Quaker Practice

New Year’s Resolutions for the Spirit

I love the fresh opportunity the New Year brings, but this January I’m going to try something different when it comes to resolutions. Instead of worrying about my appearance (especially losing those last pesky pounds), I’m going to focus on resolutions for my spirit.

To be honest, my spirit could use a tune-up. Like most of us, I’m often overwhelmed trying to balance work, family and community, sometimes taking on more responsibilities than I have energy for and ending up disappointed in myself. As we age, we may need to re-evaluate this calculus, revisit our values around work and commitment, and find more time to sit quietly and listen for guidance from God. The question I’m asking this January is: how can I move forward in the New Year with a more solid foundation for my spirit so that I can bring my best self to the world?

Here’s a list of ten spiritual resolutions I am considering. Perhaps some will resonate for you:

1.  I will take advantage of the Silence to reconsider my choices around work and commitments.  Which things are most important? Am I being realistic in the projects I take on? Can I still contribute while doing a bit less and giving myself more time to regroup and refresh?

2.  I will take advantage of the Silence to reassess my energy and my gifts. Am I honoring my strengths by taking on commitments that line up with what I can do competently and happily? Can I give in these ways without depleting myself?

3.  I will spend time with people who lift me up. I will intentionally seek them out and connect with them.

4.  If a new commitment arises, I will give myself permission to sit with it and ask for spiritual guidance before jumping in. I will respond to my spirit and heart, rather than to the chorus of “shoulds” in my head.

5.  I will give myself time for a hobby or activity that makes me happy and relaxed. The goal is to do something I’m interested in, and to do it without judgement.

6.  I will take time to sit in silence and listen to God, especially when things turn difficult.  If a bad day is unfolding, I will retreat for a half hour to calm my heart and listen to what arises. I will practice lifting problems into the Light so I can understand them better.

7.  I will make things simpler. When given a choice, I’ll try the doable way and learn to accept help gracefully. I will save my energy for the most important things.

8.  I will take an occasional retreat day: Every now and then (maybe once a week), I will give myself a day off without deadlines or engagements, to read, relax and do easy chores. This will give me time to reconnect with my happy self.

9.  I will take time to consider my faith journey and deepen my connection with Spirit through readings or retreats or gatherings that expand my faith experience.

10.  I will take advantage of the Silence to ask myself: what would I do if I were not afraid?  I will think of new ways to deal with recurrent problems, and try to imagine a life lived fearlessly.

Wendy Swallow, Blog Editor, Reno Friends Meeting

The opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of Reno Friends Meeting.