CATEGORY: COL Columns (Journal)
HED:Lena Mitchell: Resolve like Janus to look backward as well
Yesterday is history. The most-anticipated Christian holiday has now come and gone.
January is just around the corner, and thoughts turn to another great tradition – New Year’s resolutions.
I’m not in the habit of making New Year’s resolutions.
What I like to do at year’s end is pause to regroup and do what I call a personal assessment.
Janus, a god of Roman mythology, had two faces that looked in opposite directions. One looked into the past and the other into the future.
Thus, the first month of the year is named for him as we begin something new with an eye to what has gone before.
Somewhere along the line, though, the focus on making resolutions about what to change in the future has caused us to get ahead of ourselves and leapfrog the reflective stage.
My year-in-review is largely a personal growth inventory.
Have I made a positive difference in the life of a family member, a friend, my community?
Did I try always to conduct myself in a way that I could hold my head high and look my fellow sojourners in the eye?
Did I treat others with the respect due my fellow human beings so that I could accept communion with a clear conscience?
Did I grow in character and strengthen qualities where I have been weak, such as patience?
Did I listen?
Did I grow by not accepting my old limitations?
Did I push myself beyond my comfort zone to experience new things?
Did I try to see old subjects in a new way?
Did I help someone?
Did I learn something new?
Did I teach someone?
Have I respected my body by giving it proper nutrition, grooming and exercise?
Did I achieve my short-term goals?
Did I make progress toward achieving long-term goals?
Have I set new goals?
How have I grown spiritually?
Have I strengthened my network of friends who are committed to walking a similar path so that we can offer support to each other to stay the course?
Have I found books and other sources of mental, emotional and spiritual nourishment to sustain me?
The simple act of pausing to reflect on these and other questions establishes a mind-set.
As I continue to navigate my course on this spiritual journey, it becomes more and more evident that I must not make even one decision, take even one step, without careful consultation with my Higher Power.
Each day is full of challenges, conflict and questions. How else can I begin to know the best choices to make, the right course to take without guidance from the All-Seeing One?
As I consider the question of making resolutions about what behaviors to change in the new year, perhaps the best source of ideas is to ask my friends and associates for feedback.
How do you think I need to change to be a better friend?
What do I do that really grates on your nerves?
Should I talk less?
Should I be more giving?
Do I show enough kindness?
This life journey can be a difficult one.
The inventory reminds me that each and every day begins a new year – one filled with opportunities to create the things I want in my life, and to appreciate God’s grace in allowing me to achieve them.
Lena Mitchell is a Daily Journal staff writer.