Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 -- A Brand New Journey

Good morning, faithful followers and new readers alike! I'd like to thank you for taking the time to check out my blog, whether this is the first time or whether you've been reading all last year as well. You might notice the changes -- I hope you like them. I've removed the "Books I've Read" widget from the screen, as I'm no longer keeping track of how many books I read this year. That was last year's goal, and 53 isn't too shabby, even though it wasn't 100. Thanks for all your feedback on what I did read and should read, it was greatly appreciated.

On to 2011, though. Each and every year, I'm pretty sure it's the last year I'm going to see Dick Clark on the New Year's Eve countdown, and for that I'm very sad. Part of the sadness comes from the fact that apparently Ryan Seacrest is taking over and he's no Dick Clark, but I guess someone has to take the torch. We'll see what happens at the end of this year. If only we could make him bionic Dick Clark -- rebuild him, make him better -- then my grandkids could be watching him count the new year down in 2040, too.

I have no lofty goals this year. At least, nothing tangible. I've changed the name of this blog from "A Year of Reinvention" to "A Journey of Reinvention". It will take more than a lifetime to achieve the changes that I want in my heart and soul and person, but writing them out certainly helps me to make progress. Every year I want to lose the same ten pounds, and then I gain weight, so now I'm trying to lose ten pounds from three years... do the math, it's harrowing. But much more important than physical accomplishments, for me, are the accomplishments I need to make within.

I fail on a daily basis. Everyone does, it's what makes us human. Or we fail because we are human, depending on how you look at it. I can make goals and forget goals, I can attempt change and fail to change -- but the dire element is that I am, in fact, attempting. Stagnation is a dismal place. If you're looking at a river, and water is flowing, you can see great distinction in the manner of the flow. An eddy, where water is twirling back and forth in a ring, a rough current flowing over underwater obstacles such as rocks and tree trunks, a slow and gentle lapping at the edges where the water meets the dirt... all of these are beautiful in their own right, and reflect different aspects of our humanity. The eddy shows how we chase our own tails at times, desperately trying to accomplish something but becoming caught in our patterns and then breaking out and becoming something different. The rough current represents the distress and crises in our life, and how we build momentum forcing ourselves along to get through even when things are boisterous, angry, or dangerous all around us. And the slow, gentle lapping is the beautiful, serene time in between when we just allow ourselves to relax and BE.

Be still, but not stagnant. Stagnation smells. It corrupts, it molds, it rots. It attracts flies and mosquitoes, it sits in its own ugly mess and goes nowhere.

Be still, but with gentle movement.

How can this make sense? Because on the outside, we might be rushing around to fulfill obligations, all the time missing the calm that we really need to keep on the inside. On the inside, we might have a million thoughts and be unable to put them into action on the outside. Both of these have negative impact. If we can hone in on that inner stillness, that calm relaxation, that state of just being... being content, being happy, being joyful, being humble, being patient, being kind, being loving... everything else will fall into place. We'll still do our day-to-day rush when we need to. We'll still have time for friends and family. We'll still be ourselves. We'll just be gently lapping at the shore, making things more beautiful than they were to begin with, and enjoying the peace and serenity that God has given us each new day.

2011 is a blessing. January is a blessing. Saturday is a blessing. 11:30 a.m. is a blessing. Live in the moment, grateful for what you have, not wishing for what you have not. Smile more. Listen more. Help people more. These are my somewhat intangible goals... how about you?

Happy New Year,
Stephanie Jean

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