My brother's 2-year old grandson was overseen in the hallway the other day, twirling playfully in circles. Suddenly, his spinning was harshly interrupted when he had moved just enough to hit his head on a doorknob. Stunned in disbelief he exclaimed, "What the h*ll?"
We are a month into the New Year, and I wonder how we are doing with our promises and hopes for 2008. There is a way, I think, in which we approach every New Year with the idea that maybe this is the year we will "get it right". That somehow those changes we are longing for in us and in our lives will finally happen. We move forward towards our goals, and then something stops us, and we find ourselves back in the same old familiar life.
Whether we had hoped to change our eating patterns; our exercise patterns; to be kinder to our partners, our children, our co-workers; or to have more time to do the things we want to do, at some point our forward momentum gets foiled, and we may even find ourselves saying, "What the h*ll?"
When my brother's grandson, in the midst of his twirling, hit a doorknob, he didn't give up. He didn't go crying to his mother, he didn't blame himself, and he didn't stop doing what he loved doing. He took a moment to assess the situation and then jumped right back into the fun he was having going around and around in circles.
What a wonderful model for those of us who take our disappointments too seriously. For some of us, one single setback can seem like failure for the entire year. In February, we may already be saying to ourselves that maybe next year we will "get it right." We may let one setback stop our willingness to get back into the joy of our own life.
Life is not about perfection. It is about bumps, and interferences, and surprises, and disappointments, and the unexpected. And all of these mix and mingle with our hopes and dreams. The question becomes, can we, no matter what the setback, no matter how disappointed we are, pick ourselves up and put ourselves back into the new possibilities we are seeking for our lives.
We will inevitably find ourselves in our old patterns, the ones we had hoped to leave behind forever. In those times, rather than whining or blaming or quitting, may we take the wisdom of a 2-year old to heart, assess the situation, and then take a giant step back into our dreams.
Deborah Adele is an engaging, lively, and thought-provoking speaker who is not afraid to share stories from her own years of living and learning. She facilitates thoughtful and tangible ways of showing up to life in new ways, leaving participants with a dynamic combination of hope, inspiration, and practical knowledge. She is the author of The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice, 2 CD's: The Art of Relaxation and The Practice of Meditation and authored a regular wellness column for the Duluth News Tribune.