers to whom this idea of growing into "eldership" is nudging your heart, I highly recommend it.  http://www.amazon.com/Falling-Upward-Spirituality-Halves-Life/dp/1459635752Pam, I'd love to hear how your weekend of contemplation goes. Do you have some structure you will be following to guide your process? I appreciate your thoughts about the "million things to fill the space". I think an upcoming blog will be about our addiction to BUSY-NESS. Oh, woe is me! If you really want to get my attention and cause me to realize it's time to reassess my life choices, just say something like, "I know you're a busy person." I like what my friend Kyle recently wrote about the purposefulness of open spaces.  "beauty is deepened when the blank space around it calls attention to its significance...it works that way with the visual arts and also in music--white space and silence increase the impact of the work"

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