No resolutions, just resolve
It’s the end of the year and every blogger on the planet has something profound to say.
So where does that leave me?
I can choose to be silent and sit this one out. Or I can contribute my truth to the beautiful, dizzying, cacophony. Either way, the pressure to be wise weighs heavily.
Of course, there can be more wisdom in silence than there is in speech. As Woody Allen put it, “God is silent. Now if only man would shut up.”
But I suppose Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher, carries more weight: "Silence is a source of great strength."
In her post, Farewell 2017, my dear friend Susan Barr-Toman—who writes and teaches about mindfulness—struck the right chord.
She wrote: “Instead of creating a list of resolutions for 2018, make a list of things you are going to let go of as 2017 ends.” She recommended that, after silent meditation, we release the things that no longer serve us.
Exactly. Year after year after year, we make resolutions only to break them. New gym memberships go unused and we feel bad. We break the promises we make to ourselves.
So let's not go there.
Instead, I ask: How can we hold ourselves accountable without boxing ourselves in?
In 2018, my first full year as a solopreneur, I will need—so I will set—clear boundaries and high standards.
Though I won’t call these "resolutions," I will need resolve.
Resolve, I learned today—thank you Webster—is derived from Latin resolvere, combining re- (expressing intensive force) and solvere (to loosen).
Yet resolve is often used to describe firm determination. As in: Despite her intuition, she intends to stick to her initial resolve and marry the bastard anyway.
But resolve also can mean this: Something seen at a distance turns into a different form when seen more clearly. As in: The orange glow resolved itself into four lanterns. Or: Hubble was able to resolve six variable stars in M31.
For 2018, what if we resolve to re-solve? And in that process, we soften?
Hidden deep within that orange glow, the things we miss about our estranged friends or loved ones might take shape.
Through the fog of war and indignation, our common human qualities might again become clear.
Within the dizzying amount of content in the world, we may find the answers we need and the writers we love.
By committing to re-solve, to loosen, we may even see that we haven't always been right.
We may see that we don’t have all the answers. And we never did.