The Rose and the Rock: Making Resolutions and Keeping It Real


image courtesy of adobestock.conm

Hello, New Year Me. I see you — all spacious and full of promise. Disciplined and focused. You make me look so good.


But let’s get real. I’ve broken so many promises to you that I don’t trust this feeling anymore. My staying power never matches the initial fervor of my intentions. I look in the mirror and proclaim, “This year, for REAL,” and all my new behaviors start melting right away, like snow on my tongue.


It’s not that I don’t have good goals. It’s just that every year, they fizzled out in the unconsciousness of going back to work. The priorities that were so clear and clean on my first day…I don’t know, they just get eclipsed by…life. Rationalizations take over. Excuses. “Reasons.”


And like clockwork, here I am again, making a list of things I know are good for me. And vaguely aware of the coming disappointment because I didn’t follow through.


So how to break this spell? Enter “The Rose and the Rock.”


On New Year’s Day, I will buy a fresh rose. And as I appreciate its beauty, I also know for certain it will die soon, no matter how well I care for it. This rose represents the feelings I have as I make my promises to New Year Me. These feelings are essential. They are like a match to kindling, a crucial component to any commitment. Without them, I’ll never make it to the next step.


Which is the Rock.


I have a collection of small white rocks, and a black permanent marker. With a measured mind and a tender heart, I will choose a few promises for this year. Each promise will live on its own rock. For instance, I want to have completed the last draft (the 4th) of a fantasy novel I’m writing by May 1st. So on one rock I will write “Book.” And for the daily meditation practice I want to revive, I will write “Sit” on another rock.


These rocks represent what I will do regardless of how I feel about it in the moment. They represent what I will do after the initial fervor has died down and I don’t care anymore like I used to.


I will tend to the rose as mindfully as possible while she lasts. And I will keep the rocks in my pocket always. This way, I can honor the fire and air of dedication felt at the beginning of any good endeavor — and I can also honor the water and earth, the mud of discipline required to bring any good endeavor to fruition.


One last note, perhaps the most important: I do plan to fail a little. I plan to execute these promises imperfectly. And I plan to get right back in the game, every time I fumble.

All the way to the end.


May we all let ourselves feel the fervor of every new beginning. And may we develop a tolerance for tedium, and the will to keep getting back up after falling, so we can manifest all our worthy ends.


Blessings to all as we navigate the many challenges and changes of this very strange time in our history.