4 LAMEST NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR 2106

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These are my lamest resolutions, found in my journal almost every New Years going back at least a decade.

1) Drink less red wine.

This is a dumb resolution, but made for a good reason: There is the potential for abuse where alcohol is involved. But, if I’m honest, it has more to do with others, their own issues, or what they might think, than it does with me. I like red wine. It’s beautiful to smell, see swirling in a gorgeous glass, and to sip and enjoy at day’s end as I play the piano, or indulge in something covered in tomato sauce. I’ve already given up gluten and most vegetables by necessity. Small pleasures are not inconsequential.

2) Eat healthier.

What does that even mean? Healthier for whom? Gwyneth Paltrow?  I’ve been “ watching what I eat” for years, with decreasing levels of enjoyment. (See number 1) I’m not overweight, and though my cholesterol may be a tad high at times, my heart is healthy.

Basically, I’m watching what other people eat and trying to copy them. That’s stupid.

Maybe my body needs what it craves.

3) Exercise Every Day.

I’ve spent years lifting weights. I hate them. I also spent years running on a treadmill like a gerbil, which I only enjoyed on days where I felt so stressed I would stroke out. I wanted to look good, compared to others. Who cares? I got to about 9 or 10 percent body fat and discovered I looked like a well- muscled, but very sick skeleton. Exercise is never a bad idea, nor is eating well, but my body type does not look good doing exercises I hate. I’m never going to look like Ronda Rousey. I loved running outdoors and put in about 6 miles a day doing it, until my knees mutinied. Now, I swim outdoors. The common denominator is the outdoors. Today it was 40 degrees and I still swam, because I love it.

4) Lower my stress level.

This has never happened because starving and doing things I don’t like makes me irritable and nervous. I’m all for pushing past my comfort zone, but if I push and still hate kale, can I stop eating it?

 

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These resolutions are all extremely desirable and effective habits, but they were lame for me because they attempted to impose dramatic changes from an outside source, like a prison warden.

They fail, because my life is the manifestation of my thoughts, and those are so much harder to control than my waistline.

If I get no joy from something, I’m not going to keep doing it.

This year I resolve to renew my mind and soul, thereby changing from within at just the perfect, organic pace. I resolve to collect friends, joyous moments, and time with my own spirit until I become a better version of myself that pleases others and my Higher Power. That might be something worth putting in my journal.

 

I FOUND JESUS AT THE JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER

Clean your finger before you point out my spots.

Benjamin Franklin

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I’m bearing witness to how I can trick myself out of miracles by imposing rules or limits on my Higher Power to appear “appropriate “or holy, not being flippant or disrespectful.  If I have free will, doesn’t God? Won’t he show up where and when it suits him best?

I spent years in an Old Testament box awaiting punishment, because I put God in a box, and refused to believe he was big or limber enough to find me outside of that box. I wanted everything about my faith and my relationship to God to be intellectual and complicated. If it is important, it should be complicated and difficult, right?

If there is one thing on which those of us who believe in a Higher Power can agree it is this: whatever we choose to call this divine being, it is omnipotent, infinite, omniscient, and omnipresent. For grammatical simplicity, I choose to use the pronoun, “he”.

His holy presence is everywhere and cannot be labeled or limited in any way. A host of amazing things follow from this:

Miracles are possible anywhere, anytime.

Sanctuary is too, because it isn’t a building. It is the presence of grace.

Spiritual community can happen anywhere, because true community is about joy and the freedom from fear and shame.

I used to think that thinking was the highest function of humanity. Now I know that loving is our supreme function, because it can transform both those who receive it and those who give it.

Through love, my faith has become about freedom, not labels and limits. Through the eyes of freedom, life becomes a simple adventure: I ask for help, blessings, and even miracles, and then just let them fall on me like summer rain. They happen when and how God wants them too. They don’t and can’t look the way I forecast them in my head, because my imagination is too small.

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Lift up your eyes all around, and see;

they all gather together, they come to you…

Then you shall see and be radiant;

your heart shall thrill and exult,

because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you.

Isaiah 60:4-8

So, why wouldn’t I be able to find my God at the Jewish Community Center, regardless of whether or not I am Jewish? There is such warm and loving acceptance of individual beauty there, such a beautiful spiritual atmosphere that is spacious and has room for me; I am immediately receptive to divine guidance, love and presence.

I swim laps outside, and, more often than not this winter, I have literally been swimming through clouds. Tell me, that isn’t 3 steps from Heaven! The warm water carries me and I don’t have to struggle or fight or try. It’s literally a communion between nature, spirit and body. That sounds like sanctuary and spiritual community to me.

Don’t I believe that God loves me enough to reveal himself to me in a way that I can see and understand? You bet I do! I’m not going to cheat myself out of another miracle.

This blog was partially excerpted from my book, Undamned, My Escape from the Old Testament, which just happens to be 61% off March 7-10th. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s_ss_i_0_6?ie=UTF8&k=undamned&sprefix=Undamn

Happy Spring:)

 

 

 

6 SCANDALOUS PRACTICES I’M USING IN 2015

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 1) Serenity first and foremost. There is nothing and no one on this earth worth sacrificing my own peace of mind. Getting myself in a mental muddle won’t help anyone or make the world any better. I will engage in any practice necessary to preserve my serenity, no matter how unusual or subversive, including the following:

 

2) Brazenness. I simply will not accept shame from anyone, including myself. Shame is a tactic, not a truth. I’m also going to refuse any guilt that I myself haven’t earned.

3) Keeping an open mind. As unlikely as it may seem, there may be a different point of view even from my most dug- in perceptions and beliefs.

As Voltaire said, I’m going to enjoy my ability to make up my own mind and let others enjoy the dignity of making up theirs. How could I ever hope to earn someone’s respect, if I don’t try to respect his or her thinking and beliefs?

Practicing # 3 will inevitably lead down the slippery slope ending in # 4.

4) I might have to utter the dreaded phrase, ” you might be right.”

5) I’m going to re- learn the now seemingly extinct practices of consensus and compromise, and ask myself, “how important is it?” before endeavoring to assist anyone to get back on the side of the Angels. Am I really sure I’m on the right side? A difference of opinion isn’t a personal attack. The more emotional I am about something, the more likely I am to have distorted perceptions, which may lead me away from the solution or resolution I seek.

6) In law school we learned the rule of reasonableness: what would a reasonable man or woman do in the same situation? It’s kind of bizarre that with all the lawyers roaming the earth, I never hear this word. I’m going to attempt to resuscitate this all but extinct practice, and use it as the criterion in my interactions, instead of my feelings and perceptions.

Who knows what will happen? I’ll keep you posted.

In your small way, you can shake the world.”

Gandhi