"I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party."
I know it's the New Year, and given that, we're all supposed to be so serious. Driven by a fierce need to make 2016 better than the last, and nudged gently by the abundance of TV commercials currently urging us to make changes, everyone's got the resolutions going.
And its fascinating to me how quickly our consumer driven culture jumps on board. One minute we're watching Christmas specials basking in the glow of Christmas tree lights while grandpa gets drunk on egg nog in the spare room, and the next, Oprah is on our TV screens lamenting her struggles with weight and vowing that this year, thanks to the help of Weight Watchers, she's going to finally and for good shed the extra pounds that are holding her back.
To which I say, Oprah, for the love of God, give up the ghost. Or at the very least have some pasta.
Because if Oprah with all of her money, success, and spirituality still needs Weight Watchers, where does that leave the rest of us? Just yesterday I wrote about powerful women and I purposefully left Oprah off my list - not because I don't love her, because I do - but because to me, a powerful woman is a role model of self acceptance who, even though she may struggle with certain things about herself, would never pander to the lowest common denominator by making a seasonal commercial for a company that is in the business of making money because in our size 2 culture even the most exceptional and accomplished women are supposed to feel bad about themselves if they carry extra weight.
Would Maya Angelou ever have done a Weight Watcher's commercial?
So coming back to my original quote, I think we all need to lighten up - and I don't mean our calorie loads, I mean our attitudes. We need to purposefully and mindfully be aware of the cultural and media driven hamster wheel we're all on that tells us it's okay to eat sugar cookies throughout the month of December as long as we commit to at least three weeks of starvation and a renewal of our gym memberships in early January. This, to get ready for true love in February, bikini season, sleeveless tops and shorts (required wear until September when we're allowed to put our stretch jeans back on for Halloween).
And with a turn of the wheel, we, the collective cogs, get ready for another round of turkey, stuffing, and gravy while issues like global warming, GMO's, food shortages, and drought, are drowned out by reports of the Kardshians, the frightening buffoonery of Donald Trump, and Superbowl.
But what does this have to do with lemonade? Everything. Because when we really get clear and look at the bigger picture of the world around us, we can see that now, more than ever, we need to get off the wheel. Join the gym if you want to, not because Oprah's going to weekly weigh in, but because the gym gives you pleasure - and not just in January but also in November. Get mindful. Turn off the TV, read a book, go for a walk, breathe, eat amazing food that's real and enjoy every last bite of it, and best of all, find a friend with a little vodka, pour yourself a cup and say Cheers!
There are so many interesting things to notice and experience when we stop buying into a societal consciousness that dictates who and what we should be and instead get to the business of actually living. Of recognizing that each and every one of us is a miracle of creation just as we are now and that none of us is in need of improvement.
What we're really in need of is a lifting of the veils - and this can begin with the understanding that life is so much bigger than any of our asses. If you really want happiness in 2016, do something for others. Remove your media goggles and take a look at the bigger picture of the world. Volunteer. Give back. Be kind. Have compassion. And if you know deep in your heart of hearts that the money you're about to give to Weight Watchers is probably an exercise in futility, donate it. Give it to someone who needs a warm blanket and a few extra calories and then go for a walk.
Be grateful and remember who you really are: a spiritual being having a human experience (I don't remember who originally said that, but it's a good reminder) When we do that, when we see with these new eyes, it helps us realize that the wheel was never real and it is always within our power to step off.
Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer
with a passion for living, blogging and the ongoing inclination to self
medicate with pie crust.