Happy New Year (a little bit late)! If you saw my Facebook page last week you know I cut my hair on December 30 as part of a New Year’s resolution I made to myself.

Super-short.

This was “action item number one” of a broader resolution for myself this year. My actual resolution was:  be me, accept me, take care of me. Cutting off the colored hair was Step One in my plan. No games, minimal use of chemicals. I have a new mantra, too: Forward, kinder, older and bolder.

Let’s just say it’s already been interesting.

Along with the wild feeling of freedom I have experienced, there have been some equally awkward moments. I was watching the news this morning and had the realization that I have the same haircut as Charlie Rose—and roughly the same color, too. I practically snorted my coffee through my nose—deep shock combined with violent laughter.

As part of the new care and keeping of Dana plan, I’ve researched and purchased a selection of wonderful all-natural, plant-based, sulfate-free, no-animal-testing shampoos for the new do and noggin. However, the chemical pleasures of diet cola have been harder to give up. I am weaning myself.

Of course, people have shared their opinions about my choices, too. I have had many comments—positive, neutral and unexpected.

Perhaps the best comment yet came from my daughter who said, “OMG, you look just like Kaki!”—her grandmother. Yep, that’s exactly what I was hoping to hear.

Charlie Rose and my mother. Weaning and laughing, people….

So how did all this resolution-making start? What is in us that inspires us to make big changes every year? Is it resolve?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, resolve is defined as “to reach a firm decision about.”

Many of us make resolutions this time of year firmly determined—resolved—to make changes, from some sort of internal rumbling and reflection of ourselves at year’s end. Most of us will have completely forgotten our resolutions by Easter, too.

If failure and disappointment lead us to resolve, why do we seem to be so bad at keeping resolutions? Many of us have truly tried!

What I’ve personally discovered is that resolve is the profound feeling of consciousness, of knowing. As the definition implies, resolve is discovered along the path of finding solutions to life’s problems.

When we find ourselves in pain from reflecting about our lives and then commit to do something about it, we are on the right track. But that feeling of disappointment and disgust that makes us join the gym when we see we’re overweight is not resolve—it is shame.

The journey to resolve is through the shame; it requires understanding the true nature of the things that make us feel ashamed.

The discomfort of witnessing our unwanted behaviors is often so uncomfortable that we react by doing something that seems reasonable—we try and “fix” the problem because it’s too painful to look at.

We confuse discomfort for resolve. When we try to stop the pain before we understand its origins(and solutions) rather than wait for the powerful feeling of true resolve, we merely propagate the pain cycle.

We become conscious and discover the feeling of resolve through the mind-body practices of being kind to ourselves after we witness our perceived failures and feel disappointment.

Calm and kind introspection replaces angry and anxious doing. This is the practice that awakens compassion within. Compassion is the knowing self, the authentic self, the resolved self.

When we have the courage to ask questions honestly and wait for the knowing, we will find the answers we seek, instantly, effortlessly, from within. We will also feel true resolve.

The big question I get regarding this topic is:

“How do I know for sure that this is the correct answer?” It’s easy. If you continue to ask the same question after you hear an answer, that means it was not a knowing, right?

Knowing is a mind-body event that is unequivocal. The feeling in your body when you experience consciousness is resolve. It is remarkable, powerful, and unmistakable.

The feeling of resolved knowing is analogous to an orgasm: If you have to ask if you’ve had one, then you haven’t had one. The powerful certainty of resolved knowing (consciousness) is not something you will feel confused about, and you will effortlessly move into solutions.

So we can begin this year with learning about a new way of being with ourselves in disappointment and shame—and it’s free. No equipment needed, just patience with and kindness to yourself. Please allow yourself to ask for support if it gets hard.

I want to also remind you that you know how to do this because you do it for your best friends when they are hard on themselves. So here we go… forward, kinder, older and bolder!

Namaste,

Dana