by Marisol Maddox
The beginning of a new year in our Gregorian calendar is culturally a time of renewal and fresh starts. We often focus on trying to improve ourselves as individuals, but maybe it’s time to re-envision what it is we are striving to achieve. I posit that we have been underestimating our capabilities, and we should realize that the self-reflective resolution making process creates an opportunity for more meaningful introspection and change. Perhaps in addition to a personal wellness goal, we can choose a goal that relates to our larger values system, and our footprint on the world.
Impact. The word has largely come to be associated with something negative, but there are positive impacts too. Spend some time thinking about the ways in which you impact the world and its inhabitants. Do your actions result in the kind of impact that you want to have? Focus on tangible actions. What are some small changes that you could make that would lead to a greater positive impact?
- Pledge to not buy clothing you do not need.
- Buy a certain percentage of clothing from fair-trade, eco-fashion companies.
- Avoid buying plastic- seek out non-toxic alternatives.
- Only buy non-toxic/ eco friendly gifts for kids’ birthdays.
- Volunteer for a local organization that could use your help.
Play. “What is the extinction of a condor to a child who has never seen a wren?” – Robert Michael Pyle
If you have kids, consider how much of their play time and interactions include screens and technological devices. How often are they getting to enjoy the outdoors in an unstructured way, so that they get the chance to use their imaginations? Pledge to consciously unplug a bit more than you have been.
Listen. With tremendous partisanship and polarity comes the challenge of finding ways to bridge that gap (from both sides) so that respectful dialogue is once again possible. In order to do that effectively we need to hear what the other person is saying. In order to hear, we need to be quiet, and actually listen. Do you feel yourself not so much listening but just waiting for the chance to speak? What is the difference between listening and really hearing? Perhaps you could aim to be more present in conversations with others, and try to notice the difference in the way that it feels. Becoming a better listener will impact all of your relationships, not just the political divide.
Share your thoughts in the comments section. We would love to hear your new year’s resolutions! We wish everyone a blessed and green ‘17.