At last week’s Reflect & Connect gathering, our conversation on resolutions got me thinking about the best resolution I ever made.
It was very simple: to look up at the sky more often.
It happened about 25 years ago. At the time, I was feeling pretty lost. I was nearly done with a master’s degree program in classical singing—a big, brave thing I’d plunged into with all my heart.
And it wasn’t working out.
I loved singing. When I’d begun the program, I thought I’d found the meaning of my life—my vocation, that one beautiful, pure thing I was meant to be doing in this world.
But soon it became clear: I just wasn’t good enough to make a go of it professionally. My heart was sad and tangled up in shame, disappointment, and confusion. Who was I if I wasn’t a professional musician? What was I supposed to do now?
One winter night early in the new year, as I was walking home from the subway, I found myself looking up at the sky. It was very cold out, and very dark, clear enough that I could see way more stars than usual, even with all the lights of the city.
Have you ever looked up at night, and it’s just so beautiful that you completely forget about whatever you were thinking about a moment ago?
And maybe a tear comes to your eye, because you wish like anything that you could just understand the stars and the whole of the universe, so your own life would finally make sense too?
It was like that.
But somehow that night walk left me feeling kind of OK again, like maybe there was a future for me that made sense, where I could feel peaceful and good and settled into my life, even if I didn’t know yet how it would happen or what it would look like. It gave me hope.
And I wanted more of that.
So I decided my resolution that year would be to look up at the sky more often. To soak up the beauty. To shake myself out of a fixation on the problems of the moment. To try and trust that my life would have a graceful arc, like the moon and stars that danced overhead.
I had never made a resolution like that before. But it was what my soul needed.
I’ve kept it, on and off, whenever I remember, for many years now. Sometimes it’s cloudy and I can’t see much but grey. More times than not, I just forget. But sometimes, on a clear and cold night, I remember to look up, and the stars are still there singing to me. And it’s enough.
If this piece has spoken to you, I invite you to take a few quiet minutes when you can, and ask yourself: What’s the best resolution you’ve ever made? And what resolution does your soul need this year?
I’ll leave you with just a bit of advice:
If you’re someone who’s pretty hard on yourself, I hope this year you’ll be gentle and playful with your resolutions. Give some love to your hard-working self.
Or if you’re craving something big and new and exciting, I hope you’ll resolve to say yes to your soul’s desire.
But if you’re exhausted just trying to get through the day and absolutely cannot deal with adding even one more thing to your plate, I see you too.
And I wish you whatever you need, resolutions or no. I do believe the stars are singing to you too.