Normally, I poo-poo New Year’s resolutions. I stopped doing it so long ago, I’m not even sure I ever made them at all. Consciously, I’m not a big fan of setting myself up for failure (unconsciously may be a different story). When I’m ready to make a change, I simply do it. Maybe it lasts. Maybe it doesn’t. My meditation regime has lasted. My swimming regime, well, not so much. Same with writing. I’m good for a while and then it fades. So, why if I pledged to do something starting on January 1 would it have any different outcome than something I pledged to start on, say, April 23?
This year, however, I’m feeling like maybe I do want to make a resolution or two. Why the change of heart? Maybe because last year I got a taste for change. I got reintroduced to my body after decades of living exclusively in my head, and my meditation practice is now an integral part of my day. It’s been good.
The other night I was reading Sharon Salzberg’s book LovingKindness and when I got to the chapter on generosity, it became very clear to me that being more generous with my time and my resources, was something I needed to do. And being New Years was only a few days away, I thought that it would make a dandy and worthwhile resolution. I don’t like that feeling of constriction I get when I’m holding to something for no good reason other than it’s mine. Which is not to say I need to be foolhardy and give away all my stuff and energy, but I think I’m mindful enough to recognize that tightness that comes when I know I could give, but out of neurosis (selfishness, fear of not having enough, ill will) I simply don’t wanna. So, my practice for this year will be to recognize that constriction, and then make a concerted effort to open up – open up my heart, open up my hand, my wallet, my home, my refrigerator, whatever.
The other intention I have for the New Year is to spend less time on that blasted Facebook. It’s insidious, really. When I’m at my computer at home, I pretty much always have a window open with Facebook up. And even though I don’t really post all that much, I still peek, almost compulsively at my newsfeed, as if I am expecting some breaking news like election results or updates on a natural disaster. I really need to get a grip.
Like most of us, I joined Facebook with the hope of connecting easily with old friends – the kind of friends that you’re interested enough to hear what is happening with them, but not so close that you’d make the effort to see. And it is always a kick when I first “friend” someone I haven’t seen in eons. I check out their pictures, their info, take a gander at their wall. It’s a quick and safe way to get a sense of who that person has become (or at the very least who they want people to believe they have become). Maybe we’ll exchange a message or two expressing how tickled we are to be in touch. But then after that, the connection is pretty tenuous and voyeuristic.
What I’ve been finding lately, is that my excursions onto Facebook are simply an excuse for my comparing mind to have a field day. Oh look, there’s someone who was such a hotshot in high school and now they’re just a suburban housewife. I’m much more interesting than she is. And there is that guy whom I barely remember, he’s smart, successful, travels a lot. God, I’m a failure. And why does that girl have so many friends? She’s such a phony. Yet everyone buys into her Super Mom routine. Wow, and look at my former workmate, she looks amazing! I look like crap.” You get the drift, right? It’s simply not healthy.
So, I’m going to try and find a middle way with Facebook. I don’t need to drop out all together, but I’m going to limit my time. I really wish there were a plug-in that would tally the number of minutes you’re on it. I guess I’m just going to have to do that whole mindfulness thing and just recognize when I’m checking Facebook out of boredom or some other neurotic impulse. Hmmmm. Mindfulness and Facebook. Somehow they don’t really belong in the same sentence, do they?