Writer’s Log, January 1: Renewal

Isn’t it odd that we great the new year with resolutions? Faced with the possibility and opportunity of renewal, we meet it with an already hatched plan? And not just any plan; usually one spawned from a Grinch-like session of hyperfocusing on where you fall short and vowing to change the future via some psychologically medieval system of self-shaming, bullheadedness, and pop culture logic. To add icing to the cake, the next step usually involves giving your power away to an expert who promises a solution to the infinitely complex, gloriously unsolvable problem that is you. It’s no wonder so many of us wind up carrying around a little extra weight.

What if, instead of focusing on what hasn’t worked, we focused instead on what has? Instead of resolving to change, what if we simply renewed our commitments to those few, essential things that have always brought us joy? We all have them, though sometimes we wind up so far down other paths we forget our way back to our origin points. What’s worse, sometimes we’ll accidentally find our way back to them and then stop ourselves when that joy and freedom comes bubbling back up to the surface. You’ll know yours when you find it, though. It’s not a quick hit – a piece of chocolate cake, sex with a glamorous stranger, blowing off work – rather, it’s that deeply satisfying recognition that you’re engaged with something that lies on the same frequency of your most essential, unvarnished self, and it usually accompanied by a gentle hum of awareness that artifice, compromise, or self-consciousness have no place here. Perhaps it’s creative work, or caregiving, or simply reconnecting to the power of your body. Or maybe it’s something you’re tempted to dismiss because the judgy part of you that wants prestige and invulnerability and the jealous admiration of your peers is shouting in your ear again with the horrible voice and breath of whatever toxic substance she’s been smoking. No matter what it is, the question remains: If it brings you joy, why are you not letting that be your guide?

Art: Franz Marc, The Fox

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