Be Ground. Be Crumbled. (A New Year’s Resolution)

Well, hi there, 2016! Another new year, another new beginning. I love that “fresh start” feeling that January 1 brings. It always makes me want to join the millions of people making New Year’s resolutions on this day.

The problem is that I’m a realist and I know that New Year’s resolutions rarely last past January. We might as well rename February MUD (Month of Unfulfilled Dreams). Muduary has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? We all know it’s the truth. Did you know that only 8% of people end up fulfilling their resolutions? My hunch is that those are the driven, overachieving types who would meet their goals anyway. Why should the other 92% of us make resolutions we know we’re going to break?

And that right there is the problem. We see resolutions as determined promises we make to ourselves to be kept or broken. “This is the year,” we think, “THIS time, I’m going to maintain the willpower to work out every day/stop eating all the desserty things/wake up earlier/finish that unfinished project/balance work and family better, etc.” Then Muduary rolls around, life gets in the way, old habits reemerge, and we’re right back where we were on December 31st.

So . . . do we just not set goals or make resolutions at all? Where’s the fun and inspiration in that? This is a NEW BEGINNING! We ought to at least try to make it a better year somehow, right? So what do we do?

Well, what I do is embrace my word nerdiness and look up what “resolution” actually means. Or rather, what it used to mean. Etymology fascinates me. I often find that going back to the roots of words helps me develop a whole new perspective.

Sure enough, here are the 14th century origins of “resolution”:

1) Old French resolution – “a breaking into parts”

2) Latin resolutionem – “process of reducing things into simpler forms,” from past participle stem of resolvere – “loosen”

Huh. Breaking into parts. Reducing to simpler forms. Loosening. That doesn’t sound like indomitable determination or willpower to me. That barely even sounds like goals at all. It actually sounds a little bit like this Rumi poem:


Very little grows on jagged rock.

Be ground. Be crumbled,

so wildflowers will come up

where you are.

You have been stony for too many years.

Try something different. Surrender.

Man. I just love that.

I’ve decided that’s my one and only resolution for 2016—to live the original meaning of resolution, with some Rumi thrown in for good measure.

Loosen. Simplify. Try something different.

Maybe I’ll achieve whatever goals I set for myself this year and maybe I won’t. But I think a new beginning should be less about what we want to accomplish and more about reflecting on what we are becoming. Because we’re all becoming something, aren’t we? Are we becoming more stony or more life-giving? More closed or more open? More negative or more positive? Jagged rock or crumbled ground?

Loosen. Simplify. Try something different.

I can do that. I can be flexible and open to whatever this year will bring. I can break complex things down into their simplest forms. I can try something different when what I’m doing isn’t working. That covers almost every problem and/or goal, doesn’t it?

I want to be a crumbled, life-giving space where wildflowers grow. That is what I want to be moving towards, what I want to become. Now I’ve got my mantra for the year.

Loosen. Simplify. Try something different.

Bring me what you’ve got, 2016. I’m ready for it.

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

Comments 1

  1. Oh, resolutions… I don’t remember that ever I was able to realize them … 😉 New begennings – actually I slept through New Year’s Eve, so the next day I even didn’t feel that this was another year… 😉

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