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New Year’s Resolutions: Redux And Spirituality
Ok, I have a lot of strengths but keeping New Year’s resolutions (NYR) isn’t one of them. Every year I make them, and every year I fail to keep them. Last year was a huge success given this reality. Here’s the lowdown:
Make a real family dinner at least once a week. SUCCESS! THIS ONE I ACTUALLY DID! I AM NOW UP TO 3 PER WEEK!
Race two or three triathlons this summer. NOPE. NOT EVEN CLOSE. DIDN’T EVEN EXERCISE AT ALL FOR MONTHS AND MONTHS IN 2009.
Learn to bellydance. NOPE. SEEMED LIKE A GREAT IDEA LAST DECEMBER BUT NOW JUST SEEMS SILLY!
Keep in closer touch with my friends (and not just by reading their updates on facebook!) MIXED REVIEWS ON THIS ONE. I NARROWED MY FOCUS TO A FEW PEOPLE AND WAS MUCH BETTER AT KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH THEM BUT OTHERS FELL EVEN MORE OFF THE MAP (NOT FOR LACK OF LOVING THEM JUST LACK OF …..)
Finish the sweater I started two months ago. UNDID THE SWEATER COMPLETELY AND INSTEAD MADE TWO DRESSES AND ALMOST FINISHED A DIFFERENT SWEATER. GOOD ONE!
Write every day. ALMOST! I WROTE A TON FOR THE NEWS THIS YEAR AND NOW THAT I AM BLOGGING MORE AGAIN AND STILL WRITING FOR THEM, THIS ONE IS STAYING ON THE LIST.
This year my resolutions are different. When I was at Brother’s Breakfast (the Sunday ritual with my sibs) we talked about the year ahead for each of us. Sure we had the usual things on our yearly to do list: get in shape, grow our businesses, blah blah blah but interestingly each of us had a desire for some spiritual growth in our lives this year. We are very different spiritually from one another and I have spent many, many years with a sense of spiritual apathy or perhaps even resistance. I have been detached from a sense of one-ness with the world, with myself, with whatever God may be. I was raised Catholic and my brother Chuck finds that the ritual of Mass allows him to get to ‘blank’ as he calls it. ‘Blank’ is a sense of peace, of calm, of one-ness and openness to his feelings and to others. Now THAT is a great description of what I am looking for.
Conall and I spent time last night talking about God: what God is and who he is. My kids have not been raised with any religion, by design. Although raised Catholic, I found that when I left mass I felt disgruntled. I felt stifled and couldn’t relate to the message I was hearing and didn’t want that for my kids. What prompted the discussion was the inevitable and timeless question: which came first the chicken or the egg? Conall was thinking about where his family ancestry led back to and reached this inevitable conundrum. I volunteered that many people believe that it was God who put on earth the first man and woman. Some people believe he set the process in motion and evolution did the rest while others believe that God intervened and put the first humans on the planet.
He then asked if I believe in God. I paused and answered honestly: I didn’t know for sure but I thought that God may not be a ‘person’ or ‘being’ in the sense that some religions forward but rather God is that part of each of us that shows unconditional love to one another and the web that sort of giving and loving produces is God. I read a book a year or so ago recommended by a dear friend called ‘Conversations with God’ and although the premise is a real stretch, the take home message is that the part of each of us that is God, is the part that encourages us to make choices out of a sense of love, not fear. That is a God I can embrace. A God that is based on human connection, giving, and loving decisions (even when they are really hard ones) is the God I WANT to believe in.
Conall and I talked more about God and religion and how the two are different. That religions are human attempts to explain and understand God and as such there are rules and dogma and rituals in religion that help people understand God. We talked about the fact that the world’s religions share a lot in common at their core but the image of God varies from one to another. That’s what makes me believe that God exists. So much in common across time and distance and culture and religions is the goodness that is God and that God is a part of each of us and each of us makes up part of God, regardless of religion, in my view.
This year, I hope to find how to get to ‘blank’ as Chuck calls it. And in doing so live a peaceful life, living in the moment and not in the past or the future. I hope to get in touch with the part of me that is loving and fearless, the part of me that is God and then share that part of me with my kids and my friends and maybe even with a little corner of the world. I did a heck of a lot better keeping my resolutions last year so this one may have legs. Wish me luck!
Posted by Molly O\\\\\\\'Shea on January 3, 2010 18:16, website
I have wrestled with spirituality a lot since starting a family. Not so much for myself- but for my kids. While I don't want them to fall line to some belief system that teaches them things I believe are wrong, I also want them to have a deep snese of morality and act with the greater good in mind. I often wonder if I can teach them these things on my own. I have decided to expose them to as many religions as possible and to interpret these religions for them. As for me, I found God in my children's eyes. I may not know the right chants or what to eat on what days- but the God I believe in will understand that I did my best, never hurt anyone on purpose, and have tried to leave the world a better place than I found it. As you are, Dr. Molly. I wish you luck and enjoyment on your journey of spirituality.
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