Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ritual Magic

Posted by: Keri Stevens
Today is the day we down aspirin, wash the leftover mascara from the corners of our eyes and swear to ourselves and the list we posted on the mirror, "This year will be different."

Resolutions come in two flavors: Outcome and process. Outcome-oriented resolutions are the ones fitness gurus (like my alter ego) are fondest of: Specific, measureable, goals set to a timeline and a plan.

Process-oriented resolutions are harder to define but ultimately more satisfying. These are the "lifestyle changes" I lecture about when I'm wearing yoga pants and a name tag. These are also the first promises to ourselves we break.

Last year, for example, I swore (and claimed in public) that I would send one handwritten note, letter or card each day of the year. To those of you with January 6 birthdays, I hope you enjoyed your mail. The January 7 folks, however, were left hanging.

This year, being a fan of the power of language and names, I'm not making any process-oriented resolutions. Instead, I'm going to establish rituals. Rituals have a magic about them, an inherit higher power that will back up my will. They are much sexier than "good habits" (which is what nuns wear). They are more fun than goals. They involve nice-smelling candles, more often than not.

Let's see how it will pan out?
1. I will practice a daily sweat cleanse (which sounds better than exercise, doesn't it?)
2. I will create a protective circle between debt and my family (lighting candles while I cut up the credit cards, of course).
3. I will channel the denizens of Stewardsville and record their doings in the rest of my series (word-count, schmerd-count. Wouldn't you rather write this way instead?)

I'm bringing a little linguistic magic into my life in 2012. Howzabout you?


  1. Loved the part about the "daily card or note" resolution for last year - so funny, so true! Rituals sound more do-able than resolutions, best wishes on all of them!

  2. They do seem to carry a bit o' magic with them. Actually, I love the positive feeling they have; I'm far more likely to carry through on an "I will". Great idea - thanks for sharing!

    Oh, and a Happy New Year, too!! Hope it's full of magically good things!

  3. I too am working on debt. Cards were cut up a while ago, and I'm sending a chunk of $$ each month. I can see light at the end of the tunnel, which is thrilling! My resolution for this year is to plot more thoroughly and write faster. I do work a day job, and I kind of have a life, but I'm going to try.
    Happy New Year, Keri!

  4. Thank you, Lynda!
    Barbara--I'm doing the Financial Peace University thang through my church. Although he and I don't agree on a lot of NON-financial stuff, it seems just about everything he says about money holds water. We'll see!


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