Is only one enough?
As always, I drive alone to Lowlands Beach on the first day of the brand-new year to make my New Year’s Resolutions.
But as I drive there I decide I’m not going to burden this day with lots of resolutions.
I’ll choose just one.
One with wide implications.
I park the car and walk down the wooden steps to the pristine beach facing the windy Southern Ocean. Although it's summer in Australia, the skies are grey. Rain hangs on the horizon. White sand squeaks under my feet and a cold breeze from Antarctica plays with my hair. Not only is the year brand-new. As I stroll along the beach, I feel brand-new too.
I watch the waves roll in. They’re high and mighty as they hit the boulders offshore, sending spray skywards. Then they tumble over rockpools and race up the beach. By the time the waves tickle my toes they’ve lost their power. They recede with a soft hiss.
Usually, one draws inspiration from waves. Their power and sound. Their constancy, variety and beauty. But this morning, as I stand alone on the shore watching them, they come to represent my endless, repetitive thoughts.
I’m mesmerized by the waves rushing to shore, just like I’m mesmerized daily, moment-by-moment, by relentless thoughts. It’s time to decide to ignore them.
Yes. I smile, sensing my New Year Resolution taking shape.
I walk down the beach, weaving a wavy line as I move out of the way of some of the more insistent waves, pondering the power of insistent, continuous thoughts. I have a habit of taking notice of every thought, believing each one must be important and true, merely because they exist. I live in my head much of the time.
It’s time I learned to ignore most of my thoughts.
My mind can only deal with one thought at a time. So, if I continue to pay attention to thoughts I should ignore, there’s no space or time to pay attention to thoughts that are worth paying attention to.
What I’m going to choose to ignore this year are the time-wasting thoughts in my head. I won’t tell them to go away or get annoyed for having them. I’ll just ignore them. Let them be.
What will happen?
Thoughts will continue to roll in. They’ll be high and mighty as they hit the boulders in my brain. They’ll tumble over rockpools filled with previous thoughts and race up to the forefront of my mind, demanding attention. But I won’t give them the attention they demand, and they’ll lose their power and recede with a soft hiss. Just like the waves on the shore.
Some things are worth ignoring: junk mail; dust under the bed; the nightly news; snide remarks; advertising jingles; rude drivers; fast food outlets; screen pop-ups . . .
Some things are worth taking notice of: signs of Spring; a child’s eyes; an old building; clouds; hungry humans; moving music; birds in flight; stained glass windows . . .
It’s the same with thoughts.
Some are worth paying attention to. But most are worth ignoring. In 2021 I'll sense the difference.
As I retrace my steps to the car, I thank Lowlands Beach for once again giving me a New Year’s Resolution.
Yes. One really good New Year’s Resolution is enough.
With love, Marlane
Make a New Year’s Resolution to take the FREE 7 Day Mindfulness Challenge. It’ll change what happens in your life in 2021!