Five ridiculously easy resolutions for 2015

January 8, 2015 Originally published on SFGate

Work out more? Eat healthier, get up earlier, meditate, do more yoga, have better sex, quit whining so much and lose a few pounds and be nicer to all baristas, wait staff, meter maids and UPS drivers? Damn straight. Also, sort of easy. Herewith, a wider swath, more winking and inquisitive. For 2015, maybe try…

1) Deeper knowing
Everyone’s walking around with 10,000 photos in their pocket. No significant human moment can ever again exist without an accompanying photographic record, vast and nearly instantaneous. Millions of humans spend thousands of hours per day skimming the poorly lit, superbly foreign, awkwardly framed lives of relative strangers, and aren’t even sure they’re much the better for it.

Mmm, pikchers

Mmm, pikchers

Meanwhile, a recent news blip declared that Instagram has “officially” surpassed Twitter in overall subscribers, which is entirely meaningless save for one haunting detail: We’re more image obsessed than ever; all surface layer, snap judgment, selfie-everywhere mania, with barely a word to caress the imagination and nourish the soul.

Is it true? Has our addiction to insta-image really supplanted language – be it a book, essay, poem, article, email, or phone call – as primary human connector? Has the power of language to draw you into realms of wonder and love been swapped out for photo filters and sharing apps? If a picture is worth a thousand words, how can words still convey a thousand aspects of the human heart that a picture can never even touch?

Resolution: Discuss this conundrum at length, and over some great bourbon, at your next dinner party. Take photos of the discussion. Compare.

2) Truer footing
Have you heard? The world is on a fast track to an inglorious apocalypse, sooner and crueler than once imagined. War, disease, terrorism, drone warfare and Ebola, hard drugs and rogue cops murdering civilians in the streets; everywhere you look, it’s just outrage, despondence and where the hell are my meds.

The catch? It’s a total lie.

Can you even handle it? The jarring fact that, on the whole, there has never been a better time to be alive on the planet? That we have never been, as a species, so healthy, long-lived, well-fed or peaceful?

Get this: Every major, world-tracking stat we have indicates that the planet is actually far less violent, deadly, ravaged by war, illness, crime, poverty and oppression than at any time in human history.

Why don’t we believe it? Because we’re addicted to our cynicism. We’ve been convinced violence is natural and unavoidable (it’s neither), that the world really is out to get us, that it’s somehow cool to act all gloomy and irritated as you sip your artisan coffee and watch a live feed of happy monkeys dancing in Balinese rainstorm on your miracle phone.

Do not misunderstand. Serious problems abound, some potentially fatal. Just because we’re less of a mess than ever, doesn’t mean we’re not still a raging mess.

But pessimism is easy. Fear is boring. Resolution: Tell all those voices of doom and cynicism – be they priest, politician, pundit or pitiful, puerile prognosticator – to STFU. You know, in a nice way. One of those voices might be your own. In which case, you might want to try…

3) Harder spanking
No, not your kids. No, not your dog or your panicky inner child or your shocked and cagey spouse.

Your ego. Your relentless, spasmodic inner chatter, that madhouse swirl of doubts, judgments, fears, suspicions, wants, likes, opinions, convictions, melodramas and flagellations that always seems to culminate in a fatalistic insistence that you are somehow flawed and “broken,” that the world is aligned against you, that no one “gets” you, that you’re isolated and cut off from what’s important, when in fact, you’re actually essential to it.

Resolution: Get over yourself. Spank yourself into reality. You cannot destroy the ego, nor should you try. But you can tame it, befriend it, humble it, calm it down and put it back in your pocket like the tiny, helpful tool it occasionally is.

4) Screw the tiptoeing
A dear friend informed me she just lost her father, just prior to the holidays, a loss which really knocked her for a loop. His, she said, was an often difficult, rough-hewn type of love, gnarled and challenging, but one that was housed in a simply enormous heart that pumped out a dramatically outsized life force, one that both empowered and shook to the core everyone he knew.

As a result of the passing, my friend has been spending more time with her brothers – which, prior to the loss, was no easy task unto itself, given all those shaken cores.

Be not afraid. Be not unafraid. Be both and neither, simultaneously.

Be not afraid. Be not unafraid. Be both and neither, simultaneously.

But now, a shift. A rare opportunity reveals itself, shot through with a lucid, overwhelming realization: There is nothing left to lose, and there never really was.

“Screw the tiptoeing,” she said, regarding all the raw, honest talking, sharing, opening up she and her brothers are attempting, like never before. Because really, why the hell not? “Life’s too fragile, and too damn fleeting not to be more open and compassionate and real,” she said. Amen.

Resolution: Try this modality yourself with those who give you challenge, sans the difficult loss as a prompt.

5) Sweatier entanglements

What are you afraid of, looking silly? Different? Non-boring?

What are you afraid of, looking silly? Different? Non-boring? You gonna wear a slouchy gray hoodie your whole life?

What, you think you have copious amounts of time? You think life is going to sit around and wait while you “process” everything, analyze it into paralysis, wonder what his skin really tastes like or what really make her eyes sparkle and swoon?

This ride will be over in a blip of a wisp of Shiva’s hiccup. If you’re waiting for a sign, a shove, some sort of permission from a god, a leader or a snarling radio host, I have news: It ain’t coming. Not from there, anyway. That sort of information – juicy, deep, full of resonation and mystery – never comes from external sources.

Resolution: Go inward. Mingle harder. Taste better. Sweat cleaner. Touch with more intention. Penetrate all the way in to the meaning. Lick all the way down to there. Be not afraid. Be not unafraid. Be both, and also neither, simultaneously. F–k the paradox. If not now, when? If not here, where?

Read more here:: Five ridiculously easy resolutions for 2015

Mark Morford

About Mark Morford