I usually approach the New Year left-brain first. I list goals, then prioritize, then put them tentatively into a calendar. I create a daily schedule by which to do everything that seems important: exercise, meditation, prayer, writing, and so forth. I can spend hours doing this. I emerge from my cave (writing room with closed door, music, candles, and teapot) with my life sketched out in detail, at least for the month of January.
Wait for it . . . failure in the first or second week. This happens year after year. I do the exercise of organizing life mainly because it feels so satisfying, and we should pay attention to what elicits that feeling. I think it helps me think about my year, my life, my priorities and values. Time spent meditating on those things is not wasted, even if the plan crashes within days of its inception.
This year I did the prioritizing and some scheduling. But I resisted the neurotic urge to create a daily schedule. Time for a kinder, gentler me. Time to say yes to the exercise but no to the plan itself. I have decided to walk softly into the New Year.
Also, time for more gentleness with Vinita. It makes me wince to actually write that, but after so many friends, spiritual directors, and supervisors say the same thing, it seems wise that I listen and do as they ask.
I've been married twenty years. I've been me for almost fifty-four years. I've been an editor and writer for two decades. There's wear and tear involved in simply existing on this planet, even more if you dare to love people and the rest of creation, even more if you work hard and nurture creativity. All of that work and love and creativity walk around in one body, a body that never rests. It keeps breathing and circulating blood. It keeps healing itself. It keeps performing the same motions and functions, thousands of hours on end, with no break, ever.
So it's appropriate, don't you think, to treat the body more kindly and more intentionally? What about a massage once a month? What about lotion on dry skin? What about brisk walks and the liquid movements of Tai Chi, the therapeutic stretches of yoga? What about better food? What about laughing more and sleeping better? What about wearing clothes that feel right and look good?
If not now, when? Here's to 2012, the year of living gently.