I have never been that hot on New Year Resolutions, it seems there is something incredibly insincere about them. As a child observer, the adults seemed afflicted by a kind of madness. Perhaps it was my Uncle “just finishing the pack” of Player’s Navy Cut cigarettes after midnight? Then clawing the wax off the table over New Year Day luncheon, that made it all seem just a little trite.
It all seemed contrived, if not a little manic. I am sure he smoked MORE cigarettes “just finishing the pack” than he would have, had he not made the resolution to quit.
While the turn of a calendar year provides a psychological pivot point for a new beginning, it seems to be another false hope armistice for a part of life that plainly doesn’t work and provides no lasting solutions.
More Polly Anna than problem solved perhaps, the silver bullet misses the mark. While positive thinking may work over time, it makes more sense to take an action that will deliver a meaningful result.
Giving up smoking because you really really want to, will end in a mad sweaty dash to the newsagent before it closes on New Year Day afternoon. I know, I have been there.
This made me think of my friend, who is a hypnotist.
Believe it or not, I am actually trying to start smoking again. I think nicotine might help me with concentration when writing. But I just can’t get into it. And yes, I was hypnotised so I could give it up and now I guess I am stuck with not being able to smoke.
Then this made me think of tithing.
My friend takes some of the money they make and tithes. Traditionally tithing is where one tenth of your income is paid to a religious organisation as a contribution, sometimes a compulsory tax to the government. My children had a Steiner education and the school fees were based on similar principles. In theory I paid the school a tenth of my gross income. In practice I ended up paying more, because like everyone else, the school assumed I was making a ton of money.
I love the idea of free will offerings and it has that Ghandi kind of ring to it. It is certainly a benefit for the person doing the tithing. When we support ourselves, we are driven only by what might be good for us. When we support a community, what matters changes. It’s a fabulous motivator. For example if I tithe to a children’s home, if I don’t bother to go to work, the children starve.
It also creates new possibilities. The stock answer to “why do you go to work?” will probably be “to pay the bills” but with tithing, you could just as easily answer “to save the starving children” – you can feel it lift the heart can’t you.
Then I read something truly inspiring in a magazine about a man and a pair of shoes. The founder of Toms Shoes gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need. I liked that.
And all this, on New Year Eve…
I am a member of various Asperger’s communities. Some New Year Resolutions were flying around on Twitter. While for the reasons discussed I don’t like half hearted resolves but resolve I have.
A few years ago I tried to start a business and charity to help people with autism. I am very driven by altruism and truly believe in fairness. Perhaps it was the tale of the good Samaritan at school? Maybe my philanthropic nature is a plea for love? I don’t know why, I just want to do something good. The problem in the past has been a lack of structure. I am guilty of saying “don’t worry about it” to people who are in a position to pay far too often. When you work all hours and don’t get paid, there is nothing to tithe, not even time.
The shoes idea was really clear to me, just structure to make it possible.
I decided on the following:
For every hour I get paid, I will work for an hour for someone diagnosed with autism for FREE. It’s brilliant, it provides a structure for billing and if I don’t get paid, I can’t help anyone. It motivates me to save the world by working. It’s very simple, logical, fair and manageable.
Anyway enough talk about me. You can see how this works and why this works.
If you don’t already tithe, then I want you to consider the possibility. Think about your communities, family, friends, local organisations and such. Who really needs a helping hand? Where you can donate and make a difference? It needs to be something that inspires you, a call to action.
Imagine yourself some way off in time, the you of New Year yet to come, looking back at this moment. And someone asks “why do you go to work?” and you reply…
See you on the other side of the looking glass,
Anurajyati (be in love!)