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The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Dec 28, 2013

JenniferFischerI am not really big on resolutions. I prefer to reflect and set intentions for each new year. Typically I do this by selecting a “focus word” for the year.

For 2013, the word was “abundance,” but perhaps not in the way you might think. Not focused on the abundance of stuff, but rather a focus on appreciating the fullness of life.

In a dictionary I recently consulted, the second definition stood out: “overflowing fullness.” For me, that means a home filled with laughter or a kitchen overflowing with the smells of a delicious, home-cooked meal.

At the beginning of 2013, I noted another example of abundance: the fullness of sharing not only my life with my husband, but also sharing our professional goals as we struggle together as independent filmmakers and arts educators.

In short, the point was to recognize the abundance in my life just as it is, not how wonderful life would be “if only.” I have to thank Shawn of The Abundant Mama Project for helping me shift my focus so I could recognize the abundance of my life — as is.

For 2014, the word I’ve chosen is “compassion.” This choice grew out of keen observation of the world around me, not only right in my own community, but also in the much wider world.

There were certainly moments this past year when violence, destruction, misunderstandings and hate loomed large, or moments when I’ve viewed, at the supermarket perhaps, extreme anger over something quite minor.

In these moments and observations, I note the need for greater compassion in the world and realize that focusing on fostering compassion in myself and with my family is a good place to start.

As I shared recently on my blog, I decided long ago that when I didn’t have an “answer” or “solution” to a challenge or a “fix” for someone in need, I would always just try to give more love to the world. In short, I would try to respond with compassion.

The value of that, and the need for greater compassion in the world, feels necessary. So I am looking forward to this new year and to exploring, truly and deeply, what it means to foster compassion.

Do you make resolutions or set intentions for the new year? If so, and you feel like sharing, pop over to The Good Long Road on Facebook and let me know. I’d love to hear it.


Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.


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  1. why is your posting format so confusing? I keep thinking this is spam

  2. Fatty mole under her nose

  3. It’s interesting that a piece promoting the need and value of compassion in the world receives such harsh criticisms. For a more heartfelt look at my selection of the word compassion and the inspiration for it, I’m sharing another piece: http://jennifischer.blogspot.com/2013/12/compassion-my-word-for-2014.html — I am hoping for a kinder and more thoughtful world in the new year. I see the importance of starting where you are with those that “surround” you, even if virtually. I wish you all a happy new year.

  4. Kiri says:

    Thanks Jennifer, I struggle with pinning resolutions down to anything too specific, but I like the word idea and your choice of word too. The world can always do with more compassion and while it is always tempting to leap to judgement, having that word as a reminder just gives you a little pause to think about a response in difficult situations.

  5. Sheila says:

    I typically set a new family theme, something for us all to work on, around this time of year. I believe greater compassion in our homes and in our communities is needed. Deciding to respond to anger with compassion rather than rage, respond to fear with compassion rather than mocking another, and respond to ignorance with compassion rather than hate would have a tremendous impact on our lives. You’ve inspired a train of thought for me. Thank you! Your pieces are always insightful.

  6. stacy says:

    Excellent choice Jen, we could all benefit from a world filled with more compassion and wouldn’t be nice if we could practice a bit more of it online as well? I’m not sure what our word will be just yet this year … will have to think on that for a bit.

  7. Chelsea says:

    Love this article, and I agree compassion is so needed in our world on ALL levels. Considering the feelings and needs of others before we do, say, write, or even think anything. Imagine if we all did that.

  8. Becky says:

    I love this. Thank you so much for sharing- empathy and compassion are the most important lessons we can teach our kids and students!

  9. Barbara says:

    My one little word for 2013 was gratitude. Not just like remembering to say thank you, but to find something to be grateful for in all things, even challenging, difficult, hard things. Ten days into that resolution, I was hit head-on by an alcohol-impaired driver and I really had to work to mine gratitude while lying broken on a bridge waiting for an ambulance and a wrecker. But my focus word, gratitude, got me through some dark and trying times this year. So thank you, Jennifer, for these words of wisdom and reflection. I love what Chelsea said, too … imagine if we all did what you suggested … picked a focus word and worked at getting better! I’ve picked JOY for my 2014 word.

    Write on!

  10. Kim says:

    Compassion would be the world I would to describe you Jen so it will be fun to see how you implement it even more in your life in 2014. You are a role model for serving others. We’re deciding as a family for our word of the year this week and painting a picture of it for our wall. Blessings, Simplify, Motivate, Kindness, Connect, Joy are all in the running.

  11. Carly says:

    What a beautiful post — I love the idea of focusing on a word for the year Thanks for inspiring me!

  12. Theresa says:

    I love that you pick a word to focus on for the year. Abundance and compassion are both wonderful and inspirational choices. Thank you for sharing and inspiring.

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