Seeing with new eyes in the new year

I’ve suffered an overextended belly several times this holiday season right alongside friends and family.  I’m not suffering from eater’s remorse but have noted that there’s often a buzz around the chip bowl that goes something like this: “I’ll start eating better once the new year rolls around.”

Who evens wants to exercise restraint when friends lay out beautiful spreads like this???

Who evens wants to exercise restraint when friends lay out beautiful spreads like this???

I get it! I’ve made all the traditional resolutions everyone else has made through the years but this year I’m noting some resistance. 

Before I launch into a make-over of any sort, I have to examine my motivation.  Why is it that I want to change something about myself in the first place?  Who exactly am I trying to please (or impress)? Will I end up feeling worse as a result of a resolution that’s fallen flat on its face?

bahLest I start sounding like Scrooge’s long lost twin with my “Bah Humbugs”, I’d like to add that I think resolutions can be of value if they come from a place of genuine resolve to incrementally, one slow step at a time, improve the quality of life.  For me, there can’t be an unrealistic overhaul looming on the horizon of the new year.

 

The upstairs guest room, one of my favorite places to reflect.

The upstairs guest room, one of my favorite places to reflect.

I’m also not only looking into the shadowy corners of 2014 to pinpoint a resolution.  I want to reflect on of all the positive ways I’ve grown and changed for the better this year, too!

Where have my edges softened in the last twelve months?  Where have I become more accepting of both myself and others?  Where have I loved and allowed myself to be loved unconditionally?

I don’t want to discourage the age old tradition of the New Year’s resolution.  Really. I just encourage an honest reflection first.  The fact is I’ve started formulating a resolution myself  that was seeded over the summer on the front porch of our little farmette. resolutions 4Over lunch, an impromptu game started innocently enough when I asked my grandson what he loved most about his mom.  Patrick took great pleasure in listing this-and-that before settling on his final answer.  We were laughing in mutual delight when the words, “What about your Dad?”  popped out of my mouth and then, “how about Aunt Cori…..”

Aunt Cori...just one of the many people little Patrick loves....

Aunt Cori…just one of the many people little Patrick loves….

We continued with intermittent giggles and guffaws until we’d exhausted the list of his loved ones.  I soaked in his joy, satisfied, but he wanted more. “What game should we play next?” he asked lightheartedly.

My eyes gleamed with mischief.  “Well….” I said, “what’s the worst thing about your Mom?” 

Patrick shifted in his chair clearly puzzled. There was a long pause.

“OK, let’s start with your Dad,” I continued.  “Aunt Cori?”

Only the buzz of summer heat filled the porch when he finally looked at me as seriously as any eight year old can. “Grandma,” he started, “I can play this game if you want but it’s going to be really hard for me.  I don’t think about worsts.”

My heart sank.  What was I thinking?!  “Of course you don’t,” I reassured him, “and I love that about you.”

A different day of plate licking while his dad and Darrell watch on

A different day of plate licking while his dad and Darrell watch on

As we licked the last bits of berry juice from our cobbler plates we changed gears and decided to climb into the tree house.  Maybe we’d draw treasure maps.

Though the summer sun has long since disappeared, I’m still warmed by the memory and taking my cue for a New Year’s resolution from him, my little Buddha on the front porch. 

My resolution does not entail a massive overhaul. I’m not setting myself up for disappointment. I’m simply shifting my thinking from “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” to “what’s the best that could?” 

If my bread fails to rise or something else catastrophic seems to happen, I’m asking myself what gems of wisdom I can garner from the experience rather than beat myself up over the possibility that something’s gone wrong. Incrementally, moment by moment, I’m looking to focus on the best in people, too. I’m not going to spend an ounce of time thinking about worsts. 

I’m extending that generosity even to myself, knowing that when I focus on what’s the best in me it will help me more clearly see the best in you. 

Comment in on your New Year’s resolution so we can all get inspired right into 2015!

Happy New Yearesolutions 3r!

Hope to see you around the bread bowl in the new year! 

Mary

  PS: With no failures possible you might want to consider joining a “bests-only” class during the first few months of 2015.  We’ll be offering a February 7th class on bread/roll basket making and one on stuffed breads of Sicily April 18.  Watch for an announcement in the next week or so.  You’ll get first notification if you’re on my mailing list so consider adding yourself to the contact list at the top of the page. 

Don’t forget to like Kneading Life on Facebook! 

Some of my favorite stories from 2014: 

The Game of Life

Reclamation

Pilgrimage (to France!)

Recipe index

Story index

Mary’s bio    

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