Just read Waylon Lewis of elephant. If you don’t know WL, here is a video about his aspirations for elephant:
He has a beautiful list of resolves for the new year:
1. Meditate Two Minutes every morning: Or more. Meditation, no matter your religion, is simply mind training: helping you to be in the present moment, helping you not to get caught up in your own bullshit, complaining, storylines, or hopes and fears. So whether it connects you more closely to God, Allah or just the good ol’fashioned present moment, it’s gym for the mind and heart.
2. Don’t fill the Gaps: gaps between activities allow our minds to reopen, expand and have original, often time-and-effort-saving big ideas. So don’t walk with your head down, lost in thought. Don’t just text and call folks when you’re driving or waiting. Don’t read the NYer when you’re on the can. Allow a little space in your life. Doing nothing, as a great Buddhist teacher once said, is the foundation for doing anything—and it’s one thing we Americans are really, really bad at. So let go of one or two minutes of entertainment a day—and look out upon this life and world.
3. Own your Karma—it’s fun, God knows why. Think about everything you do, and the effect (positive and or negative) it has. Take responsibility for it. That’s why the Green movement, personally speaking, is less a fad than a way of life for me—as a Buddhist, I’ve sworn to try and take responsibility for being of some benefit to others, and our planet (all sentient beings, is how we put it)—and if I’m mindful of what I’m doing each day and minute, I’ll naturally want to support local businesses, buy fair-trade, buy organics, recycle, turn lights off, compost, ride my bike…and have a good time doing so. It’s not about being perfect, pure, or righteous: it’s about caring.
4. Exercise: physical movement for at least half an hour a day, every day, is not only good for your health (duh) it’s good for your mind, your heart, your emotions…it gets everything going and flowing, and gets your mind off of work or family or whatever it’s become unhelpfully stuck upon. The key to continuity? Do something you enjoy. I enjoy bball, climbing, yoga, biking, the occasional visit to the gym (and their hot tub and sauna). In the last few months I stopped exercising almost entirely, however, and found it hard to get myself to do any of the above. So how’d I get myself back on the tracks? Got a few friends to join me.
5. Pets. If you’re going to get a pet in 2009, get a rescue. Why? Right now, in the US, we’re perpetuating n animal Holocaust every year…we kill millions of dogs and cats bc so many folks choose to buy from breeders or pet stores. Fact is, you can find almost any breed if you look on petfinder.com…as for training and temperament issues, just watch the Dog Whisperer and you’ll realize that purepreed or mutt, 99% of the situation is your problem—meaning you can solve just about anything once you know how to.
6. Eat Meat only occasionally—and when you do, know where it comes from and how it was treated while it was alive (fed antibiotics? Free-range? Or factory farm?). Make like Michael Pollan and eat plants, mostly. You don’t gotta be an overbearing, righteous hippie zealot—it’s simply better for you, esp now that fish is so full of mercury it’s now a no-no in all 50 states for pregnant ladies. So not only will you be sparing the occasional life, and taking a load off your health, but you’ll be really, really enjoying the meat and fish you do eat, instead of just casually enjoying it /slash/ taking it for granted.
7. Green clean your home. The average American home’s air is more polluted than the outside air, even in metropolitan areas. That’s largely due to your undersink areas having more chemicals than the average laboratory pre WWII, when, subsequently, chemical warfare companies turned their attention to the domestic market (Agent Orange fertilizer, anyone?). So go eco—there’s lots of mostly far cheaper solutions, some of them time-tested (vinegar, baking soda, hot water), some of them brand spankin’ new, that’ll do the toughest jobs without leaving behind lots of toxic, cancer-related chemicals in your home and our waterways and air.
8. Make your next shower curtain non-PVC (I bought affordable organic hemp, cotton or linen curtain off ebay). PVC is connected with cancer—it’s all bad, through and through. Keep it away from children (many rubber duckies and other toys are made of PVC!) and out of bathrooms, where heat and water make a toxic combination, at the least.
9. Right livelihood. Whether your job is of boring, local benefit (plumbing) or glamorous, far-reaching benefit (ecofashion) doesn’t matter. Just try and synch your morals and what you spend 8 hours a day, or more, doing. This isn’t obvious as it sounds—if it were, we’d all be doing something we believed in. Life is short: make 2009 the year when you want to jump out of bed in the morning.
10. Call your mom and dad and work out any nagging issues. Personally speaking, I haven’t historically been around my dad too much, and while I love him we do some funny history. My mom, on the other hand, was a huge hero for me back in the day…but I don’t call or visit her often now that I’m all growns up. So I’ll look to rectify both of those situations this year—because, again, as New Year’s reminds us, life is short.
And here is my two cents that was posted in the Huff Post reprint of the original:
I’ve been thinking about this list Waylon since I read it last night on your site.- I stumbled it this afternoon and am still thinking about the resolves. I really love them. My resolves are:
To LISTEN more closely to what others are saying,
To GET OUT OF THE WAY and let the universe work more,
To HONOR my mental and physical health more often,
To deepen my practice of GRATITUDE.
I guess these can all be summed in the core practice of BEING present WITHOUT NUMBING OUT – as Pema Chodron tells us
Thank you Waylon and readers for being in my life. Wishing you all happiness in 2009. May you connect with the necessary energy to follow your resolves this year.