Effort and Surrender

I know it’s not cool to make New Year’s Resolutions. But I can’t help it. I love a new year, fresh starts and newborn resolve.

New Year's resolution

In this spirit, I’m making a New Year’s resolution, although not the goal-oriented traditional kind. My resolution consists of two words: effort and surrender. In 2014, I resolve to explore the meaning of those two words and their relationship.

Historically I am the effort-type. I inherited my father’s drive, his get-it-done spirit, his unspoken agenda to work first and ask questions later. But a few years ago, I started asking questions while working, the ultimate act of multi-tasking. I wasn’t finding inner peace or the solution to the world’s problems (much less my own) through work, so I dropped out of the working (full-time) world and went back to where it felt safe to ask questions– school. I dove deep into the surrender side of things that was evidently, latently, patiently waiting inside me to be discovered. I returned to my first love– reading. I discovered that taking a writing class is essentially taking a reading class. I stayed home, a lot. I nested. I saw friends and family less often. I wore yoga pants outside of yoga class. I may have, it’s hard to admit, worn pajama pants to drop a package in the FedEx box a few times. I considered becoming a professional hermit.

All that sloth, all that surrender, had its moments. Necessary release, the feeling of right. But all that do-nothing-ness wasn’t helping me to make new friends or write or clean my bathroom.

It took twenty years of work to cause me to question that path and two years of sloth to do the same, which tells me a lot about my proclivities.

Tattered Cover

And that brings me to here, 2014. A year in which I want to explore not one or the other, but both effort (work) and surrender (sloth). Their necessary-ness. The idea that you can’t have one without the other. And maybe wouldn’t want to. The in-breath and the out-breath.

To kick things off, and to counteract my emergence from the shelter of surrender, my first monthly experiment of 2014 will be heavy on the effort end.

January: A month of working out.

For each of the 31 days in January, I will work out for at least an hour. I’ll be striving for a mix of cardio and weights/resistance, but if the need arises, I’ll surrender to an hour of walking.

I’ll probably stick to my old familiar favorites, running, walking, yoga and weight-lifting… Unless somebody’s got some suggestions? Do you have any recommendations for me? A class I should try? Wanna lift weights together? Go for a hike?

I’m open to suggestions, folks.

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