KingMidget's Ramblings

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It’s A New Year

I took the last month off from blogging.  I was supposed to disengage from a lot of other things as well.  While I generally stayed away from my blog(s) — only posting here about the over-generalization of feminist writers and about a short story I had written — I continued to visit Facebook, continued reading your blogs, and continued to read the political sites that drive me crazy.  So, my disengagement can only be considered to be partial at best.

As well, I’ve thought about what I would write when I came back here.  And so, here I am, but I’m not ready to get back into regular blogging yet.  Part of what I wanted to figure out during my self-imposed exile was what I want blogging to be for me in the future.  Still haven’t decided that.

One of the things I’ve thought about is to break my blogs up even further than they already are.  I’ve considered the idea of a politics-oriented blog to keep that whole mess away from here, but the reality is that I don’t want a politics blog if it’s just my voice and views.  I would want multiple contributors, preferably from a range of views along the political spectrum, and I just don’t know how to make that happen.  So, no, I probably won’t be spinning off a politics blog — unless I find those other people who want to engage in a community blog on politics.

In other words, I’m still figuring this thing out, but after a month, I wanted to share a bit.  And use the New Year as a bit of an inspiration.  No, this isn’t about resolutions, it’s about what some of my new favorite bloggers select a Word of the Year.  This fits much better into what I’ve done over the past month (and past years, who am I kidding) than the proverbial New Year’s resolutions.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading this past month or two in the area of meditation, buddhism, and the like.  10% Happier by Dan Harris and Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert are two “pop culture” takes on the topic.  I’m also making my way through a couple of books on Insight Meditation by Jack Kornfield, and have a handful of other books stacked on my nightstand to expand my knowledge of the whole thing.  Which fits into my Word of the Year.

One of my favorite professional bloggers has been Andrew Sullivan.  He stopped blogging earlier this year, but in the final months of his blog, he kept referring to something in the context of his appreciation of the new Catholic Pope.  He kept referring to “grace.”  Having been raised Catholic, I knew there was something to that word, that concept, in the faith.  Something beyond saying grace before a meal, but I wasn’t really sure exactly what it was.  All I knew was that as Sullivan used it to describe some of the Pope’s actions, I knew it was a word I liked.

I found a website that explains there are actually two different kinds of grace in the Catholic faith.  Sanctifying grace is “what makes the soul holy; it gives the soul supernatural life. More properly, it is supernatural life.”  Actual grace is “is a supernatural push or encouragement. It’s transient. It doesn’t live in the soul, but acts on the soul from the outside, so to speak. It’s a supernatural kick in the pants. It gets the will and intellect moving so we can seek out and keep sanctifying grace.

So, that’s not quite what I have in mind with the word.  While I continue to resist religion and the idea of a Supreme Being or an afterlife or a heaven or a hell, I am becoming more spiritual and more believing in the idea that there may be something somewhat soul-like in each of us.  But still I’m not drawn to the Catholic concept.

The dictionary definitions of the word, include:

  1.  simple elegance or refinement of movement.
  2. (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
  3. do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence.

These continue to dance around what I think I mean when I use the word Grace and select it as my Word of the Year.  I certainly am not elegant or refined in movement.  I don’t care about the favor of God.  But, there’s something there.

Here’s how I view it and why.  Grace to me means a whole range of things and they will drive me forward this year.  Forgiveness and acceptance.  Love and patience.  It means treading more lightly in the world — not raging at things quite as much.  Speaking more quietly — which is one of the reasons my blogging will remain on hold for a time as I figure out a way to do this.  It also means continuing to search for the things that feed my soul.  But, ultimately, it means even more that I will try to treat those around me with these same qualities as I apply them to myself — forgiveness, acceptance, love, patience.  It’s time to end the rebellion against my own life I have lived for far too long and instill it with grace.  For me and for those I spend my life with.

So, that’s it … my word for the year is Grace.

Now, I need to go back to one of those things that feed my soul — fiction writing.  See you all soon.

19 responses to “It’s A New Year

  1. Ike Jakson January 1, 2016 at 4:52 pm


    You don’t know yet but you did; recording my exact frame of mind down to the last word in your Post.

    I had been contemplating my next move and made a sudden yesterday. Spur of the moment decisions is not my normal pattern.

    I can’t stand people who can’t make up their mind in business; in that environment fast decisions and the courage to admit a mistake if it was the wrong decision, then have the guts to change in the Business World have proved to my satisfaction that is a superior approach to the sods in charge at modern times who can never take the first decision.

    But that’s business!

    Your own life is a different story; for many reasons that is different to business; after all you get older for one thing.

    So, if you read my latest Post you will see more. This year [starting yesterday] I am climbing in both guns blazing; you will see….I hope …. and soon too.


  2. Carrie Rubin January 1, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    A word for the year…interesting. Does the word represent 2015 or is it a word to embrace for 2016? From your post I assume it’s the latter. I’ll have to think on that a bit, but I love the concept. ‘Grace’ is a good word to choose.

  3. sknicholls January 1, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Deep, Mark. Grace saves the worst of us. Happy New Year, my friend!

  4. Sreejit Poole January 1, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    That is a great word for the year. The way you describe it makes me think of the term, “acting gracefully,” or acting “with grace.” Which is not the way that I normally think of it but is a good reminder that grace is not just something from without but within. Maybe we need the universal grace to move forward, but we have to act with grace to create good in this world.

    I’m also not sure about the direction of my blog. I enjoyed the Walking with Intention month, but it was a lot of work to get so many participants that I couldn’t do that all year. So, I’m just leaving it to float around in the internet land until I’m inspired to do something with it.

    • kingmidget January 1, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      Absolutely … there is some aspect of the Catholic Grace that really involves something internal and I think that there is something to be said for, as you describe it “to act with grace to create good in this world.” That pretty much describes the objective I have.

      Good luck with your search for what do make of your blog. It’s safe to say that I have never been able to make my blog what I wanted of it, but I haven’t given up. I would really like to figure out a way to create something that allows for a meaningful dialogue between contributors and commenters.

  5. Amy Reese January 1, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Happy New Year, Mark. Grace is an excellent choice. I always give myself grace when I write, through good times and bad. Good luck with your writing!

  6. Nurse Kelly January 2, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Not blogging? This was a beautiful post, Mark. You inspire. Glad to hear you feel motivated to make some positive changes. You always have choices no matter what. Wish you all the best in 2016! Sounds like you are off to a good start in my opinion 🙂

  7. Kevin Brennan January 2, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Nice to see you back, Mark, but I really relate to your blogging dilemma. Your blog — and I love it for this — is a hopper for all the things you’re going through in life. It’s not just about writing. It’s about what it’s like to be Mark Paxson at any particular time.

    You offer your fans (like me) plenty of food for thought.

    Happy New Year!

    • kingmidget January 2, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      When I first started blogging, there was a school of thought that you had to find a niche and blog in that niche. I couldn’t imagine that. You mean I have to blog about my writing, politics, cooking, raising my kids, running, or the trials and tragedies of life, but I can’t blog about all of them? That made no sense to me and wasn’t really of interest to me. So, yeah, my blog is about all things Mark Paxson, for better or worse. I’m amazed there are still people reading. 😉

      And Happy New Year to you as well. Hope you get some snow soon.

  8. butimbeautiful January 2, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    I would be interested to hear your views on Trump. And I like your new year’s resolutions..making them happen is always the tricky part. We hope each year to be better than the year before, but I think for that to really happen, we have to act in some way. I’m thinking about that myself, actually.

  9. Christy Anna Beguins January 3, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Grace. One of my favorite words, for many reasons. Love that one.
    10% happier was a decent book, I was surprised. I like Harris a lot…sarcastic, witty. There’s an Annie Dillard quote on grace I adore. I’ll see if I can find it for you.

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