Around the World

New Life Resolution

A map of my travels through the United States.

I’ve rarely made New Years resolutions. In the past I’ve found them pointless. People start off strong then break promises to themselves within weeks or months of making them. Typically the end result is personal guilt and feelings of failure. But here’s a new 2013 thought:

What if instead of encouraging ourselves to lose weight, we decide to speak to ourselves and others with kindness. What if we offered ourselves and others the empathy we all deserve? Coming off five months of nomadic travel I have been transformed in numerous ways. Those transformations have led me to seek out a new life in a deep ocean of love. So here’s to my New Life resolution:

To be as loving and radiant as possible; to eliminate fear from my life; to believe in my intuition; to grow; and to help others know that they are loved by me and should love themselves as much in return.

Arriving in Iowa for the holidays I took my new free-time and stability to self-evaluate. Much of my introspection came through daily bathtub meditation sessions. In one such session I became frustrated because the meditation wasn’t going the way I desired. My thoughts were running wild and my brain was anything but quiet. What I wanted to meditate on—something along the lines of emotional understanding—just wasn’t happening.

At this point I could have washed my hair, opened the drain, and gone to bed. Giving up was tempting! But I also had determination. I knew I wanted to meditate that night for a reason, and so I opened my heart to The Universe (or to the Divine, or to God, or to the Spirit, or to my Inner Voice – whatever feels comfortable). And suddenly I thought, “I’m going to meditate on world peace.”

Never before had I meditated on such an all-encompassing topic, and I was unsure of what it would bring. Within minutes of intentional silence I fell onto the word “love” and began repeating it with each rise and fall of my chest. Quickly I found myself on a map-like journey meeting with people I had encountered on my recent travels. I didn’t consciously choose the people; they popped into my head, waiting to have a conversation. I told them of the impact they made on me through my travels, how much I needed them in that exact moment of connection, how I knew their potential, how their fears were getting in the way of life, and how much I loved them and hoped they could love themselves the same way.

A map of my travels through the United States.

A map of my travels through the United States.

Once in bed I made a list of people I met in the meditation who I felt led to write to on New Years Eve and wish well in the coming year. I told them what my resolution was, that they made an impact on me during my travels, and then I made a list of the exciting things I saw them doing in the coming year based on conversations we had. Copying the same basic outline of the email, I personalized each resolution for the individual.

Upon telling one of my friends about this activity and how empowering it was for myself, he asked if I wrote a letter to myself. I stammered out that no, I hadn’t done that, but making them for others was empowering enough. He reminded me that I need to love myself as much as I love others. So with that recommendation in hand I came up with a list of how to be my best self in kinder and gentler ways, too. A few points I made to myself and others included:

  • I see you finding a strong spiritual community, in which you can learn, empower, and create within.
  • I see you taking the time to explore your insecurities, embrace them, and become a more secure and better person within those insecurities.
  • I see you continue to live out your passions of travel and writing.
  • I see you finally putting your health & happiness first (and second, and third, and fourth) in eating well, exercising, laughing, and meditating.
  • I see you finding fulfilling relationships wherever you go, full of love and intention, and eliminated of fear and worry.
  • I see you ASTONISHING all of us with your awesomeness.

What if this year and in the future we all embraced world peace and love and decided to empower each other (including ourselves) instead of committing to self-deprecating resolutions that hold no truth for the people we internally are? Even though it’s already the new year, there is no reason why you can’t still make a New Life resolution. And while you’re at it, spread the love to someone else you know. You have no idea how one simple email may positively impact a person’s view of their own life.

Rachel Halder
Rachel Halder has been a traveling on and off again since late June 2012. A worldly woman with an English father and an adventurous mother, she’s been traveling internationally from a young age, most recently spending a year in Papua, Indonesia. She works remotely as a freelance writer and social media associate for Women Under Siege, a Women’s Media Center initiative documenting how sexualized violence is used in conflict. She also directs Our Stories Untold, a blog promoting conversation about sexualized violence in the Mennonite church. Join her on her travel adventures in her own country, and don’t forget to follow her on Twitter at @raerrh with the hashtag #raeontheroad2012 and #girlstravel!

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