Choosing a personal New Year’s theme is serious business, but only if it is seriously inspirational. The last thing we need is the pressure of a resolution. We’ve all seen how ineffective and prone to failure those can be, and even if we trade in our resolutions for intentions, we still risk falling short.
Personal New Year’s themes, on the other hand, are not about determining to change our ways or accomplish some great feat. They are less about focus and more about fragrance. They are simply about setting the stage for the desired ambience of the next 365 days.
A New Year’s theme could be a single word, such as hope, trust or adventure. Scriptures also offer myriad themes. Other possible sources of inspiration include a poem, song lyrics, or a great movie line. In fact, anything that resonates deeply with how we want to experience life can serve as a theme.
Amidst all these possibilities, choosing a theme for this New Year might seem like a daunting task. Yet, it doesn’t need to be. After all, there is no wrong answer here. There are no rules, and unlike resolutions and intentions, there is absolutely no commitment required.
In order to prevent my own perfectionist tendencies from making this more complicated than it needs to be, I am simply choosing my theme based on something I heard recently in a podcast. The fact that I liked it enough to replay it until I had an accurate transcription told me that it was worthy of being my theme. If it serves me all year long, great. If not, I can always change it as the year progresses.
Therefore, I am beginning 2017 with the following quote from Elizabeth Gilbert as my personal New Year’s theme:
I want to live in a world full of explorers and generous souls, rather than people who have voluntarily become prisoners of their own fortresses. I want to live in a world full of people who look into each other’s faces along the path of life and ask, “Who are you, my friend, and how can we serve each other?”
The reason this quote is so meaningful to me is because I was a voluntary prisoner of my own fortress for nearly thirty years. Breaking Out of My Self-Made Box did not happen overnight, but I am grateful that it happened at all. In fact, it was through being liberated that I understand more deeply what it means to be an explorer and a generous soul.
Not only that, but I was so focused on accomplishing and achieving that I didn’t take the time to look into the faces of my fellow sojourners, let alone make love and service my aim. I’m ashamed to say, then, that the world Ms. Gilbert doesn’t want to live in is a world that I helped to create.
Yet, now that I have been set free from all that, I want to help create a different world. That is why my New Year’s theme contains the fragrance of adventure, generosity and compassionate connection. That is why I ask you now with all sincerity, “Who are you, my friend, and how can we serve each other?”