Have you thought about what you want in the New Year? I’m not talking about the often-typical coach verbiage of outer goals and action plans, bigger businesses and greater bottom lines. I’m talking about the deeper things that are felt and experienced with the heart, such as: excitement, gratitude, appreciation, being in the present, heightened awareness of the senses, anticipation, hope, inspiration, love, and peace to name a few.
Should you be moving forward with an action plan consider the things that often get second notice. Yet, when these attributes are ignited, they spark everything around them into a greater flame. When they are absent blindness sets in to the wealth that exists in unexpected places.
If it’s been a while since you looked up from your desk, or pile of laundry and you’ve forgotten what excitement, or gratitude feels like, watch a child and you’ll quickly witness excitement over simple things. You’ll see love and appreciation for having the most beautiful mommy on the planet, gratitude when an adult sits to read awhile, anticipation for what’s coming and the ability to be fully engaged in the moments play.
This kind of presence means halting the busy work that’s an easy distractor and exit ramp named ‘avoidance.’ It means getting beyond the superfluous clutter and noise, and the striving after lesser lovers to hone in on the greater thing.
Anne Lamott quoted her pastor in a Face Book post saying,
“It’s not what you look at; it’s what you look with.”
Sometimes what we see at first glance is not what actually exists, but a misrepresentation. Through time we often discover and recover the depth of what is actually there.
Years ago a prophetic sort of fellow said to me that I had the ability to get the songbird up and singing again. I had the ability to mine the gold out of misfortune. Interestingly, all those many years ago, I had no idea that I would be the songbird that needed to reconnect to her song after 3 ½ years of silence and an inability to sing.
I’m not talking about technique, vocal prowess or the ins and outs of song writing. Although that is great stuff, I am talking about the truth that resonated with my heart spoken at the Nashville Tree House Songwriter’s Retreat by my friend Paulette Wooten. She spoke about the necessity of using the gifts we’ve been given. She reminded us that if we had a song we needed to sing it. We needed to sing it for ourselves.
At times when I feel pressed in by life and surrounded by drought, I find my parched soul has wondered off from the abundant water supply readily available to me. I have turned away from the brights, the colorful, the spacious long distance perspective. This is when I need to zoom out far and wide and be reawakened to the sexiness of life.
When I was young, I imagined my future as an adventure that was fast, exciting, thrilling and sexy. My exploits had all the flavor of their own renaissance—lush with color, delicious food, lavish clothing and intrigue. Not for a minute did I dream of an adventure that was stale, prudent or trite.
I love to be taken up into the flavor of other cultures. I think we all do. Just look at the number of travel and cooking shows there are on TV—shows that help us explore hidden lands and mysterious flavors and textures, far removed from most of our everyday worlds. My heart and senses ache to trollop in the vineyards of Southern France and dance to the music of a sultry samba in Venezuela—where the women ooze sensuality and not Protestant nicety. I want to be blinded by the beauty of the silks saris in India, dance in the surf of Mozambique and eat fresh mangos in the jungle with the natives.
It bothers me that we have so sterilized and whitewashed the idea of appropriate sanctified living. Sometimes we so civilize and pillage our lives of their color and creativity that we rob them of their beauty.