Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year’s Ultimatum

I wanted to post to my blog on New Year’s Day. I woke up excited, faintly buzzing with a sense of purpose and meaning. As I puttered in the kitchen early that morning in a dim and silent house—well, except for the cats pouncing on each other and hissing and growling to wake the dead—I thought, “How wonderfully symbolic! I can start the year with a blog entry and renew my commitment to writing regularly.”

Then it was nine thirty p.m. and I was struggling to get my kids to bed, feeling crabby and exhausted and I hadn’t written a darn thing.

At several points throughout my day, most notably as I combed through three months of bank statements trying to find a mysteriously missing seven dollars, my mind lit on the idea that I ought to be writing. And each time, following the initial excitement about the idea of writing, there came a crushing resignation that there just wouldn’t be time. This was followed by a nagging voice at the back of my mind telling me that if I didn’t write something on New Year’s Day, then there was no point in bothering to continue.


Whose voice was that?!?

Whose idea was it that January First should have a deeper significance to the human condition than just the arbitrary point at which some cultures start counting the next 365.2564-day trip around the sun? What exercise-club magnates got together and hatched a scheme to explode their January revenue each year by promising success if only you start trying to lose weight right now? When did I decide that “resolution” was synonymous with “ultimatum?”

I stopped making “resolutions” about six years ago when I actually took action to get recovery from my food addiction (in November, by the way). But this year some things are shifting emotionally and spiritually again. I think I was excited on New Year’s Day not because “this time I’m gonna make it stick!” but because I’ve recently been gifted with a broader sense of vision. I don’t “have a plan” for employing my creativity. Instead I’m trying to be quiet, to listen, so that I don’t miss those sometimes elusive invitations to the sacred act of creating.

Not surprisingly, as soon as I called it out, that voice disappeared. Like most bogeymen, it was entirely insubstantial and only had power so long as I supplied it. Call it what you want, but I think of it as one voice in the broad repertoire of Evil, the ingenious way it twists something so benign as a New Year’s resolution into a monster with the power to kill creativity and any vestige of joy that creativity might generate.

A dear friend said to me yesterday, “I need to surrender the life I’ve planned to be open to the life that’s waiting.” This January third, I resolve to be open.


  1. giving you happy hugs! happily hugging you! whichever you choose - happy hugs on creating! :) Your creativity continues no matter what the date!

  2. Eureka!! liked this so much I'm trying to print it....can apply this message in so many ways... becky

  3. Yay! Jan 1 is just another day. Let's hear it for random date resolutions! LC