New Year Evolutions, Part 1

I’ve read article after article this past week about New Year’s resolutions. How to make them. Why to make them. How to forgive yourself when you fail to keep your resolutions. That’s why I avoid making them.

Then I stumbled across an article that prompted me to think differently. Not about New Year’s resolutions, but about how I make small, seemingly inconsequential, decisions every day that define how I feel about myself and the way my life is unfolding.

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Pruning Roses

Lately I have been thinking a lot about pruning roses.

About how the rose thrives when its roots are strong, reaching into and meshing with a rich soil full of the right nutrients. About the skill and art of pruning the rose, finding the place where the rose is strongest and healthiest to make the cut, so the growth that emerges from the pain of the shears strengthens the plant.

As I thought, I realized something else. Something I knew from pruning countless roses but had never really thought about in terms of living my life. That pruning…real pruning…doesn’t cut away just the remnants of the bloom…something that has outlived its usefulness, but real pruning cuts away healthy, living parts of the plant in expectation that what replaces it will be better and stronger, the entire plant healthier from the loss and the healing.

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Glass Bottles

Glass Bottles

As a teenager I collected glass objects that were unique and interesting to me. Prisms, figures, telegraph insulators…whatever…but mostly bottles. In the end, the collection became only bottles.

The bottles were occasionally cooking oil bottles or storage jars, but most often wine and liquor bottles. As others learned of this collection they gave me bottles they thought special or interesting and in time I had a fairly large collection.

After a while, I found my collection a bit dull, especially the clear bottles, and devised a way to add more variety and color to my display. I filled many with water, adding food color in different combinations to add life to the shelves that held my collection.

Like many things we do in our youth, the collection lost its appeal. I threw my collection away when I left home, and did so without a thought. I remain fascinated by the seemingly infinite variety of shapes and sizes and colors of glass bottles that continue to find their way to my eye, but now when I see a uniquely shaped bottle I find my mind drifts to another place and another thought. Read more of this post

Strong Roses

For most people, the rose carries significance because its many varieties provide combinations of color, texture and fragrance that have been associated with almost any human activity or emotion. Roses help celebrate love, marriage, birth, accomplishment…and offer encouragement or solace in times of recovery, hope, pain and loss. Their appearance in a bouquet, a vase, or in a garden can provide pause…creating a powerful emotional response.

I grow roses as a hobby. When I spend time in my garden I often wish people could see them as I do. I really see roses as a symbol, maybe even a metaphor, for approaching life.

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Evolution Thinking


Something to share:

When I was in my mid-20s, my life went through a series of major changes over the period of a year or so. Some of these changes were forced upon me, some I chose to make happen, and some seemed to present themselves as opportunities that called out to be seized because they felt right in that moment.

During this time, I read a profile on Dr. Jonas Salk, the man who led the development of the polio vaccine. Dr. Salk was working in a small village in Africa, treating people who had never had modern medical care of any kind. He had been doing work of this kind for most of his life after the polio vaccine was completed and the article profiled his life’s journey and the observations and lessons he’d learned along the way.

What caught my attention was Dr. Salk’s concept of living consciously and his own life as something that was in a constant state of evolution. The words below were included as a sidebar to that article and affected me strongly enough that have served as guidepost for my approach to life for years. Read more of this post

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