1. the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

2. (usually commitments) an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action

It is said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. For those of you who made new year's resolutions, you can decide if this is true for all of your resolutions, some, or none. I confess that I gave up formal resolutions some time ago - in part, I feel like I should be looking inward often and striving to change the things that I know I should. The available time to make the required improvements is never quite enough, it seems. That said, a new year is a tangible time stamp for commemorating our hopes and opportunities for the year to come … a time to take stock and consciously consider what stays, what goes, and how we keep moving along that trajectory of having the life and becoming the person we know is possible.

The abridged list of my 2014 goals:

  • Read fiction. On paper. Real, bound books. 
  • Plant a vegetable garden. Water it. Eat what grows.
  • Learn to play the cello.  
  • Run. 
  • Stretch. Photographically. Spiritually. Be made just a bit uncomfortable by pushing the boundaries of the familiar.
  • Be present. While doing all of the above. While being a life partner (and canine companion). Appreciate the possibilities that exist in life and in love because really, I've been incredibly blessed.
  • Practice. Everything. Remember that "practice" implies imperfection continually striving for more.

It takes commitment to make these things happen - some more than others. And ironically, the commitment to some impacts commitment to others … the tension of absolute freedom and doing what one "should". Resolving the tension, finding the equilibrium … therein lies the challenge. And the opportunity.

How did my first 21 days of 2014 fare? So far, so good.

  • I've read some great fiction. On paper (2 books). On the iPad (2 books). I've loved them all.
  • The snap peas, (beach)radishes, and lettuce have sprouted. I water them. Sometimes they need to remind me ...
  • I have learned "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "French Folk Song". Elvis has stopped going in the other room … I take this as a plus.
  • I run. Some days. Elvis paces me. Though I'm sure he'd much rather stop and sniff trees. There's probably a life lesson in there somewhere.
  • I've begun taking daily pictures again. Testing familiar techniques on new subjects and familiar subjects with new techniques.  
  • I'm perpetually a little behind or ahead of the present. The body stays put while the mind races. So I run. Or play cello. Or water the vegetables. Or read. Or grab the camera. I try to put the cell phone away. I fail miserably most days.
  • I practice. A lot. Some days are more successful than others.

I remind myself that it's ok to be a little uncomfortable. And I'm committed to keep trying.

I hope that 2014 is off to a promising start for you - thank you for being part of mine!