Of all the popular secular rituals that sometimes enrich (Thanksgiving family meals) and sometimes degrade (Halloween vandalism) our public life, my favorite is the custom of making resolutions at the end of the year.
I know that most of these resolutions are honored mostly in their abandonment and yet I still think they are a spiritually uplifting thing to do.
There does seem to be some evidence that making a resolution has some measurable statistical impact. Studies apparently show that those who make New Years resolutions are about a third more likely to fulfill them than those who make no resolutions at all.
We cannot ever change unless we explicitly name the behaviors that are blocking the better angels of our nature from taking wing. Twelve step programs owe much of their success in weaning people off drugs and alcohol to this process.
The best resolutions are, to my mind, those that shine a light on the little known, infrequently examined weak spots in your behaviors. Making changes in little things can give spiritual energy to the big changes we all need to be about.
So here is my partial list for 2021. Some, I am already addressing and others require a little bit of help from above and from within.
This year I resolve to:
Give to beggars. I always try to do this even though I am well aware of the counter argument that many of the street beggars are hucksters. Even so, I know we all know that to humiliate oneself publicly is embarrassing and just standing out in the weather asking for help deserves some form of acknowledgment. I now have a pile of dollar bills in my car to guard against the occasions when I have had the desire to give but I had no cash on hand. If you are still worried that you are enabling a drug habit, buy some fast-food meal coupons and hand them out to the beggars you meet along your way. Giving to beggars keeps your heart soft.
The rabbis who began rabbinic Judaism taught that when the Messiah comes (I guess Christian readers can substitute, When the Messiah comes again.) he will appear as a beggar at the gates of Rome, and when someone gives to him and bandages his wounds, he will announce himself. In case they got the city wrong and really meant to say Boca Raton, I want to be ready. I dont want to be the one who keeps the Messiah away because I am not carrying cash.
Curse less. Language is so powerful we must resolve to use the highest and purest form of language we know. Cursing is lazy talk. Cursing is angry talk. Cursing is not the way we should be using our words. I dont curse that much but I curse too much for my liking. Recently, when I wanted to describe someone or some group that is tearing our country apart with acrimony and prejudice cloaked in conspiratorial theories and political diatribes from both the right and the left, I have become enamored with the phrase to describe them, They are bat-s..t crazy!
I am not sure there is a satisfying clean language alternative, but I am seeking one. Perhaps in the year ahead I will call the nut cases in our midst, pathologically deluded. That phrase does not roll off the tongue with the power and ease of bat-s..t crazy, so I am still searching. I just want to curse less, and I want to understand more.
Take the vaccine. These miracle drugs will save us, but we need to be willing to be saved. Most folks I know are thrilled and anxious to get the shots, but there remains a sizable number of people who have decided, or who will decide, to wait and see.
For any new medicine that is generally good advice, but these vaccines are, according to very smart doctors and researchers, overwhelmingly safe and effective. Also, we need to get roughly 80 percent of our population vaccinated in order to achieve what the scientists call, herd immunity, which is the percentage needed to make us all safe, even if a few people still are not immunized. So, taking the vaccine helps you and helps all of your fellow Americans. It is a win, win, win, win.
May God grant us all a good New Year. Asking for a great New Year seems selfish to me. Good is enough right now.
Rabbi Gellman is the author of several books, including Religion for Dummies, cowritten with Fr. Tom Hartman. Send all questions and comments to The God Squad via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See more here:
- The spiritual healing path is a way to healing your mind, body, and spirit - ABC 4 - May 17th, 2021
- SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: Life (and traffic) returns to normal - Wicked Local - May 17th, 2021
- Time for a spiritual vaccine - The Times of India Blog - May 17th, 2021
- 'Run the World' is the spiritual successor to 'Living Single' we deserved all along - Yahoo News - May 17th, 2021
- DEBRIS Uses Science Fiction to Tell a Moving Spiritual Story - Nerdist - May 17th, 2021
- Spiritual Side: Food Distribution Drive-Thru in DeLand on May 15 and 29 - The West Volusia Beacon - May 17th, 2021
- Are You Experiencing Bloating? | Spiritual and Physical Wellness - ChicagoNow - May 17th, 2021
- CRiver: Church of God Mission gets first indigenous spiritual leader - Vanguard - May 17th, 2021
- Prince Harry feels US is his spiritual home as he gears up to welcome baby girl - The News International - May 17th, 2021
- Cause & Effect: Where is Your Focus? - The New Indian Express - May 17th, 2021
- Voices of Faith: Re-imagining the covenant as we mark Shavuot - Record-Courier - May 17th, 2021
- Between the lines: Do we have the spiritual grit our beliefs require? - The West Volusia Beacon - May 17th, 2021
- MENTAL HEALTH WEEK: It's Important To Remain Mentally Healthy And Spirituality Can Help - South Asian Link - May 17th, 2021
- Meghan Markle is Diana's 'spiritual heir' and 'Age of Meghan' will last for years - Daily Express - May 17th, 2021
- Spirituality - From one end to other - Goa Chronicle - Goa Chronicle - February 4th, 2021
- 8 Women in Spirituality to Know in 2021 - PRNewswire - February 4th, 2021
- Simplicity of spirituality - The New Indian Express - February 4th, 2021
- THE CREATIVE SOUL Podcast Explores The Intersection Of Creativity & Spirituality - Broadway World - February 4th, 2021
- Upcoming exhibit to show connection between lowriders and spirituality - KRQE News 13 - February 4th, 2021
- SOLOS goes on a spiritual journey with Bill Forchion - Brattleboro Reformer - February 4th, 2021
- Bring Me the Horizon's Oli Sykes Had 'Spiritual Rehab' With Monks at an Ashram - Loudwire - February 4th, 2021
- Skiing and the spiritual life - Arlington Catholic Herald - February 4th, 2021
- Spirituality for Millennials: Choosing quality over quantity is always a good idea - Free Press Journal - February 4th, 2021
- Horoscope, Thursday, February 4, 2021: Spiritual Day for Gemini, Love is in the Air for Virgo - India.com - February 4th, 2021
- Sophie Xeon passes away in terrible accident while being true to her spirituality - Republic World - February 4th, 2021
- Sundance's 'Son of Monarchs' Is the Spiritual and Scientific Anthem We Didn't Know We Needed - Daily Utah Chronicle - February 4th, 2021
- One of the last living spiritual sons of Padre Pio reveals what he learned - Aleteia EN - February 4th, 2021
- Vow of poverty: Jesuits to look at its spiritual, practical implications - The Catholic Sun - February 4th, 2021
- A holistic professional shares a guide to transform life through reflections, practical tools and spiritual wisdom - GlobeNewswire - February 4th, 2021
- Want to Know Your (Spiritual) Family's History? Then Read What They Wrote Southern Equip - The Southern News - February 4th, 2021
- Letter: Be spiritual all the year through - Grand Forks Herald - January 5th, 2021
- Spiritual direction: What is it, who needs it, and why? - The Catholic Telegraph - January 5th, 2021
- 'I see miracles every day': Hospital chaplain reflects on spiritual care during pandemic - Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal - January 5th, 2021
- Inspiration - The Abundant Empower Hour 01/04 by Universal Energy | Spirituality - BlogTalkRadio - January 5th, 2021
- Spiritual Editorial: Walk confidently In 2021 and always | Faith - NorthcentralPa.com - January 5th, 2021
- New Religious Fiction Novel 'The Chronicles of Assignments: Principalities' Presents Thrilling Adventure in Spiritual Warfare - GlobeNewswire - January 5th, 2021
- Spiritual Reflections: Remember to find joy the new year - SW News Media - January 5th, 2021
- 2020 YEAR IN REVIEW: Washington reflects on a year of 'Spiritually Speaking' - The Atlanta Voice - January 5th, 2021
- Spiritual politics in the world: Is it an utopian expectation? - WION - January 5th, 2021
- African-American Educator and Spiritual Leader Jay Vinson Offers Hope for American Youth - Publishes Powerful New Memoir and Devotional That Turns... - January 5th, 2021
- Ignatian spirituality in 'Wonder Woman 1984': The line between greed and the true more of 'magis' - America Magazine - January 5th, 2021
- Spirituality: This is time of year to make our dreams real - Norwich Bulletin - January 5th, 2021
- Surviving Death on Netflix, A Scientific and Spiritual Investigation into the Afterlife | Movie trailer - Prudent Press Agency - January 5th, 2021
- JI spiritual leader Bashir set to be released on Friday - The Straits Times - January 5th, 2021
- Spiritual Successors Are Keeping Iconic Game Series Alive, and They're Not Slowing Down - The Escapist - January 5th, 2021
- Landry: How to make spiritual New Year's resolutions - Grandin Media - January 5th, 2021
- Contagion Spiritual Sequel In The Works From Steven Soderbergh - Screen Rant - January 5th, 2021
- Generation Z and spiritual wellness The Famuan - Famuan - November 10th, 2020
- Pastor Paula White calls on angels from Africa and South America to bring Trump victory - USA TODAY - November 10th, 2020
- Spiritual Warriors on Behalf of Donald Trump - The Bulwark - November 10th, 2020
- COLUMN/PERSPECTIVE: The spiritual experience of hiking the Appalachian Trail - Brunswick News - November 10th, 2020
- NJAC Rededication: 1970 Revolution impacts spirituality and religion in T&T - Wired868 - November 10th, 2020
- US election 2020: Biden seeks spiritual comfort before maelstrom of 'loneliest job in the world' - Sky News - November 10th, 2020
- OPINION/SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: Were still in this together - Wicked Local Kingston - November 10th, 2020
- Inspiration - The Abundant Power Hour 11/09 by Universal Energy | Spirituality - BlogTalkRadio - November 10th, 2020
- Spiritual teacher Sri M comes out with new collection of short stories - Times of India - November 10th, 2020
- Morality, spirituality must be at centre of discussions aimed at lasting unity - Stabroek News - November 10th, 2020
- Yes, There Is a Spiritual Side to Having a Healthy Relationship With Food | RELEVANT - RELEVANT Magazine - November 10th, 2020
- Tokayev receives head of Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kazakhstan - Kazinform - November 10th, 2020
- Worldly concerns bleed into the spiritual realm | State - Southernminn.com - November 10th, 2020
- Trip to top of wind turbine offers spectacular sights and spiritual sensation - Wicked Local Plymouth - November 10th, 2020
- The strange tale of a former massage therapist turned religious leader & his 5 spiritual wives - The Independent - November 10th, 2020
- Study links daily spiritual practices to improved well-being and mental health - Baptist News Global - October 28th, 2020
- Brother Voodoo offers Marvel a chance to explore Black spirituality and acceptance - SYFY WIRE - October 28th, 2020
- Everything eco-friendly for the spiritual vibe - The New Indian Express - October 28th, 2020
- The Alchemy of Heartbreak and Hope: A Spiritual Practice for Our Time - Resilience - October 28th, 2020
- Chaplains and the role of spiritual care in Healthcare - The Laconia Daily Sun - October 28th, 2020
- As Witchcraft Surges in America, Is the Church Prepared for the Spiritual Battle? - CBN News - October 28th, 2020
- Spiritual Editorial: God Is With Us Through It All - NorthcentralPa.com - October 28th, 2020
- How this Indigenous architect designs buildings with Indigenous history and spirituality in mind - CBC.ca - October 28th, 2020
- PEARRELL: Our spiritual revival is not tied to who wins an election - Rockdale Newton Citizen - October 28th, 2020
- Amazing high school choir sings spiritual Down to the River to Pray from hotel balconies - Classic FM - October 28th, 2020
- A window on to Ram Kumars visionary and spiritual world - Financial Times - October 28th, 2020
- Are we experiencing a pandemic spiritual mutation? An approach from Kabbalah - The Times of Israel - October 28th, 2020
- Holly Courtier planned to go on spiritual journey, fast inside Zion National Park, family says - ABC 4 - October 28th, 2020
- Spiritual coaches aim to ease COVID-19, other health disparities in West Baltimore - Yahoo News - October 28th, 2020
- Indulgence for cemetery visits extended to spiritual visits and whole month of November - Aleteia EN - October 28th, 2020
- Russia is fighting coronavirus with prayers: a companion of Putins spiritual father has published a special book - Pledge Times - October 28th, 2020
- 4 Women of Color Share How Spirituality Has Helped Them Heal, Rest, and Resist - Well+Good - October 19th, 2020
- Tent revival focused on spiritual breakthrough | Religion - The Mountaineer - October 19th, 2020