I go somewhere and see a very cute cat. Being a cat person, I want to be near it. I’d like to pet this cat and maybe hold it in my lap. I take a step closer and the cat bolts away. Chasing the cat would only make it run farther. Picking it up before it’s ready would make it squirmy, even aggressive. Just hanging back is usually the best way to attract the cat. I stay cool and calm. Eventually, perhaps it rubs against my leg. Maybe, if I’m lucky, it even hops on my lap. This may happen over the span of minutes, hours, or multiple visits to this particular place. Or, it doesn’t. It’s really depends on the cat.
The resolution cat named “I Will Drink More Water!” came to me right away and didn’t leave my side. “I Will Learn Ukranian!” cat sniffed around for a while, then retired to the basement to hunt mice. It’s probably because I fed the first one more often.
Maybe you’re thinking I hate cats. What’s your point? I admit it would be nice if resolutions were like golden retrievers—bounding up to us with kisses and enthusiasm, shouting Where have you been all my life?! Let us PLAY ALWAYS!!! Then it would be so much easier to run a marathon, eat more vegetables, and embrace whatever else we resolve to do. Those resolutions would be looking at us with big, doe eyes, not stalking us from under a bed.
Some resolution-anxiety relief came over me on New Years Day. Kate Simmons began class by defining sankalpa. This is different from a resolution. Sankalpa is a vow honoring your higher truth. Kate reminded us that such a vow “comes from your heart.” Sankalpa is not a separate thing that we hold, chase, or observe from afar. It comes from inside. Reminded of this, I felt less pressure to hold, chase, or observe anything outside the truth of that moment. It was a beautiful day. The room was warm and full. I made it to the mat. Wouldn’t an hour of gratitude be enough to start the year? Won’t the specific resolutions come more naturally that way?
This is not to say that you shouldn’t set goals. It certainly doesn’t mean you can’t achieve goals! It truly is possible for us to improve our health, careers, and relationships over the course of a year. After all, most cats stick around faithfully if you’re the one feeding and caring for it. I so appreciated the comic strip Kate placed in front of our mats. The cat and the person are separate, but gazing hopefully into the same landscape. (Mutts comic by Patrick McDonnell pictured below.)
365 Opportunites for…truth? Hope? Kindness? Acceptance? You decide.
Have a Happy, Heartfelt New Year!