Without resolution, what have you ever accomplished?
Whether it’s a flash in the pan at New Years or a list, preferably short, that you review monthly during the year, this is the traditional time of year to give some thought to the resolutions you would like to keep.
Now that many of us have been successful with the resolution to give up smoking - or, in my case, not to take it up, so that there would be one resolution I would keep that year - let’s work on spreading joy. Yes, spreading joy.
In The Book of Joy, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu set out 8 Pillars of Joy: Perspective, Humility, Humour, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Compassion and Generosity. Eight qualities to try to increase, perhaps with our focus on one each month and then a review in the fall of two per month. Reading the book is a joy which I recommend.
Or/and you might read Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart by James R. Doty, MD. I made notes about his “Alphabet of the Heart” before I found The Book of Joy. Because Dr. Doty has a close association with the Dalai Lama, it is not surprising that his list is somewhat similar to the one above. However, the alphabetical aspect makes it easy to memorize: Compassion, Dignity, Equanimity, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Humility, Integrity, Justice, Kindness, Love.
Jean Houston in The Wizard of Us uses the Wizard of Oz story to encourage each of us to recognize the brain (Scarecrow), heart (Tin Man) and courage (remember the Cowardly Lion?) we already possess. At the end of the book she sets out her “Manifestation Plan” which includes tips to strengthen many of the qualities identified in the other books.
Lastly, to start off 2018, Avaaz, meaning “voice”, which describes itself as “a 44-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making” has released a request that its members pledge to:
Show Kindness and Respect: We will show kindness and respect towards ourselves and others whenever possible. And it's always possible, because everyone we meet is fighting a battle we may know nothing about.
Strive for Wisdom: We will seek to be wise in our decisions, listening deeply to ourselves and others, and balancing our heads, hearts and intuitions in a harmony that feels right.
Practice Gratitude: We will regularly reflect on what we're grateful for, because it brings perspective, dissolves negativity, and grounds us in what's most important.
Avaaz hopes to collect one million pledges and will then “invite world leaders to join us, and check in over the coming year to see how we're all doing.”
Is there something is all of this to give you hope for 2018? Resolution to focus on any of these qualities will contribute to finding joy in your life.
What if many of us resolve to do so? It is infectious! I hope you’ll try.
To buy my publications, including my new Read More About Amherst, a collection of my last forty columns, go to the Artisans’ Gallery, Amherst Centre Mall; Maritime Mosaic, Dayle’s, Victoria Street, Amherst; Flying Colours, Maccan; and Main and Station, Parrsboro.
Coles carries My dear Alice.
For my seven self-published books and booklets, go to the Cumberland County Museum and Archives and to the YMCA Amherst.
Clare Christie is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.