Dear Readers: Welcome to 2013! While the last year has been a stressful one for many, a new year has begun, bringing with it our chance for a fresh start. Today is the day we have an opportunity to discard destructive old habits for healthy new ones, and with that in mind, I will share Dear Abby’s often-requested list of New Year’s resolutions that were adapted by my mother, Pauline Phillips, from the original credo of Al-Anon:
JUST FOR TODAY, I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once. I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I’ll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will do something positive to improve my health. If I’m a smoker, I’ll quit. If I’m overweight, I will eat healthfully – if only for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it’s only around the block.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will gather the courage to do what is right and take the responsibility for my own actions.
And now, Dear Readers, I would like to share an item that was sent to me by I.J. Bhatia, a reader from New Delhi, India:
Dear Abby: This year, no resolutions, only some guidelines. The Holy Vedas say: “Man has subjected himself to thousands of self-inflicted bondages. Wisdom comes to a man who lives according to the true eternal laws of nature.”
The prayer of St. Francis (of which there are several versions) contains a powerful message:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope. Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; To be understood, as to understand; To be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.