New Year, New Soul: Spiritual Resolution Ideas for 2017

img_00902017 starts tomorrow and it’s about time we added taking care of our souls to our standard lists of resolutions that are usually all about taking care of our bodies.

Here are some suggestions for spiritual resolutions that should shine up your soul like new in the new year:

1) Get out of your head and into the world.

A great many spiritual traditions teach that to be truly enlightened, one must transcend the body, selfhood, and the physical world. I’m not convinced. In my experience, getting out into the world, getting into mischief, having adventures, and using your physical and spiritual senses to take it all in as deeply as you can is one of the very best things you can do for your soul-health. A vessel without anything to fill it is the very definition of emptiness. Why be empty when there are enough sights, sounds, and experiences out there to make your vessel runneth over?

2) Take it in. Lay it down.

So the writer is going to tell you to write. Typical.

Well, you don’t have to write if you don’t want to. Just get your adventures down in some form where you can look at them later and be amazed at what you saw and felt. In my experience, the deepest insights come not in the moment, but afterward as I unpack it. The spirit, whether it be the Holy Spirit, the Muses, the Universe, or your own conscience, has a “still, small voice.” Giving it free reign over a journal entry or sketch or collage or whatever else you can think of amplifies that voice a thousand times. You will see angles and nuances you never thought of before. You will learn new lessons. You will grow. You will have joy.

3) Practice makes perfect—or at least a little better than you were.

For heaven’s sake, practice your faith! (I’m yelling as much at myself as I am at you guys.)

So many of us have become Sunday Catholics, Jack Mormons, Christians on Christmas, Part Time Pagans, etc. Life is busy. Stuff happens. Blah blah blah. We’re full of excuses. Some of us have become better at rationalizing our lack of practice than we have at the practice itself.

We can do better.

Try to take a little time in the new year to physically practice your faith. I specify physically because it is one thing to give a shout out to your deity silently, in your head as you browse through Netflix, but it is a far more fulfilling thing to sit or kneel and offer that same shout out verbally during time allotted specifically for that purpose.

I have a candle I light in the morning as I say to my deity, “Please accept this offering as a sign of the bond of love and trust between us.” Some days that’s all I can manage. In the past, there were days when I didn’t even manage that. But that’s going to change in 2017, right? Right?

I certainly don’t have even half the answers, but I know that whenever I have faithfully done the three things I mentioned above, my soul has expanded exponentially. Breath and light rush in and I am more and more tuned in to the divine. I wish the same for all of you, no matter how you find it.

May 2017 bless you with abundance and joy.


What are some of your spiritual resolutions for the upcoming year?

About M. Ashley

Essayist and poet, my work has been rejected by some of the finest journals in America. Fortunately, it also gets accepted from time to time and has appeared in equally fine journals such as Word Riot, Inlandia, Brew City Magazine, and SageWoman among others.. In 2002, I was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize for Vanderbilt University. For no good reason, I possess an unnecessarily dark humor which is why being third generation California Inland Empirian delights me so. My gods are weird. I once received $350 for writing a smartassed essay on “why the wise use of water is important in my daily life”. I am undoubtedly the Greek god Hermes’ special snowflake. I’m pretty sure I got into college via a series of fortuitous clerical errors. When I had to grow up and get a real job, I decided against it and stayed a writer. I have worked many odd—and I mean odd—jobs to support my habit: Commercial writer for country music hopefuls, resume massager, WalMart fitting room attendant and switchboard operator, telephone psychic.
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