New Year Intentions, Part 1

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Every year, dozens of articles, posts, podcasts and the like tell us what we need to do to make this a successful year; the one year we will finally get things done, handled: lose weight, clean the house, raise healthy, well-adjusted children, start our own businesses, and whatever else that will make us content this year.

I have never figured out what it takes to make new year’s resolutions that will stick. I try. I’ve tried renaming them: goals, plans, focus, changes, intentions (my personal favorite and the one I will continue to stick with), and aspirations.

On Sunday, I scrolled through my emails and opened the Target ad, and in a few minutes of turning pages in this first advertisement of the new year, I saw what Target and their advertising consultants think we should be focused on in our resolutions for beginning and following through on in this year:

  1. Healthy food
  2. Vitamins
  3. Skin care
  4. Exercise equipment
  5. Exercise clothes
  6. Self-help books
  7. Tax Software and Office Supplies for Taxes
  8. Storage containers
  9. Cleaning supplies
  10. Laundry supplies
  11. Food Storage
  12. Small appliances – air fryers, roombas, vacuums

A thirty-page ad.

How long will many of the consumers stick with the new exercise regimen? No between meal snacks? Brushing teeth at lunch? Not ripping off a piece of tin foil and covering the dinner plate instead of using those expensive (and very clean) containers?

To be honest, I already have three doctor’s appointments scheduled plus my physical, so I guess I’m ahead of my own procrastination. I’m also planning on replacing all the glasses (eyewear) in our family this spring.

This year, though, my focus is on my writing, expanding my writing adjacent activities, and my faithfulness and becoming centered on my spiritual life. I’m not sure precisely what that means; I’m still defining what I’m looking for, what I need in my world, and what my specific intentions are. I plan to form them in the next week and share them. This is also one reason that I reevaluate my goals and intentions throughout the year. It works out not quite quarterly: Back to School/Jewish New Year, Lent/Easter, Secular New Year. While these times are somewhat etched in stone, I still leave room for reevaluation.

This year is beginning with a few points of stress. My therapist is retiring, and I am in the process of searching for a new one. I begin that tomorrow morning, after Mass. For the last couple of years I’ve wondered if I still needed to go regularly for therapy, but in contemplating stopping, I realized that just simply having it on my calendar gives me a conversation to look forward to, a time to see, and that alone seems to curb my anxiety. Nothing is cured; anxiety doesn’t work that way, but it is part of my recovery. Those little things add up and make a difference; they give me a focus, they offer a routine, a schedule that I can look forward to and as it did when I started (with both therapy, writing, and mass) it gave me a schedule to follow. Many of these techniques remind me of posts from neurodivergent folks and how they live their lives. I wouldn’t call myself neurodivergent, but who knows. There’s something to be said for trying something new. Letting chips fall where they may and seeing what works. Including reusing cliches.

Something I said to my husband about one of our children – if this child was diagnosed as on the autistic spectrum we would make allowances, we would accommodate some of their needs and expectations. Just because they don’t wear the label doesn’t mean that we can’t still make the accommodations that they need, whether we call them quirks or personality or neurodiversity.

There is no reason that I can’t make those same allowances for myself or to expect those same allowances for myself if it makes me, helps me function better. Whatever that means for me.

I’m going to take a break, read a chapter, play a game on my kindle and work on getting dinner ready. Later in the week, I will share my New Year’s intentions. I hope to see many of you along on the journey, whether you’re here as a spectator or a participant. No change is too small. No intention too minor.

2nd Sunday in Lent

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One of the goals of Lent is to look back and look forward; to see what’s changed and what needs changing. I’ve discovered that one of those ways to to re-read some of the more directional Scriptures; put them in the context of where I am today. The Scriptures may not change, but I will always, and the reminder in different times is just enough to propel me forward and setting new goals, both earthly and spiritual.

Sometimes, we all need a little direction, and from the moment​ I began to sit in on masses, the readings spoke to me in tangible ways. There’s no reason to think that would change.

In additon to love thy neighbor and lay down one’s life for a friend, the Beatitudes are a step-by-step guide to the good works, tangible things that can be done by anyone, in any order, at any time.

Recently, Pope Francis added a few more to guide us in the modern world, saying that “new situations require new energy and a new commitment.” I will include them at the end.
Matthew 5:2-12

He began to teach them, saying: The Beatitudes*
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Pope Francis’ addition on 11/1/16: New Beatitudes for Saints of a New Age

Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.

Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness.

Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.

Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.

Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.

Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

“All these are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness,” Pope Francis said. “Surely they will receive from him their merited reward.”

Project Rock and The Rock Clock

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On Facebook, I’ve been following Dwayne Johnson, known from his wrestling days as The Rock, for maybe a year now. I enjoy his upbeat, positive, motivational view of life. He is one of the most encouraging people I have ever had the pleasure to see even if it’s only been on social media and through his acting roles.

I loved him in the Escape to Witch Mountain reboot. That was my favorite book and movie as a child, and if the original pops up on the television, I will sit and watch it again no matter what else I’m supposed to be doing.

The most recent movie I’ve seen was The Game Plan on the Disney channel. I don’t know when the movie was actually released, but it was recently re-aired on one of the Friday nights in the last couple of weeks.

Following his Facebook, I get to see posts about his new baby daughter, Jasmine, his upcoming Disney animated feature, Moana, still in production (with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda), and most recently his Rock Clock.

I hadn’t realized that The Rock Clock was part of a new venture called Project Rock.

I’ve been using the Rock Clock for about a week now. All in all, I like it, although I need to adjust the volume, and it doesn’t have a snooze button. The Rock doesn’t believe in a snooze button. I actually do, but I’ve been adapting to give it a try.

If you like, you can even get up on Rock Time, but I’ll warn you: that’s about 4 or 5 in the morning. I have not attempted it and don’t plan to.

After you get up and at it, whatever time you’ve set the alarm for, there is a daily inspirational message from The Rock. I’ve seen two that he filmed in the gym right before his workout, one driving to work in his pick-up truck (he loves his pick-up truck), and one still picture with a motivational phrase as a graphic.

I have to say there are worse ways to wake up. Even if I’m tired, and I don’t really want to get up, I still get a positive vibe from the app, and from The Rock.

I know that whatever time it is that I’m viewing his daily message, I will see his smiling face, his positive outlook, and hear the joy in his voice to begin another day.

It rubs off.

In this morning’s message, he dropped whatever he was carrying. He laughed it off, kept walking and narrated that he was going to keep walking. What a great message to keep moving forward no matter what tries to get in your way. He even mentioned that he had to clean up the spill, but the smile didn’t leave his face.

One word of caution: his language is on the adult side. He is uncensored, but there’s no bullying, no denigration, just pure and honest, and unadulterated happy to be alive, and happy to share his day with you.

There are twenty-four options for your alarm sound; I use the one of him singing Good Morning, Sunshine. I’ve also tried the regular beeping alarm, which he also voices.

Here is what he has to say on his home page of the Project Rock website:

WE ARE ALL A PROJECT.

We all have hopes, goals, dreams and aspirations, and I’ve officially made it my project to help as many of you get after your goals as possible. Let’s get after it and chase greatness… together.

-Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson