On Birthdays and Intentions


On Birthdays and Intentions

I’ve always been a list-maker. It makes me feel safe – all those things that must/should/could be done chase away any doubts, for a while at least, that there is no purpose to this earthly experience. Then I think, so what? Just take each day, each hour, and be grateful for every blessing, whomever or whatever bestows it.

But each year, on my birthday, which conveniently nearly coincides with Yom Kippur, I take time to consider, to reflect on, my year, my life, and, always, commit my intentions for the next year to writing. I keep this in my “to do” file, sometimes tucked away, but always near-at-hand. Sometimes it makes me feel secure; most times it brings close the realization of my indolence about making real change. Oh yes, there is always the proverbial “eat less, exercise more,” but also some deeper, and thus more radical, intentions, propelled primarily by my Buddhist readings.

Letting go. I’ve been working on this for a long time, and when I find that I’ve made progress on one issue, several more arise – those that have lain fallow, yet festering in their own ways. No one said Buddhism was easy.

Being kind. Easiest with strangers and acquaintances, don’t you think? Those closest to us, those we know, really know, and love, how difficult it is to accept philosophies, behaviors that we would run from in others. And acting kind seems much easier than having that gentleness enter my soul. To sit, to listen, to accept without judging, even in my thoughts – that’s surely a multi-year, perhaps multi-life, intention.

Being authentically interested in others. This goes way beyond politeness, past making sure that we have eye contact and not glancing at our cell phones. I’ve found that one of the advantages (perhaps the only advantage) in having a hearing problem, is that I am forced to listen, to give my full attention to whomever is speaking to me so that I can figure out just what they’re saying. It takes all my energies, all my concentration.  And I realize that I am the one who is rewarded by this – at least most of the time.

So, there you have my intentions for the coming year. They are not new ones; they are not easy ones; but they’re mine, and I’m sticking with them!

Another Sunday, www. cynthiastrauff.com

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