Revolution – a turning or momentous change.
Resolution – a commitment, promise or end point.
The problem with a conventional approach to New Year’s resolutions, I’ve found, is that when we examine them closely, they are often superficial changes in behaviour which turn out not to be sustainable i.e. we don’t stick to them! It seems to me that this is because the underlying causes of the behaviour that we wish to change have not been established. E.g. Resolving to lose weight and being unaware of what it is about our eating habits that causes the weight gain, being unaware of the emotional content of our eating habits, health considerations and the role of practical and psychological obstacles to our progress.
What I’ve found to be more successful is to address the deeper issues associated with the behaviour we’d like to change first. This takes acute self-awareness and a willingness to commit wholeheartedly to our personal development. The difference then between a resolution and a revolution for me is not about making a self-imposed, superficial commitment but rather it’s about how we want to be, who we want to become. The ‘being’ comes first, then the ‘doing.’
Some examples of revolutions might be:
Focussing : on self-awareness, kindness, generosity, tranquillity, peacefulness , patience.
Opening: to kindness from others, listening deeply, simplicity, serendipity, insight, inspiration, revelations.
Allowing : slowness, stillness, experimentation, for the unexpected, flexibility, spaciousness.
If we want to’ be the change we wish to see in the world’ in 2012, to quote Gandhi, then looking at what needs to change on a larger scale might be a clue as to where our behaviour needs to go for us individually in the year ahead.
In his book, The Great Turning, which discusses how society can make momentous, life-sustaining changes, David Korten asserts that:
“The turning from Empire to Earth Community has two primary elements. First is a turning from money to life as a defining value. Second is a turning from relations of domination to relations of partnership based on organising principles discerned from the study of healthy living systems.”
The Great Turning is a perspective on how we collectively move towards creating a more sustainable society. What if we were to apply David Korten’s ideas on a personal level? If we were to make ‘life’ a defining value in our lives in 2012 in place of ‘money’, what would we be doing differently?
Perhaps something like…
• Spending more time with our friends and families and less time at work.
• Being very present with others when we are with them rather than still ‘at work’ or elsewhere in our heads.
• Spending time in nature and some time alone in contemplation.
• Taking steps to build or support local communities.
• Taking steps to build or support local economies.
• Remembering that our Natural Capital (children, families, community, ecological systems) is the real measure of our wealth and not our banking systems. Investing our personal financial resources in a way that supports this idea e.g. by banking with one of the ethical banks, investing money ethically, reducing our personal consumption and borrowing, dealing only with ethical businesses. The Ecologist offer this 4 step guide to bypassing the High Street banks.
• Basing our working and personal relationships with others on equal partnership, rather than on command and control.
When we focus, open and allow, we turn naturally to new behaviours to support our re-evolving approach. As our attitude evolves, so do we. Suddenly the commitment of a resolution seems easy as it emerges automatically as a result of our personal turning or momentous change – our revolution.
Happy New Year!