Dear Me in 2016,

As you look forward to 2016, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the milestones achieved last year and what challenges you’d like to take on in the coming year.

In 2015, you transitioned from a full time job to become a stay at home mom. Your stress level has shrunk to a nearly undetectable level most weeks, and that is a major accomplishment. Before you quit, you envisioned a developing spiritual life through a deepening meditation practice, but in reality, you meditated once since you quit your job. In 2016, continue your efforts to know thyself with a more formal meditation practice. Be it walking, writing, or sitting meditation, spend some time every day in your own head to learn what makes you tick.

This year has seen it’s share of political upheaval from the fantastic humanitarian equality of marriage act to disheartening terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, to the heartbreaking plight of Syrian refuges and their dismissal, exclusion and shunning by so many in your own country. While celebrating the advances in gay rights, you watched your old friends from church post closed-minded, cruel, and un-Christ-like missives. You read political vitriol from all sides, and as the year progressed, with all of the negativity you read, you didn’t give in to your desire to fight. You didn’t rise to attack, defend, or de-friend.

Now it is time for you to get off the silent side lines.  In 2016, continue to avoid the fight, but seize the opportunity to bridge the gap between you and friends/acquaintances in social media who hold different views. Find an cherish the middle ground that you share.  If you believe it takes all kinds of people to make the world go round, be an example to your daughter of how to bridge the divide, to find loving ways to reach out to those with different views, so she won’t learn to ostracize people for their differing beliefs.

You put some effort into acknowledging your proclivity to grasp – to seek out the new as a mechanism to escape your present. As a crew broke ground and started to build two larger houses across the street, you recognized the familiar feeling of desire and observed it without judgment. You reminded yourself that you love where you live and this life of yours, and you let your mind do what it does without conflict to feed or snuff out the grasping. In 2016, continue this practice of observing your responses without judgment, and without feeding them.

You entertained thoughts of radical downsizing and fantasized about buying a tiny house, and though you’ve watched three or four episodes of Tiny House Hunters and Tiny Luxury, and spent some time searching for floor plans on-line, you DID slow the train down enough to identify the underlying desire driving the flurry of grasping activity: to minimize the needless stuff in your life, and to focus on the truly important things (namely people) in your life. In 2016, devote time to reducing the amount of unnecessary stuff that you own, work to break the tethers of obligation that some items carry with them, and perhaps most importantly, work hard to bring less unnecessary stuff into your life in the first place.

You are spending good quality time with Zoe, though you sometimes have to remind yourself that QT is more important than the thing you are doing right now.   That thing she is pulling out of your lap, or using as a doodle pad, or licking. In 2016, work to balance one-on-one time with Zoe to deepen your relationship, and asking her to keep herself entertained to develop her coping skills and imagination, to provide you with some time for yourself.

You have realized that parenting a two year old takes patience. She is learning how to navigate the world. This is not a singular event, like turning on a light switch; it’s a long-term commitment to repeating a series of small demonstrations of how you’d like her to respond to things, sprinkled between her own observations of how you and her dad actually do it. Those observations will be more significant to her, and more deep-seated in her psyche, than any discussion or active teaching moment you can devise. In 2016, walk your talk. Be assertive, don’t whine, be kind, clean up after yourself, be generous, and be loving to others and to yourself.

This year, you decided to devote more of your free time to writing. You started the year off with daily writing exercises, devoted some time to plotting your book, and in mid July you created a blog to focus your writing, and to share some of your adventures. So in 2016, take a writing class, get back to basics on daily writing, and continue sharing your adventures on the blog.

And finally, your fitness goals for 2015 crashed and burned with a mid-fall cold, and you never got off the matt. So get up now, dust yourself off, break out the rain gear and Zoe’s stroller, and get ready to hit the trails, the mall, or at least the treadmill. You logged 814 miles last year, let’s make 2016 the 1200 mile year. That’s 100 miles per month, that’s over 3 miles per day. Aggressive, definitely; but timely and even imperative for your health and longevity.

So here’s to you in 2016; to deeper exploration of who you are, to building bridges that challenge your compassion and your comfort zone, and to loosening your grip on grasping.  Here’s to living in your present moment more fully, to shedding the unnecessary stuff that is cluttering your life, and to embracing and honoring the wonderful people who grace your life. Here’s to putting pen to paper every day, seat to meditation cushion every day, and foot to pavement every day. Let’s live up 2016 to the fullest, because, as the saying goes, today is the only time we are sure to have, and it’s a gift, that’s why they call it the present.

All my love,

Misha, in 2015.

All right big wide world: what are your 2016 New Year’s Resolutions!! Hit me with them!!