Are you tired of making New Year's resolutions? I stopped making them a long time ago. No matter how good my intentions were, the resolutions lost steam soon after the New Year began. January 1st never had the power to motivate transformation as much as other life-changing events did.
Nevertheless, if you feel called to make some this New Year and believe they will stick, go for it! Inspired by Kabbalah, one of the world's great wisdom traditions, here are 10 questions to ponder in 2011 to help empower you as well as help fulfill any resolutions you feel called to make.
- What is my deepest intention?
- What will make me wiser?
- How can I deepen my listening?
- How can I express more loving-kindness?
- How can I set my boundaries and limits more effectively?
- How can I be more compassionate?
- How can I move forward with joy?
- What will bring more peace into my life?
- How can I strengthen my commitments?
- What will ground me in my speech and actions?
Whether you are aware of it or not, an intention underlies any thought or action. As you journey into the New Year, examine your underlying intentions. Discover whether there are conflicting ones that will sabotage efforts at self-improvement, or ones that do not serve your most cherished goals. When you discover your deepest intention, use its energy to help propel you forward.
A hallmark of wisdom is seeing a greater picture than what your ego wants you to believe is true. Is your vision narrowly focused on personal gain? Imagine a larger vision of yourself as a powerful person living to fulfill a greater good. Strive to achieve outcomes in what have been difficult situations that embrace your larger vision of yourself.
We have numerous voices clamoring for attention in our heads (as well as outside of them). Some are innocuous, some benevolent and some out for destructive purposes. Take time in a quiet place and consciously listen to the competing voices. Align with the ones who will support you in your quest for growth. When listening to an outside voice, find that quiet place inside to allow space to truly hear what someone is saying.
Loving-kindness is connected to giving in the spirit of generosity. What motivates your giving? Do you expect something in return? Notice when it is easy to give and when it is difficult. Use the difficult times as opportunities to uncover what is in the way of expressing more loving-kindness.
Are you the kind of person who gives so much you find yourself exhausted and unable to give to yourself? Or, do you find yourself isolated and lonely because you are busy protecting your self image? Endeavor to set your boundaries wisely in order to take care of yourself as well as others. Learn when it is healthy to say no, and when it is healthy to say yes!
Compassion flows when you appreciate the interconnectedness of life. It is particularly difficult to be compassionate to someone who is feared or seen as a problem. Examine what is rejected along with what is accepted both within and outside of yourself. Seek to be more inclusive as you open your heart to the inherent interconnectedness of life.
There is great potential in all of us to do meaningful acts, both great and small. What is in the way of moving forward with a joyful spirit? What is the payoff in holding back? Align yourself with your deepest intention to break through obstacles. Connect to a higher purpose and rejoice in striving to achieve it.
Deep peace comes when you are in harmony with your essence. If you find yourself in conflict, whether in relationships or at work, how can you bring more of your essence, the part of you that is radiant and loving, to help ease the conflict? What is in your power to change that will bring you more peace?
A bedrock of our lives is the commitments we make and honor. Are you finding yourself wavering in them? What forces are working to pull you away from fulfilling them? Reconnect to the energy you felt when you made your commitments. See if that energy helps revitalize and strengthen them, or leads you to realign them if they have changed. Reconnect to the meaning your commitments bring to your life.
Our words and actions are the culmination of myriad energies flowing through us. When they are grounded in our deepest convictions, our words and deeds can be great blessings. Use the nine previous questions and your answers to them to help ground you as you interact with the world in 2011. Embrace what gives you a sense of connection to yourself and life. Do your best to walk your talk, and align your talk to your heart and highest aspirations. Happy New Year!
Follow Levi Ben-Shmuel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/levibenshmuel