Happy New Year

preserved lemons

I'm making preserved lemons today.  I love the ritual of shaking the jars, waiting for seven days to pour olive oil over the salty wedges.  I like to imagine all the things I'll make with them in the coming months--Moroccan chicken, salad dressings, antipasti platters, or stirring a teaspoon of the brine into my cottage cheese.

At the gym this morning, I read in the ever-illuminating Self magazine that Carrie Underwood doesn't really do New Year's resolutions. She just tries to be her best every day.  Puke.  That's good and well if you're a size 2 millionaire, but the rest of us need some strategies. Thumbing through my journal this afternoon, I tortured myself by looking at my resolutions for the last two years.  In 2008, I really went overboard.  I had resolutions for myself (too many), and a lot of hopes for the world.  I get tired just looking at that list.

In my business--the development and psychology of groups and organizations--we distinguish between technical and adaptive challenges.  Technical challenges are the sorts of things you can put on your calendar, and the kinds of resolutions we all need to make from time to time--"Learn some accounting skills," or "Get life insurance."  Adaptive challenges, on the other hand, are another thing entirely.  I can't put, "Be more contemplative" on my calendar for Monday morning.  And even things like "Eat healthier" are adaptive challenges.  There's something in us that needs to grow over time before we can cross those things off our list.  And we might never be able to cross them off.

After 2008's ambitious list, here's all I could find for 2009:

As the new year approaches, may my heart, eyes, and ears be open be open to all the numinous things in the world.

And this quote from Rilke:

Let everything happen to you; beauty and terror.
Just keep going.  No feeling is final.

For 2010, I might copy and paste.  If I really understood that "no feeling is final," what might happen?  And let's face it--no matter how esoteric I get, I still have to make notarized copies of all my important papers; teach Wyatt how to tie his shoes; and make it to the gym more often.  Using my preserved lemons is a goal I know I can achieve, though.  Chalk another one up for the kitchen.

with Wyatt on Christmas Eve day