1. Cultivate honorable relationships
2. Resist absentminded busyness
3. Live the questions
4. Pay attention to the world
5. Make room for “fruitful monotony”
6. Refuse to play the perfection game
7. Master the art of loving
8. Choose understanding over judgment
9. Make use of your suffering
10. Tell the world how to treat you
11. Use discipline to catalyze creative magic
12. Heed the intelligence of the emotions
13. Master the art of growing older
14. Walk your own path
15. Embrace your divine dissatisfaction
16. Celebrate enoughness
This stripped-down list, devoid of source and story, is thought-provoking but flat, so I urge you to treat yourself to Popova’s original list of 16 Elevating Resolutions for 2016 Inspired by Some of Humanity’s Greatest Minds over at Brain Pickings.
As an aside, when I sat this morning to type out the title of this post, not knowing yet what the title would be, my fingers automatically typed the title and first line of a David Helwig poem, and then the poem spilled out in its entirety from the cavern in my heart in which I’ve carried it for close to 40 years.
To write you no more poems.
No more, I tell myself, no more.
But still the words come out,
as once, as ever, as now.
I came to where I am
by growing where you were,
I sometimes find your words
are on my lips.
But you are gone,
you have your love,
and I perhaps exaggerate
as lovers do
to prove that they
are there at all.
Yet say again
that where I go on being
whatever it is I am,
you are there, you are there.
~ David Helwig
I don’t know which book of Helwig’s poems “Resolution” is from, I only know it’s not from Atlantic Crossings (Oberon Press, 1974), which has resided in my book collection since March 26, 1980. I know the exact date because it’s three weeks prior to the date stamped on the Calgary Public Library card inside “my” copy of the book.
I didn’t intend to steal the book, I swear. I just kept forgetting to return it, as I’m still wont to do, and then I moved to New Westminster, and it was easier to toss the book into a packing box than catch a bus downtown and return it to the library.
Perhaps I should make a New Year’s resolution: never steal another library book.
No, I don’t need to do that. I don’t abscond with library books anymore. Haven’t for decades. Now—and perhaps to assuage my guilty conscience, or maybe simply because I believe so fiercely in libraries—I donate books, dozens, often. Not to mention how I’ve bolstered the operating budget of many a library with the payment of my overdue fines.
As another aside, I just found out this morning that David Helwig is the father of poet, novelist, and Anglican priest Maggie Helwig, who wrote Girls Fall Down, a novel selected for the Toronto Public Library’s One Book campaign in 2012. And look at this: the TPL has a program where you can buy a book online and support the library at the same time. For people who shop for books online and (reformed) accidental book thieves, it’s an innovative way to support local libraries. I hope it catches on.