The old adage “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater” reminds us that, while change is inevitable, not all change seems desirable. Sometimes we change even when change isn’t helpful (throwing out the baby), but sometimes we resist change even when it is helpful (keeping the bathwater). Taking this saying to heart can give us pause. On top of that, the saying assumes that we can easily tell what constitutes “bathwater.” Sometimes what we thought was bathwater turns out to be baby–and vice versa. To know with certainty what the ultimate outcome of something will be, we would have to be able to see into the future.
Resolutions vs. Intentions
Our resolutions for the new year invoke will power to bring what we hope will be positive change into our lives. While a resolution must have an intention behind it, we can separate will and intention. My favorite New Year’s ritual does just that. The first part of the ritual is to make a list of the things you want to leave behind in the year that just ended. This list gets burned (or shredded–safely disposed of). That list is symbolically released.
Then make a second list of all of the things you want to invite into your life in the year ahead. The second list gets sealed in an envelope and put away until the year is almost over. Read the second list near the end of the year. You may be surprised at what was set in motion simply by having clear intentions (or perhaps what no longer seems important). Without the attachment to what we want to see happen, we can avoid the suffering that the attachment tends to create. It’s not too late to do this for 2017!
May you be happy and free from suffering.
Paul Busch, Owner, The Saint Paul Yoga Center