January is the time for new beginnings, a new year, a new decade and all that. People are flocking to the gym to get rid of that spare tire around their waist, are going on diets to improve their eating habits. Others are getting prescriptions to Cialis so they can be ready anytime anyplace (presumably in two separate bathtubs for intimacy–which I still don’t get).

Serenity is Cheap

New year’s resolutions are sometimes like the old adage your eyes are bigger than your stomach approach. That’s when we plan vast projects with half-vast ideas. But now is not the time to get down on ourselves and beat ourselves up, that is what the current economy is for. No, now, like every day, is to try and get a handle on our lives and try to live them as best we can, with however much time we have left. Today is new, tomorrow will take care of itself and yesterday is over an done with. If we constantly worry about tomorrow, we miss what’s going on today. There is a way of doing both without messing up what needs to take place today.

History is another thing which tugs and tugs at us. It’s just the way I am. Do you like that? Do you like the way you are, now? Do you want to do something different? Do you want to act another way? Life really is an adventure, sometimes we may know the outcome and sometimes the outcome is beyond what we know. A good, no, great way to live in the present and to “be all you can be” is to take a moment or two in your busy day for quiet. It can be part of a lunch hour, or in the car/train/bus/boat on the way home. And it doesn’t cost a penny. There is no service charge no exorbitant percentage rate added on to a running tab. It is the Examen of Ignatius of Loyola. An easy in your mind time to assess how things are really going in your life, right this moment.

It follows 5 easy steps:

1. Become aware of God’s presence. You are not alone. There is a being who loves you as you are right now, this minute and not what you could be. If God is Love means anything to us, then we can neither please nor displease God. God loves us no matter what. We cannot make God happy because we do good things nor make him unhappy when we do bad things. Keep that in mind. It really helps to get rid of the guilt and the sense of doom that some small minded evangelicals and really really conservative Catholics would have you believe.

2. Look over your day so far and all the good things that have happened. You are alive! The air, the view, the people, all these reinforce the fact that you are alive. Run them like a movie in your imagination (Remember imaginationit’s that thing we used to have when we would day dream and not text on the phone.

Relax

3. Listen to your emotions and feelings as you review the day. Some things have brought you happiness, small things, large things. What brought a smile to your face so far?

4. Stay with one feature from your day so far. As you think of that one thing, what made it enjoyable? What would you like to hold on to as you progress through the rest of your day? Was it something that you enjoyed in a group? Was it something you delighted in on your own. Just sit with it.

5. What’s the plan for the rest of the day or for tomorrow?Now we can look toward the rest of the day and tomorrow (if you do this in the evening). How can I continue to feel the good stuff when shite fly? Design a workable plan that you can really accomplish and try and stick to it. Tomorrow you will reflect on how well you stuck to the plan and improve and modify it so it gets even better. This is not a time for unreasonable judgment, just a quiet time for being real.

The key to this is to be gentle with yourself, not an inner master who judges everything.
The best part is that people will never know if you screw up or succeed, only you will, and God of course.

And so it goes…