It’s the middle of January and that means that it’s the middle of the month of New Years Resolutions. Maybe you made some that you are sticking to, have already forgotten or struggling with. Maybe you are still formulating, or still intend to come up with a few (like me ☺️ ). I have always considered January 31 is the unofficial last day for making New Years resolutions. Of course, we can make any other resolution at any moment of any day. Or not. Maybe you can’t stand the idea of resolutions – I mean, what’s the point? I love to ask my friends if they are making resolutions, and if they are willing, then to share some of theirs with me. Some of my friends scorn the idea – why make a resolution that one is bound to break, and perhaps feel bad about the ‘failed’ attempt. Others’ love resolutions and go to great lengths, identifying themes and workshopping ideas as the clock ticks towards midnight.
I am one of those who loves resolutions. Rather than think that I may or may not meet the goals I initially set out – what inspires me most is that leap of faith – that I dream of doing something and I just might get there. In fact, research shows that setting resolutions sets us up to be more likely to reach somewhere we aspire to. However, what I learned leading up to this year, added another dimension that I hadn’t considered, and that sets me up for my resolutions for the year ahead.
In The World Could be Otherwise, Norman Fischer celebrates the imagination. He writes, “The imagination is powerful. It creates its own self-validating truth strong enough to effect inner and outer transformation… Imagination isn’t an escape from reality. Imagination deepens and enriches reality, adding texture, depth, dimension, feeling and possibility.”. He describes the path of the Bodhisattva (those following the Buddhist path) – and the impossibility of achieving the ideals, including eliminating suffering for all beings. He clarifies that, “The saving grace of the bodhisattva ideal is that it is so outrageously extravagant, so absurdly imaginative, that we are clear from the start that we can never realize it. It is literally impossible.” His message, though, is universal. “Ideals become problematic when we take them literally, holding ourselves to impossible standards. Ideals are ideal. They aren’t real. To the extent that we expect to realize them, we become frustrated.” And, so we come to his formulation of the role of imagination on our path – whatever that may be. “We need a wider, deeper, more altruistic vision of who we are, for we are bigger than we look – as big as our imaginations project us to be.” And to the central message of his book, “All we can do is keep on walking toward the… horizon, inspired by the bright vision ahead, content to never arrive.”
Where might your imagination lead you this year?
Wherever that may be – I wish you a magnificent journey on your path.