This will make you change your New Year's resolutions!
"Keep the faith and keep on living in the moment. That's what I learned from this stroke."
No, not my words. The words of Brian W., a young (caveat: younger son, Takeshi, says, "Just because someone is younger than you, doesn't mean they're young) Canadian who was in the audience at one of my shows in Victoria, British Columbia.
We've been corresponding since, and his New Year's message really resonated with me. His letter continued: "[My stroke] has set me free from the shackles of long term goals, hopes and dreams."
Think about that for a moment. We love to set goals, no time more than New Year's. Every year, January 1st, we feel compelled to make resolutions, dig the "time to turn over a new leaf" rut! Whatever we've been doing, "Beginning January 1," we're going to change!
But as Brian points out, there is a tyranny to living with constant check lists. Single minded pursuit of long term goals may hinder the serendipity of meandering. And may make it harder to accept the hand the universe deals us. It may be a yard stick on which we come up short, disappoint ourselves and fall into recriminations and guilt. Surely you see the same thing I do at my gym; can hardly squeeze into my usual classes beginning of January, but by late February or early March, same crowd as December. And how many of the drop outs beat themselves up?
Take it from a brain injury survivor, life is FAR too-o-o-o short for one year plans! Not that I don't vision, but I'm wedded neither to the steps, nor the outcome. Last year, I decided I would count my gratitudes. For a while, I wrote them daily, and stuffed them into a clear cookie jar. Don't know when I stopped, but the jar is full, and I only have to see it on the counter to be flooded with gratitude.
Instead of long range plans, how about making a little change today - like do something you've never done before. And tomorrow, extend a kindness that goes beyond your comfort zone. Each of those tiny goals is a start, and incrementally, the add up to the path of a new, better you.
Without that attiude, I wouldn't have a show! If I'd started out to write an award winning solo show of my experience of stroke to run at The Marsh, doubt that I'd ever have done it. But by being open to the unfolding, writing what compelled me, running through open doors, taking chances, here I am! More successful than I'd dared to dream.
Some of you may still be skeptical. Ok, I get it. Make plans if you must But consider them not a blueprint but a rough outline. The universe may have other plans, bigger, better plans, with the seeds of opportunities beyond your wildest dreams. Be open to that possibility, trust in the unfolding, stay poised to ride the current, and savor in the moments.
Wishing you a wild, surprise filled, happy and bountiful New Year!