A few weeks ago, I suggested that in lieu of making well-intentioned but, shallow resolutions, we plow forward into the New Year, intent upon digging our personal furrows a little deeper. As any good gardener knows, you've got to dig deep when planting to loosen the soil and expose any barriers to growth beneath the surface.
Taking a good, hard look at ourselves, from the inside-out, isn't always an easy thing to do. In fact, it can be downright scary. The prevailing philosophy is to leave the past in the past, and move on. It sounds good in theory, but doesn't work too well in practice. In fact, it may explain why some folks make the same resolution year after year, failing miserably in every attempt. Its worth taking the time and the risk to do a bit of soul-searching before making yearly resolutions.
From that year forward, I've made it a practice, to spend the month of January in self-reflection. I love to read, and look for any excuse to hit the neighborhood bookstore. I make my way with a little handful of clipped book reviews, titles and authors, and try to decide in what direction I'd like to dig.
This year, I found myself headed to California the first week of January, to meet my two-week old grandson, Padraig. I had mixed emotions about my trip. I was most anxious to spend time with my daughter's family, but realized that going to California would force me to confront some personal issues I'd been struggling with for several months.
I'd already heard about the book and was intrigued, as it details the author's fall from grace into alcohol and drug addiction. Beck, a controversial television personality, narrates his struggle with, and eventual victory over, his own personal demons. The book is coauthored by psychiatrist, Keith Ablow, who provides a running commentary on Beck's narrative.
The two, who met on a work assignment for a cable news station, became good friends, while realizing that their life stories had seven key principles in common; seven wonders that seemed to be essential ingredients for anyone attempting to transform their life. The book poses these seven questions, among others:
Where does the courage to persevere come from when everything seems hopeless? Why is it nearly impossible to succeed without faith? How much do family and friendships matter in our journey? How do we break down our walls and reveal our inner truths? What does having compassion really mean? How do you tell real friends apart from those who are holding you back? If there's no one to blame for your past, what do you do with your anger and resentment?Though my history and personal struggle differs from Beck's, I felt the book speaking to me, more so than anything I've read since I picked up, The Road Less Traveled! Beck's story is humble, yet profoundly inspiring. As I read, I felt the dark clouds I'd parked myself under, lifting.
The faith I'd lost in myself began to surface, and I was able to affirm, that I only had to dig a little deeper to overcome barriers of fear and self-doubt. With a little help, and a bit of digging, I managed to once again, unearth the strength that lies within me.
The questions quoted above, are from a Glenn Beck website. The words I've italicized are six of the seven wonders - the seventh wonder, is common sense :)
Photos by Mrs. Greenjeans, 2010