Well, here we are. Three days into the second month of the New Year and I’ve already fallen short on many of my resolutions. How about you?

Clearly there’s nothing new about this, it happens to lots of us every year. Yet this year, I’m finding myself less tempted to fall into the dance our culture makes of this New Year reality.

I find myself wondering: what is a Universalist approach to the New Year?

eisensteinI’ve been recalling what I heard Charles Eisenstein say about this when I saw him speak last year. I had to go back to the video recording of the talk to refresh my memory, but the essence of what he offered was that we need to pay attention to the ways we have internalized the Conquest of Nature as a Conquest of Self.

“Conquest of Self.” That is so recognizable to me.
More Fit. More Well-Read. More Cultured. More Well-Rested. More Thrifty. More Creative. More Compassionate. More Balanced.
No matter how I’m framing it, my intent is to be better, more than I already am.

As I’ve been paying more attention, I’ve been listening to where our New Year rhetoric is connected to our culture’s Shame. Last year I was not good. This year I will make myself good.

“True discipline is really just self-remembering, no forcing or fighting is necessary.”
– Charles Eisenstein

What if, as Eisenstein says, goodness does not come through overcoming the Self? He pushes back against the notion that anything good has to come from great effort or even that we are able to take credit for transformation. He urges us to question the campaigns we wage against ourselves to be different from who we are right now.

In this I hear the great promise of Universalism: You are loved beyond belief. Beyond will. Beyond contortion of some image of your best self.

There is one part of Eisenstein’s talk that I remembered without referencing the video, in part because it still reverberates within me. He describes how the transition into interbeing is happening, it’s happening to us, regardless of what we are doing.
I sigh with relief. I feel my contortions and shaming release.

I’ve not internalized these ideas yet, but they are compelling – and truthfully, comforting. I’m going to keep my eyes open to where goodness is already happening to me.

How are you already good?