Thursday, January 01, 2009

starting the new year off right


Happy New Year! And thank you for forgiving me for being a slug-a-blog. The reasons for my recent absence are many, ranging from a radical computer crash to a ridiculous work schedule. And I'm going to be really busy over the next few months. HOWEVER...... I intend to exert Herculean effort to keep this blog afloat. That will be my top new year's resolution.

So I'm starting the new year right with a cup of freshly brewed Starbucks and my blog. As soon as I post this I'll be visiting my neglected blogging buddies, for whom I have a question: are any of you having problems uploading photos? I am, all of a sudden, which is part of the reason I've been missing.

I've always had a weakness for Dear Abby, especially when she publishes one of her repeat profundities, such as these universal new year's resolutions:

• Just for today, I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I won't set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once. I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

• Just for today, I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.

• Just for today, I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I can't.

• Just for today, I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires thought and concentration. I won't be a mental loafer.

• Just for today, I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I'll improve my appearance, speak softly and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I'll refrain from improving anybody but myself.

• Just for today, I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll quit. If I'm overweight, I'll eat healthfully -- if just for today. And not only that, I'll get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.

• Just for today, I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my actions.

Each year I'm impressed with these suggestions as is I've never heard them before. I believe they are based on the 12-step program of Al-Anon.

In today's newspaper Abby added the following from a resident of New Delhi, India:

Dear Abby: This year, no resolutions, only some guidelines. The Holy Vedas say, "Man has subjected himself to thousands of self-inflicted bondages. Wisdom comes to a man who lives according to the true eternal laws of nature."

That's a mouthful, eh? Lately one of my themes with The Child has been that of explaining to him the difference between man-made and universal or natural laws. I'm not sure how this started. It may have been one time when he observed me blatantly driving through a red light. It was very early in the morning, nobody was around, and I was in danger of being late for my obligation. There was absolutely no traffic, so I drove right through a red light, openly defying the laws of man.

The Child issued an alarm from the back seat: "MOTHER!!!! How could you DO that???"

Thus launched the whirlingbetty version of man-made vs. universal laws. I argued that there was no way on earth that I could possibly hurt anyone by cautiously disobeying that traffic signal. (Mind you, I don't make a habit of it. I've done this maybe 4 times in my life.) The only thing that really matters is whether or not I am hurting any living thing or any material object.

Then I explained that I have natural "laws" for myself which don't exist in man's legal system. There's no man-made law against hurting people's feelings with damaging words, yet I choose to set this boundary for myself, and whenever I am living consciously, I follow this law.

I've pointed out that the animals live according to the laws of nature (except in cases where humans intervene). The result? They're happy, content, free of mental and social illness.

The self-inflicted bondages in the above message from New Delhi do not refer to traffic signals, but the more insidious bondages set forth by our egos. We tie ourselves into knots secured by the ego's attempts to control our lives, to control other people, to control outcomes. It's only on those rare occasions when we relax into our natural state that the truth, the truth of nature, sets us free.

Nature intends for all of its creatures to be happy and free, like the birds joyously shirping outside of my window on this frigid winter day as they pluck berries off the trees. My new year's goal is to remember that.

15 comments:

Loving Annie said...

Happy New Year 2009 to you Betty !

Living in the present (rather than dwelling in the past or future) is really important.
It means that you are genuinely living your life - instead of letting it pass you by.

The difference in man made versus universal laws could be an entire semester's class in college !

Loving Annie

Laurie said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR BETTY and CHILD!!
Glad that all is well there....

Starbucks!!!Oh yeah!!!

I know what you mean about not
making any resolutions...I can't
keep them anyway...

Josh does the same things to me...
I will be at a red light...A RED
light...And check my phone text
message...I don't text back till
I'm at a safe place but he gets
SO mad...Our boys would get
along great I think...

Try to take it easy...Don't push
yourself to hard :)

HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!

Betty said...

Dear Annie,

Your comment made me start thinking about some valuable classes that could be taught in college. Or earlier. Hmmm....

Happy new Year,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Laurie,

It's good to see you again! I missed my blogging buddies.....

Hugs,
Betty

Dust-bunny said...

Hello, Betty!! I hope you and your son are doing well. I've been absent from the blogging world as of late, but had some time to catch up today, seeing that I'm out of work...haha

I actually have the newspaper clipping from years and years ago of that particular Dear Abby column! I thought it was great then, and I still do now. It's advice is timeless.

Lynilu said...

I like that you are teaching Child about the different laws. Learning to respect the laws of nature are in my opinion, one of the most important things in life. I think if we understand and respect those law, life lends itself to living a comfortable life with less stress.

(I hate to point out that your logic about being late due to the red light is flawed; rare is the light that takes more than 45 seconds of our time, and in the big picture.....?) Sorry!

Betty said...

Welcome back, Dust-Bunny! Yep, I think Dear Abby hit the nail on the head with this one. And I'm sorry to hear about your job.......

Many hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Lynilu,

The particular traffic light in question is notorious in this city- it's actually 4 minutes long! I did shave 4 minutes off my driving time........

Hugs,
Betty

Mary Ann said...

I'm glad you're ok and I hope you keep blogging.

I only run orange lights because in Saint Louis they have these nasty cameras that photo your license plate if the light's truly red. Hrmmmph.

Lynilu said...

:D OK, I'll grant you that one. But just this one time! LOL!

Betty said...

Dear Mary Ann,

Yep- we have those traffic light cameras here too. Not every light has one, though, thank heavens!

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Lynilu,

Don't worry- I'm not one of those drivers who runs late, then puts everyone else's life at risk while speeding to work. basically I'm a laid back and considerate driver, trying not to take out my problems on innocent people!

Hugs,
Betty

Monogram Queen said...

Yep I do believe you ARE starting the New Year off right! I've missed you and look forward to your blogging again Betty! Happy New Year!

Big Dave T said...

Happy New Year! I was checking in as I wondered if there were any joy in mudville this morning there. Speaking of your neck of the woods, seems like I heard some troubling news about a home invasion where a child was taken and left at a rest stop a couple hours down the freeway.

Well, my New Year's resolution is to stop being a wimp about some things. Stand up! Take charge! Take chances! Well, that's the resolution anyway.

Loving Annie said...

Just came by to say hello and see how your week was :)