Saturday, January 2, 2010

A New Year, New Decade

When I was in highschool, watching the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" for the first time, that date seemed so far off in the future. I was sure we'd all be travelling around in Jetson-family-like hovercrafts, and taking one small pill every day to supply all of our dietary needs.

It never even occurred to me then that in 2010, I would still feel young.

New Year's is a good time to reflect on the past, what has worked, what has not worked, and plan for the future. I tend to get a little carried away with self-improvement plans, though, and set unrealistic goals. So this year, I'm thinking maybe I'll space things out a bit, tackle things one at a time.

First on the list: I'm embarrassed to say this, because it's such a cliche. But I've got to get a handle on my food intake, weight and fitness. This is a huge stumbling block for me, one that I have wrestled with for many, many years. I'm trying to figure out how to frame it so I can really make a positive change that sticks. Something about healthy choices: food as fuel, exercise as daily maintenance. And throw in there some Zen awareness about each mouthful, so that I know I eat in the full presence of every bite, hoping that will eliminate all of the unnecessary calories.

Second: Continue on the path I am on towards jukai, and expand my knowledge of the Zen community. I feel firmly placed within my sangha, so this should not be hard. I would like to return to Tassajara again this year, and also, if possible, make time for some short stays or even day visits to City Center and Green Gulch, since I have never been to those places. I hope to expand my reading on Zen in particular and Buddhism in general, so that I can begin to get a grasp of the wonderfully rich heritage of this tradition. I also want to re-commit to daily sitting at home, since I've been somewhat lax about that lately.

Third: As a writer, I have made good progress in the past year. After attending a writing retreat in August, I was much more productive than I have been in ages. I have finally started writing short fiction (in addition to poetry and essays), something I had wanted to try for years, and I am enjoying it immensely. I have two strong writing partners who I can share my work with, and look forward to continuing to build those relationships. A focus this coming year will be on moving towards a more regular writing practice, and being brave enough to submit to journals and magazines.

Fourth: Read more! Of everything!

And that's probably enough to work on, at least for now. There are a couple other big ticket items (like quitting smoking) that I hope to get to soon, but I want to try to get a handle on these first. At least get the momentum going, anyway. I'll have to quit smoking eventually, if I even dream of being able to be the kokyo for the Full Moon Ceremony. No way I'll have the lung capacity otherwise!

Anybody out there have some goals for the year? Care to share? We could form an online support group!


  1. In ruminating on what I might resolve to do in this new year, it occurred to me that I seldom make a daily prayer of thanks.

    At one time, this was a regular habit, most often occurring naturally on a walk, or in a quiet moment. Somehow, this simple little thing, which helped to anchor me, had slipped by the wayside.

    So, that is my goal. To find one moment in each day to take the time to express gratitude, for all that I have and have had, which is so, so much.

  2. Clare,
    That's a beautiful resolution. Simple, yet profound. It made me see that much of what I set for myself as goals tends to focus on what I don't have (yet) instead of appreciating all that I do have. Thank you.