Tag Archives: resolution

Mindfulness in 2016: A Silver Bullet Resolution?

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On this New Year’s Eve morning I spent some time reading the blog entry I wrote exactly one year ago today, “Mindfulness in 2015: A Silver Bullet Resolution.”  I liked what I read.  That’s a nice blog post, I said to myself.  I was proud of it, proud of the writing and of the sentiment expressed but very disappointed in myself. In the assessment of the previous year in light of this particular resolution, I had clearly failed. You can follow the link above, if you like, to read the entry in full, but for now, let me just quote the passage here where the actual resolution is made:

I resolve in 2015 to be more mindful and to find opportunities daily for meditation practice.  And to conclude, I want to make a short list of areas in my life where mindfulness may become particularly handy.

Simple enough, yes. And the short list of areas wherein mindfulness may come in handy? Last year I listed these: mindful drinking, mindful working, mindful parenting, and mindful creativity. Now, I’ve said that in the year 2015 I failed in my resolve.  That’s how I felt at first–on a gut level. Perhaps, that is not the best approach to take here.  Perhaps, it would be safe to say that I was more mindful in 2015 than I was in 2014. Let’s say it’s true, and that, by itself, is something, isn’t it? But I did not meditate daily or even find opportunities to meditate daily. My drinking was not nearly as mindful as I hoped it would be. My school year was as stressful if not more so than the previous year, and this school year is shaping up to be a stressful one as well. Take a look at “Against the Wall: A Teacher’s Manifesto” for an assessment of how things are going in this particular arena. It is possible, but not verifiable, that I had fewer struggles with my son this year than I have had in previous years. So there may be some gains in that area, and maybe mindful parenting resulted in fewer gaskets blown overall. As for creativity, my fiction writing has stalled and sputtered quite a bit, which is really the writing I want to be doing most, while my poetry and my blogging was quite successful in terms of words written and posts published.  Musically, it’s been a bad year.  The monthly songwriting has suffered. As part of a songwriting circle we’ve been writing six songs a month since 2004; this year, we were successful less than half the time at producing anything at all. But I guess that part of the practice of mindfulness around creativity would be about accepting what comes as a gift and not beating oneself up when nothing comes at all. It’s not a personal failure. It is what it is. Right?

To me, mindfulness has to do with being right with the world and being right inside the head, to simply be conscious and intentional about what it is we do, why we do it, and how we respond to the world, to our experiences, and in our relationships . It has to do with our relationship with and understanding of The Four Noble Truths: life is suffering; suffering has causes, those causes can be discovered, and through practice of the eightfold path there is a way to minimize suffering or at best transcend it. That’s the key, isn’t it, to understand what causes us to suffer and to take steps to minimize such suffering.  This is, at least, the way I understand it, and I envision a meditative practice as being helpful toward feeling more balanced, feeling unhinged less often, reducing stress, finding clarity about issues that bug me, and ultimately, suffering less.

So I just stole this blog post title from last year’s, changed 2015 to 2016, and then I added a question mark at the end. Mindfulness was not a silver bullet for me in 2015.  Perhaps, my expectations were too high. Maybe I was not thoroughly committed. When I was most successful, during a single week in July, I had companions, a sangha, if you will. And this might be a key element in finding more success with this resolution, which, I think, is worth trying again–even if I fail again.  I need to take a class. Go to a temple. Find a community.  Try yoga. It’s too hard, nearly impossible, I think, to go it completely alone. Let’s try a new and improved resolution for 2016:

I resolve in 2016 to be more mindful, to find opportunities daily for meditation practice, and to seek out a community, some companionship on the journey.

That can’t be so hard.  Happy New Year friends, readers, and strangers.

 

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#99: It Sucks When There’s No Resolution

Sometimes I argue with my poems.
Sometimes, I write things I don’t believe, just to try them on.
I just published a poem that claimed that good fiction sometimes
has no resolution–and in that way–good fiction mirrors
this same aspect of living–that often, more often than we’d like,
issues, problems, and conflicts go unresolved.

Certainly, that last part is true.
I’ve experienced this many times, and recently,
within the last month, I’ve found myself
in the throes of a conflict for which there was
no resolution.  That’s not true.  I’d put it this way:
there was no satisfactory resolution.
That’s life for you all up and down.
It sucks.  It hurts.  It bugs.
It nags.  The wisdom says, let it go,
and the wisdom would be correct,
but this is difficult work,
some of the most difficult work we do,
and sometimes we fail.  

But in fiction, an ending must be
satisfying–even if it does not resolve–
and in this way, yes, a resolution can
be that there is no resolution–but it still
has to satisfy, satisfy someone,
particularly and most importantly,
the writer.  And in my own fiction,
I realize, probably as a hedge against
(and not a reflection of) the realities of living,
I have penned the resolution that I found
most satisfying.  Call it wish fulfillment,
if you like, but I prefer the idea that in
the imagination we can solve problems
or envision the world in a way that might
embody itself in reality some long night
into the future, or because we have imagined
the opposite scenario, we’ve told an ugly
truth about the way things are and not
the way we’d like them to be,
we’ve created a potential
for change in the universe.

Bringing_Your_Plot_to_a_Good_Resolution_photo_FINALIZED

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#98: Sometimes the Resolution is No Resolution

In fiction writing, or in reading fiction,
it’s important to understand that
sometimes the resolution is
that there’s no resolution:
there’s no way it can be solved
or fixed or for all parties
to see eye to eye about a
situation they’ve disputed.
And the reason it’s that way
in fiction writing and in reading fiction,
at least in good writing and reading,
is because it’s this way in reality
as well, that rarely are things tied
nicely in a bow, rarely is everything
figured out and settled to everyone’s satisfaction.
And if you want your fiction this way,
and if you want your life this way,
the truth of the matter is that you don’t
want good fiction writing or reading
and you don’t want the life we’ve got.
You want something else altogether
and you will be disappointed over and over
when life doesn’t mirror your particular
brand of story book resolution.

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