I spent the first day of 2016 swinging in a hammock. I read and journaled a lot. I thought mostly about resolutions and how to make goals for myself that aren’t so fleeting.
In 2016, I want to focus on being more alive, and not a skinnier, prettier, or smarter version of myself. I want to fight for the habits and practices that put me in touch with my truest, kindest, and most present self.
I share them publicly as an offering of sorts. I hope they inspire and urge your own journey toward becoming your truest self this year.
1. Crank Up the Tunes.
Music is art; it’s soul and life and everything beautiful about the world packaged in a song. Like yoga and prayer, I see a drastic shift in my attitude and overall day when I listen to music.
Yesterday, while sitting on the bunks in our hostel, a man from Argentina was belting a song in the shower. At first, Anthony and I giggled. But as he continued to sing, completely aware of our presence in the adjoining room, I admired his ability to communicate such joy and life with his melodious shouting.
I want to listen to more music and then sing along - even when people are listening. I want to discover the music of our past as well as the present. I want to hear the world and the song everyone else is singing.
2. Walk Slower.
When in Colombia, I learned locals pinpoint gringos by how fast we walk. Everyone is in a hurry, they claim. And I notice this a lot in South American culture. It's slow. They embrace rest and live without a clock.
I noticed this yesterday as I thoughtlessly hurried along a path to the beach. With my destination in mind, I was walking fast and with intent. Bu as I purposefully began to slow my pace, I realized how much of the walk I was missing out on. When I paused and looked around at my surroundings, I felt my breathing and thinking slow and the world suddenly became clear. I noticed things. I heard the rushing water; I smelt the fragrant flowers.
So I want to slow down. I want to take longer strides and see the world around me. I resolve to be present; to drive slower, talk slower, eat slower and walk slower. Everything is so worth the time - everything.
3. Choose Love and Life Over Fear.
Sometimes life is scary, but I resolve to live intentional anyway. Relationships and vulnerability are, at times, hard, but I choose to love and listen in spite of fear. Love people who scare you. Do things that scare you.
4. Explore My City.
Once I shelf my passport, I often panic over what to explore or where to travel. Here is what I tell myself: get outside and explore your city.
Go to the mountains or drive downtown. Try a new coffee shop or hike a hidden trail. Wander down every street in your city. Never stop exploring and, when money and time allows, travel somewhere. Always be open to finding the undiscovered, even in your own backyard.
5. Love My Food and My Body.
This is a big, important one: I want to stop counting and analyzing my food. Instead, I want to eat real, organic things.
Food should smell. It should have a texture and flavor. I resolve to eat real food. I am going to cook more and spend time preparing and appreciating food and the nutrition it provides. I resolve to slow down with my meals, savoring the tastes and smells, complimenting it all with good conversation at an actual table.
I will also be kind to my body. Scales and mirrors should have no influence on our joy. Gyms are for being kind to our bodies by keeping them active, not for punishing ourselves. I choose to speak life and truth to my curves and dimples and - damn, already? - cellulite.
6. Talk to God More Often.
I am teaching myself this mantra: Pray about everything and anything. Pray thanks and awe. Pray tears and curses. Pray rage and joy. Pray in the morning and when you roll into bed after a long day. Pray in the grocery store or in the car or while washing your hair. Pray in all seasons. Pray out loud and in your head. Pray when you remember and when you forget. Always pray.
7. Make New Friends.
We need each other. We need our tribe; our community. We also need to stay open to new friends and challenging relationships.
8. Put the Broom Down.
Homes aren’t perfect, at least not physically. I want my house to feel more than I want it to look shiny or magazine-worthy. I hope our next home is a refuge. I want it to speak safety and creativity. I want the walls to share a story.
I am resolving to spend less time perfecting my home’s appearance and more time cultivating its story.
9. Read More Books.
10. Smell the Roses - Literally.
The hostel we are staying at is in the woods and surrounded by lavender bushes. The staff here makes their own jam every morning to pair with the fresh bread. The kitchen smells amazing.
I wonder how often I engage my scent sense.
Life should smell, and not just like dirty laundry and dog food.
Our meals should smell fresh and earthy; salty and citrus-y; spicy and garlic-y. Our homes should smell like dark green herbs and burning candles.
So I’m going to close my eyes more often and engage smell. I resolve to put my nose to work more often and fill my life with the simplest and cheapest joy: things that smell really good.