Resolutions vs Joy Multiplied

Resolutions vs Joy Multiplied

New Year, New You!

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? It’s a topic of conversation the week before and after January 1 every year, whether it be around the office water cooler or a friend’s social media feed. Headline: Resolutions, Yes …or No?  I have never really put much stock into make a resolution.  One year I resolved to not. Make a resolution that is.

Last year was pretty tough for me; I know I’m not alone.  The year wasn’t a knock-down-drag-out kidney punch and body slam kind of year.  While it had those moments it was more akin to a blister on your heel, and you can’t change your shoes — ever. If you moved slowly, gingerly everything was okay. And when you couldn’t, it hurt like hell. To garner your sympathy I could write a litany of all the things that went cock-eyed, topsy turvy and full-on upside down in 2017.  But I won’t.  That’s not the point.

These past couple of months I was wont to find some kind of peace with myself, my depression, my health, my year.  And the Spirit of the season began to wrest a little with my heart.  There were these little nudges, these reminders that others were sharing on social media, which individually seemed innocuous, but together made something glaringly clear.  I had no JOY. None.

Joy is not like happiness. Happiness is relative.  It is dependant on outside factors and stimuli.  You can fake happiness. You can’t fake joy.  Joy comes from deep inside. It can not be manufactured, only multiplied.  It was then the Spirit lit an ember.

A few days ago a friend messaged me about trying an Episcopal church after a painful season of anger after being hurt by the church.  I reminded my friend (again) that it wasn’t God who caused this pain, it was the flawed people in the church who did.  Then, then, I had a realization.

I realized I had not been practicing what I was preaching. For the first time in years the notion of letting go of past church hurts went from my head to my heart.  I’ve known all along the hurt I felt was caused by the people I went to church with.  They knew I stopped attending.  What they didn’t know was that it was they who drove me away.  I knew forgiving was what I needed to do.  A lifetime of attending church told me that’s what needed to be done.  I knew there was that plank in my eye.  And I was quite content to smack people around with it rather than get rid of it.  Except the only one hurt by my plank-stuffed eye was me.   I wanted to keep shaking my fist, saying ‘See what you’ve done! And you don’t even know it! HA!  I’ll show you’ and I stayed away.

But …I am tired of staying away.  I’m tired of empty and hollow, of clinging.

Resolutions are our way of saying “I’m going to do better.”  The problem is most of us don’t know how.  I certainly don’t.  Rather than make resolutions I know I will fail at,  I have chosen three Focus Words for 2018. My hope is that by living these words throughout the year many aspects and areas of my life will improve.

Consistency

(be) Present

Joy

I don’t want a new me.  I want a renewed me.

The ember is starting to grow.

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Motivation

I run. Yup, thick girls with thick thighs can and do run. I get a lot of quizzical looks: You run?! You run?! Huh, you run.  (Insert scrunched eyebrows, pinched faces here.) And I don’t run “just a little bit” — I run long distances.  Well, not insanely, crazy long distance Ultra Marathon-lengths of 50km or 50 miles, because, well, that’s just crazy.  No, I run the standard long distances of half (13.1mi) or full (26.2mi) marathons. I’m training for some right now. And I raise money for charity while I’m at it. 

I was out running this past Saturday — 12 miles just so you know —  and The Little Voice Inside asked “What are you doing this for? Really, why?! You’re going to go home smelling all sorts of un-fresh; your legs, no your whole person, will be tired, and it’s going to be dark. Your belly will be too tight to eat any sort of proper meal so you’ll go to bed hungry, and you’ll prob’ly wake up a little dehydrated.  So, tell me again why?”

Actually The Little Voice Inside didn’t say all of those things, but it was implied in that one word: WHY?  What motivates me to get out the door at half-past-dark-o’clock on a Saturday morning?

I thought about the word, then I decided to look it up*:

mo·ti·va·tion

noun \ˌmō-tə-ˈvā-shən\

Definition of MOTIVATION
1 a : the act or process of motivating
   b : the condition of being motivated
: a motivating force, stimulus, or influence :incentivedrive
— mo·ti·va·tion·al  adjective
— mo·ti·va·tion·al·ly  adverb
Then I had to look up the root word*:

mo·tive

noun \ˈmō-tiv, 2 is also mō-ˈtēv\

Definition of MOTIVE
1: something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act
2: a recurrent phrase or figure that is developed through the course of a musical composition

The short answer is because others can’t, for whatever variety of reasons: illness, physical disability, life is too hectic to add anything else. The even shorter reason is because I can. It’s good for me and my bones. It’s cheaper than therapy and medication. It gives me time to think, or just shut my thoughts down completely.  It gets me outdoors.

The long explanation for the short reason is because I have 6 relatives with 5 different kinds of cancer (prostate, bladder, kidney, breast x2, facial nerve cancer with a name too long to pronounce), a nephew with Down Syndrome, friends with Cerebral Palsy and another who is a 3-time lymphoma and secondary breast cancer survivor.  One friend with CP has said the first thing he wants to do when he gets to heaven is climb a tree.  Climb a tree! It’s one of those childhood rites of passage he’s never had a chance to pass.  That really struck a chord with me — no tree climbing, no hopscotch, no Red Rover, no raucous games of tag, no jungle gym swinging.  All these childhood playground and neighborhood games watched from the sidelines. That thought made me, makes me, sad.

That thought also made me quicken my step just a bit. On Saturday I posted my best pace to date for 12 miles.