New Year’s Day And the Hero’s Decision

New Year’s Day and the Hero’s Decision. No other day of the year exemplifies the hero’s decision the way that New Year’s Day does. People come to the new year full of hope, wishful thinking, determination and the desire to change their circumstance. Many want to lose weight. Others want to find themselves in a relationship. More want have more money, read more books, create more works of art, build more bridges, dig more fence post holes, sew more stitches, save more time, rescue more kittens, throw out less trash, recycle more, compost more, change their oil more regularly, rotate the cans on the shelf, finally clear the clutter…

New Year’s Day As a New Beginning

Every story starts with a beginning. New Year’s Day draws a line. The old year, and all of its mistakes and glories, is over. Today, everything starts fresh.

Each of us is the hero of our own story. Sometimes these stories are inspiring:

Malala Yousafzai who is a young Pakistani woman who was shot in the face. She is an activist for the education of women and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.

Daryl Davis who is a blues musician who befriends members of the Ku Klux Klan. He is a black man and his message of friendship has caused approximately 200 Klansmen to give up their robes.

Ron Finley who is a self-styled gangsta gardener in South Central Los Angeles creating food in a food desert.

Joanne Rowling who as a single mom living on benefits wrote the Harry Potter series.

Geoff Lawton a permaculturist who has brought green growth to the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan.

While these stories make the news and may inspire us, our everyday existence defines our personal stories. These may not be dramatic, but they are ours and only we know what effort they require. We bring home a paycheck and make certain the bills are paid. Conquering the laundry mountain at the end of the bed is no small thing. We finally learn how to make a decent gluten free loaf of bread. We read for an hour or exercise for 30 minutes every day. All of these achievements start with a thought and a decision. And each New Year’s Day can start a new chapter or a whole new story.

Every Moment A Decision

Heroes make decisions. And each of us is making decisions at every moment whether they are conscious decisions or unconscious decisions. It is very easy to bump along, go to the job that pays the bills, flick through the channels on the television every night, eat the pre-packaged food advertised as convenient, win social approval, read the best sellers, and go about life like floating down a river in an inner tube. It can be pleasant. And this is fine if you are happy and your purpose is to live life in this manner. Actually, there is much to be grateful for in this expression of life. And your life is your story.

However, if you are living your life as described in the previous paragraph and it is not a conscious decision or you have no real purpose of your own, it is quite easy to have your life given over to someone else’s aim. You can be manipulated for all sorts of tomfoolery, skullduggery, and fiendishness.

In addition, life may be lived like a leaf on the wind. If the wind blows gentle and the sun shines warm, it’s a beautiful day. Perhaps someone paid you a compliment or payday arrived. But what about when the wind blows chill, like -15 degrees Fahrenheit? Or it is raining? What about when you are fired from the bump along job? And the roof is leaking? And you burned your grilled cheese after spilling coffee on your white shirt? Do you feel lost?

Our Own Hero

At moments of failure, we learn who we are. We have to fail to be able to dig deep within ourselves and find meaning—how badly we want something, how much an aspect of living is important to us, who is important to us, how we will express ourselves, and what the story of our lives will be. The only way to be aware/awake is to ask questions:

  • Who am I? How am I unique?
  • What will be my epitaph? What will I be remembered for?
  • How do I want to contribute to the world?
  • How will I express myself?
  • Who is important to me?
  • What will I fight for?
  • What do I love?
  • How can I express love?
  • What is my “why”?

 

We, as heroes, make the decisions that start our journeys. What journey will you be on in 2018? How will you make the year your best ever?

Happy New Year’s Eve Day!

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Happy New Year’s Eve Day!

It is the day of New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year’s Eve Day! I almost posted yesterday when it was the day before the day before New Year’s Eve. Maybe I will post on the day after New Year’s Eve day.

The point is humans love to make meaning and we as human beings need to keep track of time. It makes it easier to plant crops, force the populace to pay annual taxes, to tally up birthdays, and more when we know when the earth has traveled around the sun one whole time. Marking the solar return is better than counting those pesky moon cycles. Look at how random Easter and Ramadan are.

A new beginning starts…

Reality? A new beginning starts when any one of us decides a new beginning starts. It could be right now to coincide with the new year. Every year I see the gym fill up in January with new folks committed to getting thinner and more in shape. It could be that moment when you finish the most inspiring book you have ever read and it is time to do whatever you are inspired to do. Or it could be some Thursday morning in April.

It is not the pledge of New Year’s that holds magic. It is the commitment to do whatever. Change is hard. Sometimes brutally hard. It might mean slogging through hours and hours of reading websites for a solution to a programming problem. Or commenting out a line or two of code at a time until you find the bug. Sometimes it means writing every morsel of food down, going to the gym every day, and drinking gallons of water just to see the scale edge down ever so slowly. Sometimes it means writing 500 really crappy words per day with the leap of faith that if you just keep doing it, the daily 500 words per day will get better. Look for those things that are king pins. What one or two changes will make the biggest differences and motivate more changes?

So will today or tomorrow be a new beginning beyond the beginning of the new year?

New Year Audrey Hepburn Challenge

It is a new year– 2011. And a fabulous year it will be!

Over the holiday week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve I watched the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s with a friend. It is one of my all time favorite movies and we were inspired to watch it because he had read Truman Capote’s brilliant novella of the same name. My friend loaned me the book that the novella is in and I can say that Truman Capote’s writing is inspired. The movie and the novella are not the same and I think in many ways the novella is better. Capote’s study of the character of Holly Golightly is complex and the novella has several points of tension that lead to the final climax. All of the action stems directly from the amazingly realized character of Holly. She is an enigma and reading the novella one is propelled through the story to try to understand her as she creates and responds to the self damaging situations that she puts herself into.

Despite the brilliance and depth of Capote’s novella, it doesn’t have Audrey Hepburn. Originally the role of Holly Golightly was to be played by Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn Monroe had a well developed sense of comedic timing and would have been good in the role. Audrey Hepburn was positively luminous. While George Peppard’s acting was not as wooden as it would become in later roles, he was the straight man who falls in love with Audrey Hepburn’s wild, beguiling, and vulnerable Holly Golightly. Hepburn’s natural class lent her Holly a high level of charm and sophistication and she infused the character with depth. Audrey Hepburn brought style to every character that she played.

After seeing Audrey Hepburn portray Holly Golightly I was thinking about how clothing can change a person’s attitude and outlook on things. When I am feeling low, I dress up. I began to think about what it would feel like to dress like Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly. I decided that I would like to experiment and try it for a week. However, currently I would not feel comfortable doing so. I need to lose a few pounds. So I have given myself the Audrey Hepburn challenge. I need to lose 20 pounds and then I get to wear clothing for a week like Holly Golightly. I’ll keep you posted on how things are going. For now I will continue with my own sense of style and work on eating right and exercising.