Feeding Our Flame: A Campfire Conversation to Fuel Our Resolutions for the New Year

Happy 2014! Marshmallows-on-sticks to hand, a group of 16 conversationalists gathered in the Socratic circle to fire up the New Year. While books on display focused on themes of gratitude, commitment, and life change, comments on the flip chart sparked thoughts for new beginnings:

  • Better health.
  • Finding three new good friends.
  • Need more income to continue in NYC.
  • Peace in my heart.
  • A clearer vision for my professional future.
  • Resolving issues with my parents.
  • Write and publish a paper or article, not just something for a class.
  • This country stop destroying itself and others.

We pondered where we’ve been, where we are now, and what we want to move towards in the months ahead.

One participant remarked that she went through a lot of changes in the past year (including a new job), but in the course of answering Socrates’ famous 5 questions, she realized that 2013 wasn’t actually so bad after all!

Many expressed gratitude for support systems, particularly family, friends, and conversations like this one – and spoke of the need to practice gratitude to be happier in ourselves and outlook on life. One observed, and many agreed, that Life gets better as we become more grateful.

Another drew attention to the Hedonic treadmill and the importance of not getting too accustomed to the things that make us happy or the things that provide short-term happiness.

Fulfilling jobs and relationships ranked highly among key factors in determining happiness.

In looking ahead to 2014, participants spoke of writing, overcoming fears, recapturing goals and ambitions, marshaling energy, stewardship of resources,  prioritizing, perspective, humor, and the value of recognizing smaller things and discreet moments as desirable elements in tackling the new year.

Fairies Round a Camp Fire, by Paula Ahti

Ron Gross drew attention to the fact that we are already Designers in our lives and work – if we use our creativity, resourcefulness, and initiative to make changes in ourselves and our environment. We can become even better Designers by enlarging our repertoire of techniques and strategies.

Be sure to attend the next Socratic Conversation on Thursday, February 27th on the topic, Would It Kill You to Talk about Death for an Hour?