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What Is Giving You Inspiration, Joy, and Direction?

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

“We wait for the new year to appear to us like the hopeful sun bringing aspiring light to an eager world” Munia Khan, poet, writer

I am on the fly this a.m., but several pieces jumped out to grab my attention. They gave me joy, inspiration, and direction. First an article in the New York Times by Jancee Dunn.  Here are a few excerpts.

I used to make New Year’s resolutions that unraveled by the end of January… But last year, after several of my friends lost parents, I made a resolution that I’ve been able to keep.

I decided to check in with these friends about the small but important moments in their lives.

One had told me that her mother was the only person who followed up on the little things by asking: How was your doctor’s appointment? Is your dog feeling any better? How did that cookie recipe turn out?

So now I jot down reminders to ask about a friend’s test results or how their kid did in the school play. I’ve also gently prodded them to make medical appointments.

These everyday exchanges have shifted our friendships into something far deeper, making me feel as if my friends are more like family. I realized that we had often communicated only the headlines of our lives — a new job, a big breakup — but that the mundane details add more texture to our bonds. Nothing says “I see you, and I’m paying attention” more than when a friend texts to ask if your basement is still flooded.

Three weeks ago, I asked readers whether they had made any New Year’s resolutions that changed their lives. Here are some of my favorites.

[Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.]

This year, I decided to try one activity: Every night a calendar pop-up reminds me to record a “joy note,” and I enter one or more things that gave me joy during the day.

At the end of 2023, I will have 365 or more reminders of things that gave me joy. No one else will see my notes, but I will always have them as a record to inspire me. — Denise Abboud, Cleveland

I love that piece first because the importance of relationships to personal and collective well-being cannot be overstated and second because of that simple little reminder to jot down a joy note.  (Jancee asks her readers to reflect on resolutions that actually made a big difference. That could take us all to interesting insights).

And two poems which friends shared…both pumped me up for the New Year.  From Julie (a friend and compassion circle participant).

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flock, The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among others, To make music in the heart.

Howard Thurman

Since Martin Luther King, Jr Day is coming up on the 15th it reminded us both that we want to review the life of Howard Thurman – his encounter with Gandhi’s teaching and influence on MLK.

And from my friend, the Reverend Sandy Liddell. Another wonderful poem which I have partly dreamed myself!


Last night I dreamed

ten thousand grandmothers

from the twelve hundred corners of the earth

walked out into the gap

one breath deep

between the bullet  and the flesh

between the bomb and the family.


They told me we cannot wait for governments.

There are no peacekeepers boarding planes.

There are no leaders who dare to say

every life is precious, so it will have to be us.


They said we will cup our hands around each heart

We will sing the earth's song, the song of water,

a song so beautiful that vengeance will turn to weeping,

the mourners will embrace and grief replace

every impulse toward harm,


Ten thousand is not enough, they said,

so, we have sent this dream, like a flock of doves

into the sleep of the world.


Wake up.. Put on your shoes. 

You who are reading this, I am bringing bandages

and a bag of scented guavas from my trees. I think

i remember the tune.  Meet me at the corner.

Let's go..


                                                                                 Aurora Levins Morales 


Okay my friends, those are the things that give me direction and inspiration today.  What is giving you joy and direction as we approach this new year?

How might we journey together to the new year by sharing our joys, inspiration, and direction?



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