Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
- (Sufi Poet Rumi)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Resolutions and Requests

In this New Year I’m wondering if you have been dancing with the idea of changes you’d like to make in your life. Did you make any resolutions? If so, do they feed your life with a sense of abundant beauty that is you and is all around you, or do they come from a sense of “shoulds” and “I’m not good enough just as I am?” If you are like me, I’m guessing there is a bit of judgment chattering away in your mind and a temptation to give into domination systems in our society that dictate how one should act, be, and think. Is that right?

An alternative to resolutions are requests, life inviting you to greater flourishing without the demands of stories of judgment and domination. When we make requests of others, or ourselves it comes from knowing our feelings and needs in that moment. We ask ourselves, how is life tugging me at this time in my life to live in wonder, awe, and satisfaction? We also ask, what universal needs are more alive in me than others, and how shall I act accordingly, for today? In addition, requests are specific, concrete, and doable in the moment. Here is an example how resolutions and requests might be framed.


I am overweight and I don’t like the way I look in the mirror. The people at work gave me a funny look when I brought in doughnuts one morning and I’m worried that my partner is not as attentive as before. I’m going to lose 20 pounds by May!


Observation without judgment: My weight is now 170 pounds.

Feelings/Needs without judgment: I feel worried about my health because I value my physical well-being and I’m sad that it is so hard to find time to exercise, cook, and shop (need for rest, ease, fun, and play).

Request: Today I am going for a walk before lunch at 11 a.m. and while walking I am going to think of at least 10 things in my life for which I am grateful. I will write these down and review them before going to bed tonight because I value learning and growth. Tomorrow morning for 5 minutes I will check in with my feelings and needs regarding my weight and see what requests might arise.

I wonder what comes up for you when you think of resolutions and requests? I’d love to hear from you because it’s so great for me to share learning and understanding with others, and to know of other’s lives, hearts, and minds.

In the meantime, may you hold your lovely being in peace and compassion.

In gratitude,



  1. I thought the post on weight loss was ok but you really glossed over the feelings and needs that make people want to lose weight. It's easy just to say I am worried about my health but let's be honest - losing weight is 90% about looking good, taking pride in your appearance and getting joy in knowing that others find you attractive.

    There can be a lot of morning when these needs aren't met

    Can't we be honest about the true needs and feelings underlying the desire for weight loss and not make it into just a health issue?

    Also, I would have liked to have seen some more realistic requests about weight loss. A short walk before lunch is hardly a strategy that will produce weight loss. Couldn't you be more realistic and request 30 minutes of cardio and cutting out junk food?

    I am concerned when people read the feel good posts about NVC they won't view it as something that can really help them in the area of their health. Let's take a true look at what NVC can do and not gloss over the unpleasant realities. To do otherwise reduces what is a very powerful process to rose colored glasses that I don't think connects with very many people.

  2. I too am opposed to glossing over unpleasant realities. I have posted a "less than diplomatic" rough draft of my open letter to UUA President Bill Sinkford calling upon him to live up to his own religious rhetoric and "choose love" for any and all victims of all forms of U*U clergy misconduct, sexual misconduct and otherwise. I am interested in suggestions for saying pretty much the same thing somewhat more diplomatically but not *too* diplomatically. U*Us and even non-U*Us are invited to make suggestions for improvements by commenting on the blog post itself or sending me a private and confidential email at -


  3. Dear Rob,

    I hear in your post a desire for health and the good life for others, and a dream of integrity to use our communication skills authentically and powerfully. Is that right?

    Me too, that's why I hope I'm hearing you right (hard to do on email).

    I wonder if you'd be willing to hear my thoughts on what you wrote?

    In the meantime, good hope and health.