Sometimes—and sometimes more than sometimes—a paid job can give you benefits that don’t come in dollars and cents, but in sense and empowerment. 

In my day job at Volunteers of America Southwest, this lovely un-contracted benefit first came in the physical form of our agency chaplain, Rev Ev, who shared with me an all-inclusive model of spirituality, as well as a Wholistic Model to use in our work with clients.  Ev is a good friend of mine and a wonder of kindness who brings special meaning to all of his definitions.  And so when I pondered the close of 2012 and the launch of 2013, I thought of how I might apply my own fingerprint in actually using them.

My agency defines spirituality as “one’s personal search for meaning and fulfillment that is achieved through one’s relationship with self, others, and the universe.”  When I first heard this, I sighed with satisfaction: Ah.  Something no one need argue about, kill over, hate under, or otherwise mis-use.  Great.

 But how could I use this to shape a New Year’s Resolution that feels, well, different?  I mean: that feels like more than a mere list of feelings and stuff and experiences that I hope to encounter in the New Year?  Those lists are fine, they’re useful I guess, but they rarely change me too much whether or not I get to check some of the items off the dang list.

 Truth is: I mostly lose the list.  I’m not too good with paper. 

 And I mostly forget my vows and try to fix old problems in the old ways.  I’m not so hot with behaviors that don’t come naturally to me. 

 And I can get discouraged when something bad or unforeseen or scary or sad happens.  I get overwhelmed and a little crabby at any reminders of old lists.

All of the above is normal, I think (I hope).  New Year’s Resolutions are the loftier expression of…well, our spirituality, as defined above.  New Year’s Resolutions are our personal search for meaning and fulfillment in list form.  Items on the list, no matter whose list it is, usually concern one’s relationship with self, others, and the universe, right?  Um, what else is there?

 So, onward to Resolutions. 

This morning I was struck with a thought.  What if I actually enlarged and printed out the Wholistic Model?  And what if I posted it somewhere I could easily see it, somewhere that could impact the most uneventful of my mornings, noons, and nights? 

 AND, most importantly, what if I resolved to take ONE ACTION STEP EACH DAY IN EACH QUADRANT OF THE WHOLISTIC MODEL?

 If I continue to tap into Rev Ev’s model, there could be dozens of large and small and infinitesimal action steps to choose from.  For example, “One’s relationship with self” includes choices related to self-esteem, introspection, ambition, and meaningful purpose.  I could choose, on any particular day, to participate in an activity I am good at.  Or I could choose, on another day, to think about my life.  Simple stuff—but powerful too?

 “One’s relationship with others” includes purpose, acceptance, disclosure, and meaningful purpose.  I could choose, on any particular day, to disclose to someone I care about something that I have kept hidden.  Or I could choose, on another particular day, to accept someone exactly as he is, even if I don’t agree that person’s choices.

 “One’s relationship with the universe” includes commitment, worship, revelation, and meaningful purpose.  I could choose, on any particular day, to commit myself to an arc of purpose during my time on this earth.  I could, on any other particular day, wonder at the tree in front of me.  For, according to Rev Ev—and I very much agree with him--simple wonder at the world is a spiritual activity.  Perhaps this is why absorbing and wondering at the beat of life also lies at the core of mindfulness (which helps so many people suffering from grief or trauma, etc.).

 Right now, through this blog entry, I have disclosed my intention, I have defined a purpose in the new year, and I have accepted and connected to Rev Ev as well as any readers.  I have participated in the evolution of the Wholistic Model, or engaged in a spiritual activity, and I would love to hear from you too, and hear about your resolutions!

 One item checked off my list…

 

 

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