living for joy: a 2017 resolution

A New Year’s Resolution – we all make them in some way, not necessarily audibly, but at some point we’ve all committed to completing some new goal as the countdown begins. We’re hopeful the year to come will be filled with new, exciting prospects and intend to face them head on. And then the year starts. And its the same. And you’re not sure why you resolved to no longer eat pizza, or save money, or go to the gym, or you’ve lost touch with the person who sat at the countdown and waited for the ball to drop. And, in a way, your resolution becomes a bit of a joke – something you realize you were never going to follow through on, but you had to make it to usher in the new year the right way.

Perpetrator #1 right here (me – raising my hand extremely high and reflecting on all of the resolutions gone sour). I wanted this year to be different. I wanted to make changes that would bring positivity and light into my life. So, I had to think about caused me to fail in the past.

I had to bring it back to basics, and for me, that is often in single words. Resolution. The word is thrown around so lightly, I wanted to reconnect with what that was supposed to be, in its purest form:

Res•o•lu•tion (noun) — 1. a firm decision to do or not to do something. 2. the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter. 

Let’s start with #1, probably more familiar to everyone, as resolutions normally revolve around statements like “I will do this” or “I won’t do that.” But how firm are those motivators really? When I sat and thought to myself about all of the things I could change in my life, I got exhausted pretty quick, and I wasn’t even actively trying to change at that point.

It had to be a firm decision – an immovable decision – a clear decision, but more than anything, a possible decision.

Let’s fold in #2 now, something less associated with a new calendar. A New Year’s resolution is as much of a decision to incorporate or remove something as it is to solve conflict within our own lives.

So take a second and think about what is causing conflict in yourself? Do you feel two halves of yourself fighting? Over what? For me, it wasn’t easy to find. I had to do a fair amount of soul searching before I found my inner dispute.

The Pursuit of Joy

I’d continually found myself stuck in a void of melancholy thoughts, feeling stuck in between pursuing what seemed like the ‘right’ thing (the right job, the position with most money, people pleasing) and something I actually wanted. But, I was so far down the path towards the ‘right’ thing, I wasn’t even sure what it was I wanted. What were the things that gave me joy? At core, I am a giver. I want to give people my time, efforts, presence or two cents when they need it. I will give so freely that I leave nothing for myself, no room to explore the source of what I needed, too busy trying to help others find their own.

At the end of 2017, I came to the realization that I had not felt real joy in months – the kind that lets sunshine out of your pores and wakes up your soul up. You can feel it residing in your chest, holding you up and singing.

So I made a resolution, a firm decision to resolve this inner conflict, to find my joy. I wanted to feel my spirit lifted, feel alive, and full of light. And so far, it has gone fairly well.

I started making time to cook again – fresh, delicious veggies – because cooking gave me joy. I joined a yoga studio and have been attending almost every day, because yoga fills me with joy (and peace!). I started a blog because writing gives me joy, and hearing the stories of others gives me joy.

Joy is my New Year’s Resolution.

What is yours? What inner conflict do you need to address? What is a firm, immovable decision you can make to resolve that inner tension? Let me know below and we can take this wild journey of 2017 together.

Joyfully,

raina

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