New Year Mantras: Faith, Water and Neighbors

Plus one attainable, climate friendly resolution for 2024

woman holding peace sign

To wrap up the year on a very bright note, I went hiking with my sisters Rosanna and Sandra today. As usual, we talked about everything, including the future, which today meant 2024, the New Year.

At a yoga class this week, Rosanna’s instructor invited her yogis to embrace a mantra for the new year. Hers, the instructor said, would be ease.

Rosanna gave it some thought and decided on faith as her mantra, not in the religious meaning of the word, but in the sense of trusting the process, and having faith in herself and her loved ones’ choices. Wonderful mantra, don’t you think?

Sandra for her part chose the mantra water.

How she came up with said mantra starts with her 2023 resolution: to tip more. I didn’t know this about my sister but apparently, she has a hard time tipping (which, as an aside, has become an issue for many of us, what with the default options on payment screens now being so high and public it feels you’re being guilt-bullied to tip generously, all the time, no matter for what service).

Anyhow, for 2024, Sandra’s resolution would be to not drink a daily Kombucha. Her reasons: (1) she will save 3 dollars a day (a whopping $1,095 a year!), (2) she will reduce waste by exactly 365 glass bottles (reducing is always better because who knows how much of what you place in recycling containers is actually recycled?), and, (3) instead of Kombucha, she will drink more WATER!

So it was that pondering her 2023 resolution and deciding on a 2024 resolution led Sandra to her 2024 mantra.

Water, Sandra explained, changes form, is fluid, gives life, transforms, purifies, cleanses, and assuages thirst. It is rain, the ocean, tears, children splashing in a pool. Its sound is meditative and calming.

I for one found both of my sisters’ mantras brilliant, and Sandra’s practice of just one eminently accomplishable resolution genius.

I shall therefore do the same.

My mantra will be neighbors. I came up with it one hour ago, right before I began to write this piece, on account of a blog post on Medium titled What It’s Really Like to Be In My Seventies where the author mentioned all the ways her dear friend contributes to her neighborhood.

I, by contrast, never reach out to my neighbors in any deliberate way- this even though I live in a neighborhood with single-family homes in small lots. 

So yes, neighbors it is. And I mean any neighbor: the person behind me in the checkout line at the store, the man next to me on the train, the kid sitting by me on the plane, the family that moved in next door, the bird that built a nest in my backyard, even the majestic maple in my front yard.

As far as a single attainable resolution for 2024, I resolve to not buy any new clothes. If I do buy something, it will be at a thrift store or consignment shop or on Patagonia’s Worn Wear site. And if I really, really want something for a special occasion, I will rent. I’m excited about this. I reckon it will be a great exercise in restraint, in appreciating what I have (as far as clothes go at least!).

Plus I’ll help the environment. This from Columbia University’s Climate School:

“Fashion is responsible for 10 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and 20 percent of global wastewater, and uses more energy than the aviation and shipping sectors combined.” Why Fashion Needs to Be More Sustainable

There you have it: my final musings of 2023 are about 2024. No looking back to the year about to end in a few hours. I will do that tomorrow.

From last year: Lessons from 2022

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