river-stones-series-2-1310706-640x960In just a few short days, we’ll (finally) get to say farewell to what has felt like one of the most challenging years in recent memory. I honestly don’t have any hard data to support whether or not 2016 has been a particularly bad year when lined up with any other year, nor do I think we really get to blame a unit of time for all the awful things that have happened, but … I do know that right at this moment I feel completely wrung out. On a personal level, I don’t have much hope for 2017 being any better, and as I stare down this very short corridor that ends in New Year’s Day, I know that I am going to need to gather some strength. I am pretty certain that I am not alone in that feeling.

I’ll admit that I am someone who likes a good New Year’s resolution. I may not always follow through come June … or… February, really. But, I tend to really like the feeling of conviction and the setting of intention as we turn the corner on a new year. This year, though … it has been hard to get myself excited about something that will benefit me on a personal level when there is so much going on globally.

In an effort to find some inspiration and motivation, I looked up the word “resolution” in my trusty Merriam-Webster dictionary. There were many different definitions, but this one hit me right away:

to progress from dissonance to consonance

The musician in me really resonates with this (no pun intended.) A dissonant chord is one that “clashes.” The notes just don’t feel right. Think of the song “Chopsticks.” It starts with a dissonant chord, and each chord that follows eventually builds until it comes to a final sense of consonance – ending on a pair of notes that feel more pleasant to the ear. There can be an almost physical sense of relief when it gets to that point of resolution, even for such a simple song.

Dissonance might be the best possible word I can think of to use to describe my experience of 2016. When I hear a dissonant chord, I literally feel a physical yearning in my body for release — and that is what this year feels like to me right now. The gratingly off-key political results, the unmitigated violence from civil wars to nightclubs, deaths of beloved public figures, an overall sense of fear as I look at baffling and terrifying choices in my country’s leadership … the energy of this year has been startlingly dissonant, and I am aching for the chord to resolve.

This brings me to my New Year’s resolution for … well, Resolution. The more I think about it, the more it feels right to set an intention to progress from dissonance to consonance in 2017. I am committing right now to consciously embody resolution as much as possible in the coming year. I am already thinking of ways to ritualize this intent on New Year’s Day, and the first thing that comes to mind is painting the word “Resolve” on a river stone and keeping it visible as a reminder.

Here is my prayer:

May I hold space when resolution requires listening.

May I make my voice heard when when resolution requires speaking.

May I step up when resolution requires action.

May I love fiercely when resolution requires support.

May I be in my integrity when resolution requires conviction.

So mote it be.

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4 thoughts on “Resolution

  1. Teri Parsley Starnes December 28, 2016

    Good one, River. Just right.

    • River Roberts December 28, 2016

      Thanks, Teri. I hope you have a wonderful and abundant 2017!

  2. Hestia December 28, 2016

    One of the songs you helped create in 2015 at BC Camp sits with me right now. “Will you lay your stories down? We lay them down, we give them to you. Here are our stories of wounding and healing.” I’m preparing to lay my 2016 stories down and take the dissonance of any of them and turn it to consonance for 2017. I share your resolve. xo

    • River Roberts December 28, 2016

      That is a powerful and beautiful intention, Hestia. So mote it be! Love to you in the year to come. <3


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