Given the increasing commentary on of the folly of resolutions, perhaps you might like to join instead in the practice of creating a theme for the year. This year feels like an obvious choice based on 18, or Chai (pronounced “hai” in this case, as opposed to Indian tea). The word is made up of the 8th and 10th letters of the Hebrew alphabet, Chet (ח) and Yod (י), forming the word “chai,”Chai meaning “alive,” or “living.” Perfect for a guy who soon will be releasing the book, ALIVE!. 2018 is about fun, play, spirit, joy, compassion, kindness, love, service, and contribution.

It seems like we are collectively more than usual and more than ready to let go of the past year. Perhaps you feel overdosed on discord, division, and disgust about politics. More than ever, we can benefit by accentuating the positive. When we affirm life and we are energized by positive emotions, we are more effective in creating a better world. If you have not yet “consciously completed” the past year, it may be useful to take some time to forgive, let go, and grieve before moving forward. The year closed with the passing of my “de facto step-dad,” John. We have less love in our lives and it is an especially great loss for my mom. As the new year begins, my mother-in-law is seriously ailing. There is yin and yang in everything. Part of being fully alive is having permission to feel the full range of emotions. To live the high highs, it may be crucial to allow and to experience the more challenging feelings. It’s exquisitely difficult to suppress emotions selectively.

I hope you will join me in intending to be fully alive this year. What are the little and large practices that will support you in your theme of Life for 2018? One I started was switching my watch face from various digital information to Mickey Mouse, who when tapped, will tell me the time. A good reminder to put playfulness before precision. I’m going to give or throw away 10 things a day (on average) for the year. Less clutter equals more energy for life. I will start my daily meditation with a smile and finish with a few minutes of laughter.

The past months have featured an exploration of spirit, service, and contribution. I’m excited to see how surrender will lead me to be more of myself and to give more to the community … a reminder, of this favourite from George Bernard Shaw:

“This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can.”

My purpose is to inspire this true joy. May you be fully alive in 2018. To life, the Year of Chai.

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