by BCBP Editor

By Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila
new year happy
Making New Year’s resolutions is not just resolving to do better in the coming months, but I believe we should also see 2014 as a time for healing hurts and disagreements, a time to let caring and concern turn hatred and anger into love, as a time for counting our blessings instead of our complaints. A time for change, a time for revolutions within us, a time of personal transformation.

This year let’s look at the New Year as a time for understanding our neighbors, our country men, our family members and ourselves by really listening to what they are saying (including their body language) with our heart instead of just with our intellect. This is a time to get in touch with the child in us, so that we can look at life through fresh eyes untainted by what others think and say.

These coming months are a God-given opportunity for us to learn new truths, discover creative and better ways of doing things, to look into ways to blend the old traditions with the modern pace of life. We should make it a time for sharing – our resources, our time, our skills and talents with those who need most our help, especially those affected by the storms of 2013, as well as with those who have less in life than we have.

Lots of good advice comes our way. Several years ago I received this short verse from one of my radio program listeners. To me this short piece of advice seems like the ideal way to meet the New Year head on. It goes like this:

Remember to forget things that make you sad;
Don’t forget to remember things that make you glad.
Remember to forget those who are untrue,
Don’t forget to remember those who stood by you.
Remember to forget troubles that come your way,
Don’t forget to remember the blessings of everyday.

I was struck by this message … yes, the New Year 2014 is a time to look forward, a time of anticipation, but it is also a time to remember, and to forgive and forget. But most of all, “don’t forget to remember” is a much needed reminder to take time out to treasure the happy moments, to thank the people who are our friends, and to thank God for the blessings received during the past year.
new year revolutions
In one of the more interesting articles I read over the holidays the author opined that it is useless to make resolutions as these are only desires, easily amended and/or forgotten. He believed that we must make “revolutions”, meaning that we should focus on one thing/bad habit/wrong behavior at a time and make a great, positive and revolutionary change. Instead of dreaming and desiring, he said we need to take dynamic action in transforming our lives for the better.

This is a new way of looking at our usual list of resolutions for the coming New Year 2014. Yes, we need to dream, but even more importantly, we must take action to make these dreams into a reality. How? By thinking out of the box, by being creative, by being enthusiastic, and by taking action.

Our life today is not a dress rehearsal! It is the real thing, we are alive, this is LIFE! We are the leading ladies (or men as the case may be), the mga bida, in the life we lead. We should not stand at the wayside and let others manipulate and direct our lives.

Unfortunately, I have met some people who seem to live unconsciously, following a routine that seldom varies from day to day, taking their lives and everything around them for granted. They seem to be waiting for something wonderful to happen to them … it is as if they were existing in limbo but not really living.

I recognize them because there was a time in my life when I was also just living, or should I say existing, robotically, just going through the motions. It was only when I became aware of the pointlessness of my existence that I began to discover the real meaning of life and the wonder and excitement of living every moment.

What was missing from my life at that time was a true sense of enjoyment, of contentment, and of happiness. I began searching for these qualities. Soon I discovered that enjoyment comes from being aware of the simple beauty of life that God had surrounded me with. That contentment is making grateful, faithful, fruitful and joyful use of what I have, whether it is little or much. That happiness is a quiet, perpetual rejoicing in small events. That life revolves around what we are alive to, that beauty can only be seen through the eyes of a happy heart, and that ‘being’ is as important, even sometimes more important than ‘doing’.

As soon as I began practicing these discoveries in my everyday life, WOW! My life took on new meaning. I enjoyed waking up every morning to the challenges of the new day. I welcomed every moment in anticipation of the something good that was going to happen. I can see now that this was the “revolution” taking place in my life as I became increasingly aware of the underlying rhythm of life and my part in it.
new year awesome
Since that time, my New Year’s resolutions have focused more on the revolutionary and transforming changes that I will actively and purposefully focus on, one every month, step by step, until this transformation becomes a habit. I then nourish the habit so that it develops into a virtue and integrates itself into my character.

This is my desire for each one of you, my friends, that you will also be able to experience a revolution in your life in 2014. The new year opens wide a new door for me as it does for each one of us. The new year offers us a fresh path to travel on, an exciting mountain to climb complete with storms and rainbows along the way. Yes, today is always the first day of the rest of my life. And I resolve to make the most of it, today and every day. May our Lord prosper not only the work of our hands but also the revolution in our hearts. Let this revolution be our desire and action to transform our existence into the aliveness of life that God wants us to enjoy.

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Suzanne-Marie English January 19, 2014 - 3:16 am

And, I meant to include this thought: The Three Gates — Is it True? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? makes a perfect resolution for 2014 — in fact, any new year! And, not just for the habit-changing period of one month — but, for the entire year…And, the good thing is, we can keep on “renewing” this New Year’s Resolution, with no idea that stumbling negates all of our efforts! THE best new year’s resolution and very doable, it seems to me! Thanks again, Nancy, for your obviously excellent work and for your voice. “Happy, blessed, fruitful, peaceful and joy-filled” 2014 to you and yours!

Suzanne-Marie English January 19, 2014 - 3:11 am

Good day, Nancy R. Catan! Isn’t it great how the Internet can bring people and worthwhile ideas/efforts together? In browsing to see the various places that my book (and movement), The Etiquette of Kindness, can be found/is mentioned on the Internet, I came across your article by the same name (published on your site, here @ 14 mos. ago) and, was immediately “taken” with the thank-goodness universality of good efforts based in kindness-in-action! Now, considering your January article here, re. new year’s resolutions, you may be interested, as well, in this:
This is The Etiquette of Kindness’ (on FB, and at 31-Day Three Gates Challenge! You are, most likely, knowledgeable about the test for our words — & our actions, as well, of course: Is it True? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? These simple questions (found in variations in cultures and traditions around the world), when used mindfully as a filter for our thoughts-words-actions can make huge Life changes, right this minute, right now! It’s definitely a “challenge” to get this right — all of the time (who does this?) — OR, at the very least, most of the time (very doable!) in our daily lives and interactions with others. The beauty of The Three Gates as mindful questions, is that, every effort and small, individual success in this brings greater good, peace, loving kindness — AND, equally wonderful, is that when we stumble — when we “mess up” (because, it WILL happen!), we can begin again — immediately! Is it True? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? — three little questions to bless us and our world! Simple! Thank you for the work you do, Nancy, and the mindfulness you are helping to bring! Every bit, everywhere counts!!


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