The start of a new year inspires many of us to reflect on the year that just ended and to set intentions for the year to come. I’ve never been big on new year’s resolutions. I’m not really sure why. Perhaps it always seemed a bit cliche; return to the gym, eat healthier foods, learn to do something new. Blah, blah, blah. Maybe the word “resolution” just sounded too harsh and inflexible. What happens in February when I wasn’t feeling up to following through on those resolutions that I proclaimed just a month earlier? That would feel crappy. And who needs that?
But this year, I am feeling a bit different. I recently saw a short video called the “The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude” and was so moved by this simple little experiment. If you have not seen it or heard about it….check it out here:
And if you are too busy or just not inclined to take a look, I’ll give you a quick summary; expressing your gratitude will make you a happier person. Seems kind of obvious, but I also know how easy it is to slip into the habits of worry, fear, complaining and general negativity. We all know that habits are to hard to break. And for me, I think that is why taking on new year’s resolutions sort of feels like a set-up for failure. So instead of resolving to break undesirable habits, I am letting myself be guided by inspirations. Like expressing gratitude each day. In addition to the happiness project, I saw a few people share a FB post about creating a gratitude jar for their family. Each day, everybody writes down something they are grateful for and drops the piece of paper into the jar. At the end of the year, you can read all the things that were written down. It made me smile and I felt like that shouting “Yes, I want that in my life!” So I am going to do it. And if we forget to drop our notes in the jar one day or one month, no big deal. Creating new habits, even good ones, can be a challenge and just putting the jar out there is a fine start.
In addition to feeling inspired to express gratitude with more regularity, I’ve been re-inspired by music and have been noticing how songs can shift my mood so intensely. Nothing really new…that is what this blog is all about…the music that moves me. And that movement goes in all sort of directions; sometimes up high, full of beats and fist pumping energy and sometimes it brings me down low, to a place of deep contemplation and sadness. Powerful stuff, for sure. And the reality is that music never really stopped “moving” me, I was just getting stuck at the writing part. So in 2014 I feel inspired to share more of my musings. And I am realizing that they don’t need all to be profound, insightful or beautifully written. But as I said earlier, habits can be hard to break. And the perfectionist in me can prevent me from moving towards the place where my heart desires to be. But I also know that each day is opportunity to create new habits, habits that bring me to a happier state of mind and a more authentic and true self.
As I sit on the plane writing this blog entry…a song from one of my 2013 playlists came on and it immediately catapulted me to so many different places. The initial strumming, plucking and upbeat-ness brought a rush of joy and toe-tapping happiness that filled my heart and then seconds later the tears were rushing down my face. I felt like I was hearing the song for the first time, which I know is not the case. But the words, the sentiments and the intense emotional ride expressed through the flow of the music made me FEEL it, and I mean really feel it, for the first time. Like I said, powerful stuff. No need to write more about it. Just listen. You may even consider looking away from the screen the first time so that you can really listen to the song and not be distracted by the video. As always, thanks for reading.
“You & I” by the Crystal Fighters
Oh and keep in mind that I was only listening to the words as I had no internet access and was not watching the video. Imagine my surprise when I saw that video actually incorporated the lyrics!