Last week I wrote about my gratitudes from the past year; this week I’m thinking about my resolutions for how I want to live this new year of 2015. They’re pretty simple, really.
Live generously: “Generous,” says my dictionary, comes from an Old French word originating in the Latin generosus, ‘noble’ or ‘magnanimous’ and also ‘not mean.‘ I use it in the sense of “showing kindness to others” as well as “abundance beyond what is necessary.”
Remember the bumper sticker, “Spread random acts of kindness”? I like that idea, only I want to take it farther and live in a way that is consistently kind, not just randomly. Kind and compassionate to other humans but also to “all my relations,” as my Native American friends say, those multitudes of other lives with whom we share this glorious blue planet.
One example of living generously is the haiku I write every day, capturing a moment from nature or the seasons or life. I share that haiku and a photo on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as my offering, a gift of beauty and inspiration.
Living generously, by the way, does not mean being a pushover or giving to exhaustion. Kindness and compassion begin with ones own self. Living generously means giving myself all I need–physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally–in order to practice kindness to the world outside my skin boundary.
Work less, write more: When I say “work less,” I mean less work for others, for pay, no matter how worthy and wonderful the paying work may be. I feel an urgency to finish Bless the Birds, my memoir that has grown into a story about how our choices in life make us the people we are, and move on to writing the next book (and the next after that one).
The voice of my inner wisdom is very clear on this: I have things to say, songs to sing from my heart. So I’m going to write my own stories more, which means (gulp!) earning a lot less, at least for now. That’s scary. I’m feeling my way right now, but so far, it seems like I’m on the right (write) path. (I’m half-Norwegian; puns are in my memes, if not my genes.)
Laugh often: Laughter comes in many forms. I’m thinking of the kind that expresses joy and delight, whether at a joke, or the sight of a rainbow arching across the valley as I chug home from my twice-weekly four-mile run, exhausted but feeling righteous for pushing myself to exercise in a way that’s deeply good for me.
I mean laughter that feels good in the bones, laughter of the mind, heart, the soul. Laughter that inspires me to be fully alive, to dream big, to envision all the possibilities. Laughter as a way to celebrate life itself. Which I know by much-too-intimate experience is a gift not to be taken for granted at all. Life is a gift, cause for celebration, for laughter with arms outstretched in sheer joy.
Love much: What else is there to say but those two words? Love. Much. For me, life is about love, as in embracing the moments, the days, the journey of it all. My life-motto, slightly adapted from a line in a Mary-Chapin Carpenter song is this:
To live with my heart outstretched as if it were my hand.
Love life. Love those lives with whom we share this astonishingly animate planet. (Even the blasted deer, who are intent on eating all of my new plants right to the ground.) Love. Much. A lesson I learned from the guy I lived with and loved for nearly three decades. The one in the photo below who I miss every day.