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A New Year’s Message

by Barb Casper

I am sure you have read articles on how to make and keep New Year’s resolutions. Most likely, you may have already resolved to make some significant changes in your life this new year. On the other hand, with everything that is going on in the world, you may be feeling change is beyond reach and your LIFE has been placed on hold by outside influences and the ‘powers that be’.

News flash! LIFE will continue despite others telling you how to live, what you can and cannot do, and where you can and cannot go. Your life and your physical body, where your heart and soul reside, belong to you. The decisions you make on how you live your life are yours and yours alone. Your heart and soul knows what is best for you and that is all that matters.

Social norms, despite being considered the acceptable rules of conduct in social groups, communities, workplaces, schools, states and nations, are often fallacies.

Still, somewhere along the line, you may have accepted your life and decisions don’t fully belong to you. Instead, you may have opted to strictly follow the beliefs, rules, influences and opinions of others. Unfortunately, your life has been molded and formed by the influence of others since the day you were born.

Here are just a few of the social norms, influences and beliefs we have fallen for:

  • women are expected to carry out household chores/men are supposed to be the bread winners in the family.
  • to be successful and make a name for yourself, you need to get a good education, get good grades, go to college and earn that acronym after your name.
  • you should be married, have kids, have a fabulous home and a fancy car.
  • the more you have, the more of a star you will become. Fame and fortune are important.
  • “he/she is just a drifter, dreamer, a partier, a low-life.” He/she needs to settle down and get a job like Johnny or Susie.
  •  anything less than perfect is unacceptable.
  •  everyone should look like Twiggy. Proper body image and facial features are sold to us by the media we consume. i.e. television shows, movies, sports and in fashion, beauty, and advertising.
  • blue collar work is menial and not as meaningful or as important as a white-collar job.
  • you’re a baby if you show your emotions. You should pull yourself up by your boot straps and ‘get it together’ right now.
  • you should always obey authority figures – ‘follow the guidelines, the rules and the letter of the law’.
  • you should listen to faulty authority to validate a popular opinion. (i.e. after all, pop stars, actors, athletes, and political figures know what they are talking about because they are well-known even though they may have no expertise in regards to the subject matter at hand).
  • it is okay to judge others for their personal values, opinions and beliefs. ’I am right and you are wrong and I need to defend my belief.’
  • it is acceptable to disallow others from speaking their opinion because it is not  in congruence with my own opinion.
  • you should always do what the popular opinion does. (i.e. ‘a million users can’t be wrong’; therefore, whatever they are doing must be the best, correct or only way!


Wow! That’s a lot to take in! Think of the power you give to others by not living your life the way you choose to live. Your life is a gift you have been given. This gift is uniquely yours to share and only you, after spending time in self-reflection and becoming  consciously aware, will know who you are and what you are capable of giving and becoming.
That brings me back to New Year’s resolutions. There are several prevailing factors and falsehoods related to New Year’s resolutions:
  • Ancient practices, such as New Year resolutions, become a social norm and ingrained into our cultural celebrations because they have been around for a long time. New Year’s resolutions actually began in ancient Babylon almost 4,000 years ago.
  • Peer-pressure is part of our culture. Therefore you may feel pressured to come up with something to work on for the new year. The fact is, you don’t need to wait for the new year to create a new beginning. Change doesn’t necessarily conform to a specific time frame. Make a change when it feels right and as and when it become necessary.
  • If the last two years have taught you anything, it’s that you can’t really plan for anything. As hard as you try, it is important to recognize you can’t control LIFE and what does or doesn’t happen to you. The universe may have something far different in store for you than how you believe things should turn out. This doesn’t mean you should stop living and simply wait for what is the inevitable! Rather, it is important to LIVE your life on your own terms and despite whatever circumstances and difficulties you may encounter. Accepting anything less for yourself will result in you living for others rather than for yourself.
  • Resolutions and goals focus on outcome. My question then becomes, when is enough, enough? If you are always striving, focused on the end result and your goal-oriented life discounts all that is good in the present moment, can you ever be truly satisfied?
  • When it comes to reaching your goals, you will often find that the the path or process in ‘getting there’  is often much more satisfying than the end result. Experiencing and expressing gratitude for all you have allows you to find satisfaction and happiness in the present moment.  (i.e. my recollection and memories of my softball days is all about the friends I made and the fun I had. I don’t recall my batting average, the errors or catches I made, or even how many games we won or lost. It was all about the experience and not the outcomes).
  • Many resolution makers tend to set vague and non-specific goals. Often a resolution is outlandish, over-ambitious and, therefore, unrealistic which results in the maker just giving up. Another social norm, I forgot to mention above, tells us giving up is equivalent to failure. This leads to self-blame and shame which is no way to live your life. There is no shame in failure. Life is a learning process and every failure is a lesson. To be perfectly honest, I have learned so much more when I have failed than when I have succeeded. Success comes easy and I have found it is in the difficult times when I have grown the most.

 Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting you just amble your way through life. It’s a highly positive thing to focus on reaching your full potential. However, the path in getting there is flawed.

Goals are focused on the future and all about external achievements; achievements deemed necessary by society’s standards of a successful life.

Intentions, on the other hand, are lived each day focused on the present moment, and independent of achieving a goal or reaching a destination. Intentions are all about your relationship with yourself and others. Intentions are internal and about self -actualization. An intention is about creating and giving of oneself for the betterment of yourself and all other living things.

In summary, even though there continues to be a great deal of uncertainty and stress in the world,  LIFE is to be savored and enjoyed. It is time to give thanks regularly for every moment you experience and live in celebration of all that you have been given.

LEARN by spending time WITHIN and begin to accept yourself and others as is. LIVE WITHOUT by letting go of your ego. LIVE WITHOUT by letting go of the need to achieve, to win, to be successful or behave in a certain manner. LIVE WITHOUT by letting go of the pressures and unrealistic expectations you place upon yourself.

Through self-reflection you can begin to love and be who you truly are: a treasure, a gift, and a miracle being of light, made of energy and the ancient elements of stardust.1

You have been blessed with capabilities beyond your comprehension. You share this planet with as many as 8.7 million different forms of life. It is humbling to recognize you are but a speck, a microcosm encapsulating in miniature the characteristic, qualities and features of something much larger than yourself. Still, you are made of the same elements that compose the earth, the mountains, the seas and the cosmos. You are one with the whole,  and you have much to give, my friend.

Your soul purpose is to live naturally, freely and with joy in your heart. Spread life’s blessings with everyone and every living thing, and give back in reciprocity for all you have been given. Respect and care for yourself,  all other living beings, and your wondrous and magical Earth home.

That, my friends, is what LIFE is all about.


1. Humans are made of stardust
1.  What is the body made of?

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