Friday, January 01, 2010

JUST ONE RESOLUTION


welcome, originally uploaded by patryfrancis.

Most of the resolutions I've made in the past haven't mattered much. While it's good to work out or eat well, to write a certain amount of words or meditate daily, and it's salutary to get up early in the morning (a resolution I've made repeatedly, but never mastered) none of those are essential to a successful life as a human being.

Good will is something else. If I sold a zillion books or ran marathons till I was ninety-five, what would it matter if I failed at good will? It seems to come naturally to a few effortlessly benevolent souls I've known. The rest of us have to rise to it, wake up to it, to realize all the stuff that blocks it--envy, fear, ego--is a lie, plain and simple. Lately, I've begun to fear that I might be ash and cinder before I get there.

So that's my one resolution: good will.

Good will in the sense of wishing the best for others. All of them. The ones I love and the ones I don't understand, the ones who agree with my most cherished beliefs and opinions, and the ones who violently oppose them.

Good will to those who extend the same to me.

And good will to those who don't.

I also mean to work on the other kind of good will. The kind Kant described, which is more like determining to do what's right in all circumstances. He uses a word I haven't always liked, but now am inclined to embrace: DUTY.

Good will to get up and do the work that is before me that day, no matter what it may be.

Without excuses. Without grumbling. Without delay.

Happy New Year.

40 comments:

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Patry,
I think that is an awesome goal. If we do the very little things as individual people perhaps the world might just improve with the small steps we each take. So great to see you back and Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Zhoen said...

Well, I've found that excuses and grumbling and delay actually take a lot of energy, as well as suck out the joy of a day. Toss those out, and it's amazing how much more energy flows in.

Sarah Salway said...

This is lovely, Patry. ANd inspiring. Good will. Yes!

Ric said...

Happy New Year, Patry,
Resolutions seem to be something to mess around with on New Years Day and then berate yourself for not making it through the first weekend. Like quitting smoking or cutting down the amount of sugar I put in my coffee - good ideas, not likely to happen.
I have found - and I try very hard to do it every time - is to listen - stop talking and listen. People - all people want to think they are important - asking about them, their kids, their dog and they will brighten up, smile and leave both of you with a warm wonderful feeling.
I resolve to let everyone I contact tell me about themselves and I get lots of new character traits for my writing.

Lisa said...

The best resolution. Happy New Year to you and yours Patry. xoxoxoxoxox

paris parfait said...

Ah yes, Good Will (Hunting) or its twin sister Grace. I try to be mindful of both; not always easy these days. But I am trying to do better and be more tolerant of those who think the world revolves around them and their narrow way of thinking. As my friend Karyn always says "If they knew better, they'd do better." (Everything goes back to education, doesn't it? Not just formal education, but opening our eyes to the world and the human condition). Wishing you a wonderful new year, Patry, filled with much love, joy and possibility. xo

Marla said...

Hi Patty,

That is the best resolution I've ever heard!

I am so making it mine too....

Marla

Allie said...

Patry, that is a wonderful resolution! It's so worth keeping! Happy New Year!

Laura J. Wellner (author pseudonym Laura J. W. Ryan) said...

'tis the season for good will towards all...it's a lovely thing to practice year round as well.

Happy New Year, Patry!

Best wishes,

Laura (and my Fred sez "Hi" too!)

Patry Francis said...

Kia ora, Robb. I thought of you today when Flickr gave me the same greeting. I've looked for someone "out there" do "do something" too often in the past. Now I'm looking to what's small and possible.

Zhoen: You are so right. Toss them out!

Sarah: Nice to see you here. THank you!

Ric: An interesting observation. It seems the "don't" style resolutions, or even the highly individualistic ones often fail. But listening, or extending good will and compassion create their own transformation--both within and without. Happy New Year to you, too.

Lisa: Much love to you. I think of you often in the holiday season--whenever I set up the Christmas tree you, Carleen, and Karen sent during my dark time.

Ta

Patry Francis said...

Tara: Somehow blogger stopped me in the middle of my comment to you...But I wanted to say that your friend is a wise woman (like you, of course.) I, too, often feel as if I would be better and do better if I knew better. But fortunately, we all still have a bit of time. Happy New Year.

Marla: Oh, please do share my resolution. Perhaps we can keep one another on track!

Laura: I'm wondering how long ago it was that you, Fred and I (and Ric!) connected on PM. In any case, I'm happy that our friendship has endured into 2010. Wishing you and Fred all good things a shiny new year can bring.

Laura J. Wellner (author pseudonym Laura J. W. Ryan) said...

Looking at my journal entries, I think we first connected in late 2002-early 2003 while I was searching for an agent, my earliest file in the Publishers Marketplace folder is July 17, 2002, which is probably when I first stumbled upon the website...I didn't start consistently archiving my electronic journal entries until 2004...my goodness, how we have grown since then!

Dale said...

I'm finding a modicum of inspiration in "duty," too, these days. But not a whole lot :-)

I think you've picked the right resolution.

rdl said...

How did i miss this? "day late dollar short".
You ain't as bad as u make it sound. i can think of someone in yr. clan that ought to read this.
tho i had to smile at the last line,sister. :D

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!

Mary said...

I love the resolution too--and need one just like it! One question: does "without delay" mean start writing before reading blogs?

Lorna said...

that's an all-encompassing resolution. Worth it, though. And evocative of Margaret Mead, which can only be good.

robin andrea said...

Ah, good will. Something I know I lack for sure. I've never been able to suffer fools or anything else that annoys me to no end. I would like to be kinder, gentler, wiser, and yes full of good will. But my caustic side is actually what keeps me sane and not crumbled in a heap all the time. I'm not even sure I would know what living and breathing good will would feel like. I hope that you fulfill this resolution and share the fruits of this labor.

Happy New Year to you and yours, Patry!

Tish Cohen said...

As ever, Patry, you inspire.

I wish you a sparkly, happy 2010 filled with good will that comes from inside and out.

xox Tish

Maryanne said...

Patry,

I just read your last five posts--where have I been???--and each one moved me, as your writing always does.

I feel 2010 will start a brilliant new decade for you--for us all, I hope.

blessings xxx
Maryanne

mai wen said...

Hey, I always love the pictures you post with your blog, they are always so artistic!

I wanted to pass along an award my blog received. Keep up the great blog!

http://maiwen18.blogspot.com/2010/01/hmm-lemonade.html

Annie said...

Yes, beautiful, goodwill, kindness.
Happy, Happy New year to you to Patry. Always wonderful to see a new post from you. xoxo

Bill said...

Patry, blessings through the year and beyond.

Marilyn said...

and what a beautiful resolution it is. goodwill doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves. wishing you great and good things for 2010, Patry. xo

i beati said...

I like that one sandy

kylie said...

hi patry,
thanks for visiting my blog last week. it has taken me a while to get here and see you because i have been away.
goodwill to all is a very big ask but a good one. i wish you well
k

simplycol said...

I may have to borrow this resolution.. as it has struck a chord. :-)

Wishing you and yours all the best in the New Year.

steve on the slow train said...

Patry, I love how you referenced Kant. I've never been one for resolutions, but this is a beautiful one.

C.J.Duffy said...

Happy New Year. I hope this one proves to be better for you than the lst.

CJ

Kerstin said...

Hi Patry! Your post didn't show up in my reader so I am glad I checked back here anyway. Oh, this is such a noble and classy resolution. And perhaps the only way to stay true with it is to extend it to ourselves first. Happy (belated) New Year! Kxo

JP/deb said...

Good will.

Wishing the best for others - perfect.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I've never mastered the early rising but when I do, I'm so happy!!
Lovely post.

Beryl Singleton Bissell said...

In a time of darkness, you remind me of a basic essential. Good Will. I think I possess that. I seem to be forever working at it.

Ladyluck said...

Good will, good idea. It can be accomplished anywhere, toward others or all alone toward the self.

Regarding "Doubt", I agree: too ambiguous. I needed to know and had a sinking feeling at the end when I realized it would not be revealed.

Then, I realized that perhaps that was the point and that the ambiguity held a message. (of course, the literature teacher in me ALWAYS finds the author's intent) I finally decided that the movie was possibly saying that "one never knows who might be capable" and at the same time, "Be careful of creating what you only imagine."

Online Degrees said...

That is the best resolution I've ever heard!

Tinker said...

What an amazing, wonderful resolution,Patry! Imagine if everyone kept that goal in mind - it might just change the world...
Hope your year is filled with love, joy, health and loads of good will. Happy New Year, Patry! xo

twoblueday said...

I don't do resolutions, but your good will idea is fine.

i beati said...

it certainly makes my day sanyd

TaraDharma said...

practicing good will is one of the most difficult tasks...we are so conditioned to do otherwise. big payoffs when you can do it, however, for oneself as well as others. xxoo

Maryanne Stahl said...

namaste, patry.
happy new year.
happy spring.

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