Last December (2013), I realized that my watchword for 2014 was to be “more joy.” This wasn’t about the Christmas spirit but a realization that as committed as I am to the 12 Commitments to Life (as explained in my book of that name) and being true to my core self (which I call energies of Love, Understanding and Gratitude), Life has a primary way of fueling and reinforcing human behavior: joy.
So, in December I resolved to add more joy to my commitment to Life. Life is serious- it needs joy!
But the laws of physics dictate that two things cannot occupy the same space. If I add something, like a new practice to a life that is already pretty full, something must be withdrawn. Otherwise, physics will demand an overflow, an imbalance or some sort of loss. What should I reduce for my life to make room for joy, I asked myself?
The answer came on December 31st, the day a package arrived with several mementos from my childhood and adolescence. The box contents gave rise to reflections about my life. And to put it simply, I felt deep regrets. In my case, the regrets weren’t for things I’d done to others, but things that I didn’t do for myself. I felt like I had spent way too much energy talking about and trying to be exceptional instead of acceptance of being normal. The box had no evidence of me being exceptional. It was all evidence of normal phases we go through as we grow up.
Having looked at the evidence, I could only conclude that I was (and still am) boringly normal. As much as I have tried since then to create something new and better, I just ended up being normal. And if I accept the evidence and that I am pretty normal, I see that I spent too much time talking about things I could not do or produce.
And there you have it: what I can reduce to make way for more joy: less talk. Now the new resolution for 2014 is complete- less talk, more joy.
With this resolution in mind today, January 1, I immediately started finding joy in my marriage, our house, the birds in our backyard, and the treasures we’d collected over the years. Lovely vintage brass candle holders we had found on our last vacation. A collection of Christmas nutcrackers. (I heard tunes of the Nutcracker Suite in my head, my favorite classical music since childhood.) Pictures of my wife and me in our Renaissance costuming adventures. My antique rocking chair. A cotton throw draped over the couch sporting a Celtic dragon pattern. Etc.
These bring me pleasure and joy. The joy they give helps me soldier on through life and be grateful for being alive. They are better than the constant talking, questioning, doubting and analyzing that typically fill my consciousness. Yes, “less talk, more joy” seems like a reasonable and do-able resolution for 2014, even for a normal old guy.
PS. There’s a follow up tomorrow. http://wp.me/p1vQrM-pB
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