Afraid of Failed Resolutions?

Do you have a big goal for 2016? Are you shoring yourself up today, with solemn vows, threats and motivational thinking, so you don’t quit by February?

Me too. Here’s a thought for today.

amateurs

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield was one of the best books I read in 2015. In it, he says the enemy of our progress is not the size of our goals but the “Resistance” we face in our daily attempts.

Yes, exactly! That’s what I do when I quit running or writing or practicing my French. It’s not even a conscious decision, it’s just that life seeps in the cracks, expanding and contracting until my resolve crumbles like busted up asphalt. 

That’s resistance and life’s not going to stop doing that. The professional shows up and hunkers down anyway, while the amateur sighs and rings in February.

I don’t suppose it matters much what you’re trying to do in 2016 –  lose 20, get out of debt, write a book, make your marriage better – the victory exists in the daily showing up, deciding to go pro.

pres4

But the professional is not dumb either, so rather than set a bunch of lofty goals I’m bound to fail at, I’ve crafted a few small ones, which, if I attend to them daily, should add up to something interesting in 2016.

Here they are:

  1. Write a little.
  2. Get on my mat.
  3. Drink water.
  4. Walk.
  5. Speak French.

Small and quotidian, without arbitrary quantities, (Science says that helps), each of them is something I enjoy, so if I will simply roll out my mat and get on it, or sit and my desk, I’m bound to stay longer than I planned. Over time, that adds up to interesting.

Pressfield who’s also written several heady books on Ancient Greece, says the question is not, did I write with genius today but rather, did I overcome Resistance? Did I sit down and try?

That is such a better question.

One more thought on the matter:

Do you ever wonder how King Solomon felt when his dad rolled out the plans for the Temple in Jerusalem and told him to build it?

Probably not, but I have.

“Uhhhh Dad?”

Here’s what David said to Solomon to encourage him, and it seems like a thought worthy of posting on the bathroom mirror this New Year’s Day.

stars6Remember, our part is to show up daily and act!

How nice that He promises to help us along.

Advertisements

Because It Is Beautiful.

Years ago in Colorado, I meandered through an iron foundry with a friend. Out of the rubble, he grabbed an old iron wheel. The spokes radiated from the hub in a most unusual way, curvy and intricate like S’s rather than L’s. It clearly took the blacksmith much longer to build it that way than with straight spokes.

“Do you know why it’s like that,” my friend, an engineer and blacksmith, asked.

“No.”

“Because it’s beautiful,” he said. “There is no other reason.”IMG_8494

Enjoying a little jet lag tonight, I’m sitting in our apartment in Nice, France with the gallerie windows open to the Port du Nice. Sailboats bob gently in their slips next to three-story yachts with navy blue hulls and tan, young men swabbing their already spotless decks.

Although it is dark, I can see all this because the port is ringed by street lights shaped like lanterns. But evidently, that’s not lovely enough, because they lamps don’t just shimmer on the water, every now and again they flicker, flash and change color. At the moment, they are green. Soon they will turn purple.

Do you know why they do that?

Because it is beautiful. There is no other reason.

Consider French architecture, art, fashion and food. The French cultivate beauty and finery for the sake of itself, which is perhaps the reason France is the most visited nation on earth. The United States is second and we have the Grand Canyon.

IMG_8496In addition, Nice Port and the Old Town are separated by a large tree covered hill, rising 300 feet above the Mediterranean. Until 1705 there was a castle there, but now it is a city park, a picnic spot with Roman ruins and long views over the turquoise and cobalt sea.

The park closes at night but all along the hillside the trees are awash with careful, deliberate landscape lighting, which also shimmers off the water in the Port below.

How delightfully unnecessary all this is, but at nearly 2am on a jet lag night, I’m reminded we are all capable of magic, and creating something that makes people linger and sigh requires no explanation.

Because it’s beautiful, is reason enough.

So, what magic are you creating?

How to Quote Your Cute Self on Pinterest.

Muir MountainsEver wonder how people turn clever quotes into text images for Pinterest and Facebook?

I’m guest blogging over at Blogging Bistro today, where I answer that question. I try out a bunch of text to image websites and make pretty things like this.

Blogging Bistro is a terrific resource for everything social media. I met Laura at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. She answered 30 platform questions I had in a about ten minutes.

Have a tool you like? Let us know. Happy Monday!