Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Springtime Reflections on a New Year's Resolution

I love running in the spring when it seems as if the whole world is waking up again. Gardens in my neighbourhood are already decorated in the brilliant colours of tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, and other spring flowers, and it will only be a matter of days now until the azaleas, dogwood and cherry trees are in full bloom.

As well as lifting my spirits, springtime inspires me to revisit my new year's resolutions to see how I'm doing. This year, I kept my list of resolutions short and have managed to stick to most of them so far. More regular exercise? Check. More patience with unending home renovations? Check. More time with friends? Check.

The one resolution I've struggled with is the one I wrote about here a few months ago -- that is, my resolution to "love fearlessly". What I meant by that was that I wanted to try to care for others without worrying about whether they deserved it, what it might cost me, or whether my love would be returned in the ways I wanted.

The yogis I know make that kind of love look easy. Their open-hearted acceptance of others shines through their eyes and faces. Their expressions say they know who and what you are but they love you anyway. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as they make it look -- at least for me.

And that's a shame because loving is a glorious thing in and of itself. All the individual acts of love -- giving, sharing, accepting, listening, understanding, supporting -- feel really good when I do them. Things only go wrong when I start to focus, not on the love, but on what I want or expect in return.

In another post, I wrote about "wanting" and concluded it wasn't always such a bad thing. I still believe that. But wanting too much or wanting things I can't have can be painful and uncomfortable for all concerned -- which of course begs the question, why do it? Rationally, doesn't it make more sense to just love without wanting or expecting anything in return, trusting that in the fullness of time what goes around comes around, sometimes in unexpected ways?

As a general rule, I think so -- which is why I used my run this beautiful, uplifting spring morning to recommit to that new year's resolution: to love fearlessly, with optimism and hope and without expectation, and to be genuinely grateful for whatever love comes back to me.

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