Do you have any New Year resolutions in mind? Any big changes you’d like to see happen in 2016? What is your approach to that whole thing, and what has your experience been in past years?
Here’s a way of framing this tradition that you may find helpful:
In our culture, the idea of making these “resolutions” — changes that we schedule to take effect immediately at midnight on January 1st, and then sustain indefinitely — is often treated with either an unhealthy degree of ambition and wishful thinking, or else cynicism and a sense of… “screw it.”
A wonderful teacher and mentor of mine, Jon Barbieri, identifies the problematic aspects of resolution-making, and offers a different, more sane way of thinking about the prospect of “self-improvement.”
The approach that he offers is based on harnessing the energy of renewal that comes along with the changing of the calendar year, and with that, embarking on a journey with the intention of gradually shifting the habitual patterns that bring about the results that we find to be obstacles to our personal growth and joyful living.
This is a lot different than trying to enact a quick fix — which is an aggressive approach that troubles numerous aspects of our personal lives and culture.
I hope you find the video above to be helpful.
Also, if you happen to live on the Front Range of Colorado, and are still deciding what to do for New Years, I invite you to come up to SMC and join Jon for a full three days of exploring this process.
About the Authors:
Travis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation. He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he handles the SMC Blog, and other marketing tasks. He also gives tours of the Great Stupa and is empowered as a Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position. Check out: travisnewbill.com Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill
Jonathan Barbieri has taught Buddhist and Shambhala trainings extensively throughout North America for over 30 years. Jon has been engaged in several livelihood pursuits including consulting with cities and counties on workforce development, creating contemplative co-housing communities and, most recently, teaching Mindfulness programs to public agencies and businesses. He was formerly the Executive Director of SMC.