We mark time because it gives us a reference point. Though time is continuous and there is no true beginning or ending, we note a beginning or ending so that we can know where we are relative to a certain point. Marking time helps us to make assessments; it provides guideposts and structure. Like any label, that's all time is, a guidepost, but a necessary one. We mark the year's beginning and naturally, it presents this question, "how do I want to begin?"
Unfortunately, this time of the year is often one when people make resolutions to "improve" themselves. I suggest that we don't try to improve ourselves but be kind to ourselves and that shift in perspective is no small thing. As we look at what we want to manifest this year, choosing kindness can be all the motivation we need. If what we choose to do for ourselves isn't motivated by kindness, then maybe we should reconsider it! Try it on in these small ways. I brush my teeth to be kind to my teeth. I eat vegetables to be kind to my digestion. I do my laundry to be kind to my belongings that keep me warm, clothed, etc. We can move from doing the "right thing" to truly wanting to take care and it feels very different.
We don’t need improvement. We need kindness. When we are kind to ourselves, there is the added benefit that we get better at things, but not because we are trying to get better. Just like we don’t need to make our breath get deeper or longer, but just by following it, it tends to do it on its own. Another added benefit is that when we do something motivated by kindness, we generally enjoy the thing.
In my New Year's Day talk, I proposed that we make healing the theme of this year. One of the ways to heal is to bring in kindness. So I invite us all to let kindness be the motivation behind our actions. This doesn't mean it will always feel easy, but it will be driven from love, not lack or fear.