As usual I begin the New Year in a blaze of good intentions. I’m eternally optimistic and the dazzling sunshine and shiny red berries from my walk today cheer me on.
My inner skeptic has her doubts about my resolutions. She scoffs at the Wim Hof inspired cold showers – and my quest to uncover my heart’s desire in daily meditation. Apparently I’m both an austere Victorian and an indulgent hippy.
In particular my promise to write a daily blog met with a volley of criticism. “We’ll see how long that lasts. You’ll have nothing to say. Who’s interested. You’re just setting yourself up for failure.”
Sure enough at 9pm today, New Year’s Day, I was sipping whisky by the fire, chuckling at Pride & Prejudice on the telly, with no drive or desire to shift from the sofa to write this.
It was tempting to let things slip, to ditch the resolution. After all, I can’t presume any value in what I write. Overwhelmed by the brilliance of other writers, it is easier to surrender to my inner skeptic and sloth.
But I have learned that life without commitment and purpose makes me anxious. Things feel meaningful when I actively strive to fulfil a goal, even if the goal is futile.
“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it,” said Mahatma Gandi. The message is powerfully reinforced in Gandi’s spiritual reference book. the epic poem Bhagavad Gita.
“It is better to do one’s own work imperfectly, than to do another’s work perfectly” Chapter 18.
Admittedly it is hard to justify doing things – imperfectly — for ourselves in a world where everything we need is mass produced – perfectly – for us.
But when so much modern life is lived vicariously, virtually, passively – it becomes increasingly important to take small autonomous acts for ourselves. It’s the way to flex our muscles against futility. So even a botched resolution is a small revolution.