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Foundations in Venice

New Year’s Resolution

Your past is your foundation, and if it’s crumbling then you’ve got nothing left to build on.

― C.M. Stunich

It’s the time for those annual resolutions and I always make lists every year of the things that I want to do for myself, the things that I want to achieve, the things I would like to happen. In the end, maybe 25 percent of everything happens. On the other hand, if I didn’t write anything down probably nothing would happen.
In the end, it gets to be about promises to yourself and to other people. We all tend to say that we will do things that we don’t really mean to do and make promises that we don’t really mean to keep but we say them anyway because we figure it is expected or we figure it looks good and somehow New Year’s resolutions fit into that category. Things that we think people expect of us or that we might even expect of ourselves. But in the end we don’t do them.
I think that what we don’t understand, is that saying we will do something even in an offhanded way is a promise. I think that we don’t understand, what it does to us to break those promises even if what we say we will do is only in our head, only to ourselves.
A few years ago, I learned in a course that I took that because of all the “promises” I have broken that my life was like a Palazzo in Venice. Maybe it looks fine above the water but rotting and crumbling below it from all of the promises I have broken to myself and to other people. I have started “cleaning up” that rotting in my life, by making a new promise, by fulfilling the promise I made in the first place – paying off old debts, talking to people I hurt, cleaning up my mess. And it is amazing what is new when you start “honoring your word”. That has only been possible because I saw how much I was breaking my word in the first place .
So my promise to myself this year, my New Year’s resolution, is to mean what I say. To take the words that come out of my mouth as a “promise” and not as just something to say, to make people feel better, or to look good or because I think it is expected of me. And if I have agreed to do something, it will get done. And if it can’t get done for reasons beyond my control, I will do everything in my power to make it good and clean it up.
If I can actually follow through on this New Year’s Resolution, all the other things that I would like to get done in my life this year will pretty clearly fall into place.

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