2015: A Year of Compassion

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

At the end of each year (in the calm between the Christmas and New Years storms), I always find myself reflecting on all that has happened in the past year and eagerly looking into the new year. This is because I'm creative and unique. I'm certain that nobody else does this. ;)

2014 was an exciting year for me: I completed a triathlon, moved in with my boyfriend, got a cat, and quit my job after over 3 years as a software implementer to focus on writing! It was also an exciting year for rejoyce: I started writing book reviews and sharing book recommendations, sharing my mom's recipes, and created my 101 in 1001 list.

But, as the officially state word for Wisconsin says: FORWARD. (I don't know if this is actually the official state word but it's emblazoned on a long wooden table at the Starbucks next to the Capitol building, so probs.)

This photo is not of Wisconsin.
What will 2015 bring? What should I do? What shouldn't I do? I find it exhausting thinking of all the different "life-changing" options the next 365 days hold.

Should I drink 8 glasses of water a day? Stop swearing? Finally stop biting my nails? Randomly give up meat? Or gluten? Or candy? Should I actually only consume kale?

Like a typical ex-athlete, I also struggle with fitness goals. Should I run two times a week? Or work out two times a day? Run a marathon? Do another tri? Complete an ironman? Yoga every morning? Become a yoga teacher? Stretch before bed every night? Successfully do one pull-up?

Phew. The questions are tiring, and those don't even cover personal relationship, financial, or professional development goals. Not to mention how many books I want to read!
(Both photos by Stephen of Sanibel beaches.)
I like goal-setting (see: 101 in 1001 list), but do not like the idea of mapping out your life plan, as it often leads to let-downs, and also hinders spontaneous opportunities. And, as much as New Year's Resolutions could lead to good changes, I will likely eat way more candy than kale in 2015. Also, if the previous 26 years are any indicator of the future, my nails will, sadly, continue to be bitten.

So, I decided to toss concrete resolutions aside and focus on one theme for the year: compassion. Specifically, I hope to widen my circle of compassion.

Compassion might seem simple, but I think it's a more complex and layered topic than it initially looks. I've done a little research: I watched this TED talk on Expanding your circle of Compassion and this one on Why Aren't We More Compassionate?, and read this article written by a struggling writer which encourages praying for everyone (even strangers) as a way to find peace within yourself.

I admit I have a lot to learn regarding compassion, and even more to learn about actually applying it to my life, but I think it's a nice focus for the forthcoming year. I'll leave you with a quote:

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.  Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security." - Albert Einstein.

Wishing you all a wonderful start to 2015! xx

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