We ate our requisite greens and peas and pork and kraut (we've got a mixed-traditions household, here). We've tossed pennies into a fountain and wished upon a shooting star. The gas pump where we stopped last night was 5 cents less per gallon than any of the other pumps. It's a sign.
It's going to be a great year.
And for none of the reasons above. It's going to be a great year because that's what we've decided it's going to be. I believe that luck is just the byproduct of a positive outlook combined with determination in an environment of agreement supported by prayer. So the first step towards a phenomenal life in 2012 is getting our heads right.
Secondly, we'll continue to surround ourselves with people, habits, philosophies, and attitudes that nurture and evoke the best in us. Join us! And make the first person in that cheering squad YOU. You know little in the way of good is going to set itself in your direction if you're not willing to accept that you deserve it in a big way.
Thirdly, cultivate a habit of gratitude. Recognize, and affirm, all that blesses you, and make sure you've expressed that gratitude in some way. It may be as simple as rubbing the tummy of the faithful dog that greets you joyfully at the door. Or a shout out to a great friend who tells everyone who'll listen about that focaccia you sell that is her favorite indulgence (Hey Sweet Vaughn!)
Fourth, recognize that time is your most valuable currency. Guard your own time zealously, from time-stealers such as outside intrusions as well as personal habits and behaviours. We recently gave up television as a part of our paring-down campaign (yes, we are that kind of crazy). Years ago, when my daughters were small, we went without television for three years and some of our happiest memories come from that time. I expect that same experience now because we're already treasuring our evenings together, listening to music, gazing at the big country sky full of stars, and reading real live books. We're already smarter. And a little cooler, I think. There is a peace in our home that I haven't quite experienced before. Expelling cable from your life might not be for you, but there are sure to be other things that steal your time. Steal it back.
And finally, use that precious time on your precious self. Just you and your thoughts. Not formally, as in meditation or prayer—I trust you'll find time to include these in your days, if you aren't already. No, this is more like an informal 'checking in' with yourself. Being your own personal coach. Learning how to 'prime the pump'. Find and express a favorite creative outlet. Read for pleasure. Heck, even doodle. Play a little. Schedule time in your week to do that which your ten-year old self might have done with his or her free time. You'll find me building a fort later this week. (Okay, maybe not. Maybe I'll just be playing library with my dog as the borrower.) No, seriously, I'm going hiking and exploring the woods. And pretending my dog is the twin brother who spent hours with me in the woods as our domain. This is written in ink on my day planner. Because its important. And so am I.And so are you.
with the basics. A personal revolution.
Viva la revolution!
The Joy of Quiet, Pico Iyer in the New York Times
Time Lost and Found Anne Lamott in Sunset Magazine
Braised Pork and Sauerkraut Dining and Wine, NYT
Last Minute Hoppin' John, Garden and Gun Magazine
Lucky Foods for the New Year, Epicurious
Happy New Year, Friends!