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New Year’s Resolution: To Lose The Blinders And Walk Towards The Light

December 31, 2012

I was scrounging around for a year-end post, and had one of those “happy accidents,” sometimes referred to as serendipity. I found an old illustration (circa 2006), and I also came across a quote by Saint Francis of Assisi. You may recall that Francis made an appearance in a recent Christmas post. Here’s the quote:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Here’s the illustration:

illustration of angry blind man with cane groping and walking past signpost indicating two basic paths either into sunlight with life, love, song, optimism, positive attitude, or into darkness with death, negativity, hate, pessimism, and sour disposition, you've got to take off blinders and choose wisely to support your mental health and affirm others

It wasn’t a commissioned illustration– just an idea of mine: namely, that we are often blind, and choose unwisely.

Our anger and arrogance blind us to the light, and make us our own worst enemy. Here’s a detail image:

detail image of illustration of angry blind man with cane groping and walking past signpost indicating two basic paths either into sunlight with life, love, song, optimism, positive attitude, or into darkness with death, negativity, hate, pessimism, and sour disposition, you've got to take off blinders and choose wisely to support your mental health and affirm others

Our walk is our preaching, whether we wish to preach or not. We are constantly preaching to others, and preaching to ourselves. Francis knew our “walk” was much more powerful than our “talk,” because he also said:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

We live in an imperfect world, and yes, there are many hardships, many struggles. But we can’t hope to make it a better world if we embrace cynicism, negativity, darkness.

BlankVertSpace.8pixels

So here’s my New Year’s Wish for everyone, myself included: let’s choose love, beauty, joy, hope, charity. Let’s cast off our blinders and walk towards the light.

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What do you think? Do we often choose to be blind? Is cynicism an ever-present temptation? Are you someone who makes New Year’s resolutions? Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

2012 Olympic Games Tribute, Or Who’s That Swimming In My Beer?

Political Correctness, Free Speech & The Right To Draw

Once Upon A Time At Westminster Cathedral

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55 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2012 10:21 PM

    Oh, this is wonderful, Mark. Such a great illustration, and wise words to go with it. I’m choosing to come with you! Happy New Year to you and your family. ♥

    • January 2, 2013 7:44 AM

      Thank you, dear Maddie! We shall trod the path together. I see a new book coming out of this: Guiding Light Hunter. You’ll be the star, of course, and I’ll be your assistant, Lite Hunter… wishing you a very Happy New Year at the top of all the bestseller lists!! : )

  2. December 31, 2012 10:34 PM

    Reblogged this on 50 Shades of Human Resources and commented:
    Love this inspirational post from Mark Armstrong…

    • January 2, 2013 7:35 AM

      Too kind, dear Rosemary– thank you! And 50 shades of a Happy New Year to you!! : )

  3. December 31, 2012 11:29 PM

    Happy New Year my friend!

    • January 2, 2013 7:36 AM

      Thank you, my friend, and may good fortune smile down on Furrytown all thru 2013– New New Year!! : )

  4. January 1, 2013 12:01 AM

    Terrific post, Mark! Happy New Year!

    • January 2, 2013 7:38 AM

      Thanks so much, Jayne. I shall look forward to more of your delightful work in 2013– a very Happy New Year to you!! : )

  5. January 1, 2013 12:25 AM

    Happy New Year Mark. Thank you once again for your words of encouragement.

    • January 2, 2013 8:06 AM

      You are most welcome indeed, and it’s delightful to see you here. May the owls of Happiness, Joy, and Success surround your bungalow and give you hoots throughout 2013– Happy New Year, and all the best to you!! : )

  6. January 1, 2013 2:19 AM

    This was so beautifully written! I completely agree that we miscalculate to what effect our actions and words might have on a certain situation or a certain someone–so hard to control sometimes :-(

    • January 7, 2013 6:47 PM

      Many thanks! Yes, I think we all have a greater impact on others than we think. I’m also convinced that you’re a very good influence up there in Montreal, and I wish you a new year filled with joy, laughter, and emphatically positive experiences!! : )

  7. January 1, 2013 6:32 AM

    Wonderful post! I think many people find it difficult to break out of that negative state of mind… so perhaps we should be more actively striving to maintain a healthy and positive outlook. I will definitely keep this in mind for this year and years to come!

    Wishing you a very happy new year! :)

    • January 7, 2013 7:15 PM

      Thank you for those very kind words, Lily. I think the worst part about emotional or psychological blindness, is that it becomes more ingrained over time. We become our habits and choices, so to speak. I know some people are exposed to bad influences from an early age; some are prone to addictions, clinical depression, etc– it’s a complex subject. Awareness seems to be the key– staying alert to our choices and their long-term effects, and seeking help when we need it.

      I know you’re a positive influence in ye olde Blogosphere, and I wish you much happiness in the coming year!! : )

  8. January 1, 2013 10:32 AM

    Excellent illustration to carry us into a New Year, Mark.
    No, I haven’t made a list of New Year’s Resolutions, though I will try to have breakfast and get dressed before lunch on New Year’s Day… or maybe before dinner.

    • January 7, 2013 7:22 PM

      Ha! Thanks, Margie. Your “I will try” resolution made me laugh. There’s something to be said for making and keeping low-level resolutions before moving on to the harder stuff. Get dressed today, shoot for clean underwear tomorrow, etc… : P

      I know 2012 was not the best year for you (how’s that for an understatement?). I wish you and the Car Guy and your family happiness and better times in the year ahead.

      P.S. You make WordPress a better place, and I appreciate you and your blog– thanks. : )

  9. January 1, 2013 11:39 AM

    I love your New Year’s wish, Mark, and will strive to “walk the talk.” Happy New Year to you and yours.

    • January 2, 2013 7:34 AM

      We shall walk the path together, and in our case, it’ll probably wind up at ye olde cell block. Well, at least we’ll be in good company… : )

      Happy New Year, Judy!!

  10. January 3, 2013 6:08 AM

    Well said Mark! Happy New Year!

    • January 7, 2013 6:34 PM

      Many thanks! Wishing you a new year filled with happy pedals– and I hope Santa brought you a new chain!! : )

  11. January 3, 2013 12:02 PM

    Providing it isn’t overdone, I quite like a bit of cynicism and actually I find all the lovey-dovey a bit difficult to take a lot of the time. Myself, I aim for (or rather, hope for) a balance between the two.

    Have a happy – and balanced – new year, Mark, and continue your funny cartoons! :)

    • January 7, 2013 6:43 PM

      You, cynical?? I’m shocked! I had you down in the lovey-dovey column, for sure… : P

      Yes, one has to strive for a healthy balance. I know that’s what Jack the Ripper used to say when he helped old ladies cross the street… : P

      Happy New Year, Val!!

  12. January 3, 2013 9:03 PM

    Happy New Year Mark! Awesome photo…except I kind think that the bird and thunder storm should switch places…cuz storms lead to cozy snuggly weather which can be fun and I few years ago while sitting at a bus stop minding my own business a bird came out of nowhere and tried to steal my blueberry muffin!! I was sooo mad! I’d just finished work and was starving…rude bird….what was I talking about again?

    • January 3, 2013 9:04 PM

      eeek! I mean illustration not photo….ugh…memories of that bird have got me so mixed up! :(

      • January 11, 2013 4:52 PM

        I do understand– bird attacks can be very disorienting. I saw that once in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. That’s why I never refill my birdfeeder unless I’m accompanied by an armed guard… : P

    • January 11, 2013 4:49 PM

      Right, right– I’m going to redraw the whole thing: the storm gets switched to the good guy cuddly column, and I’ll flip the bird the bird!

      And I think I’ll replace the sun with a cheesecake, ’cause everyone knows that when you walk toward the cheesecake, you trod the path of righteousness!! : P

      Happy New Year to one of my favorite people, whose big smile is more than a much for her many traumatic experiences!! : )

      • January 14, 2013 12:57 PM

        Ah yes that is a wonderful plan! Wait a minute…I think you’re just saying that in hopes of getting one of my awesome cheesecakes! Grrr….

      • January 14, 2013 2:15 PM

        Well, er, yes, that is a very essential part of the plan… : )

  13. January 3, 2013 11:29 PM

    And this post is exactly why I think the world of you, my friend Mark Armstrong.
    You walk the talk in all your wonderful and witty ways…
    I adore you…!
    Happy New Year… :)

    • January 11, 2013 5:59 PM

      My dear, dear Carolyn–!! You and your incredible comment are simply intoxicating!! Why, my head hasn’t spun like this since I fell into that vat of eggnog and swam 10,348 laps!! (a Guinness Book world record that still stands, BTW) : P

      When people ask me how I got so pure and noble, I tell them about your blog. Visit it often, I say, and you, too, will be transformed!! I know I’m just one member of the vast Carolyn Page Adoration Society, but I’m one of the really sincere members… : )

      Wishing you a wonderfully happy new year, my friend!!

  14. January 4, 2013 4:22 PM

    A timely blog for the only New Years resolution that matters in this world. Reminds me of my favorite quote, “It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.” Thank you for inspiring me to walk in the light!

    • January 11, 2013 5:48 PM

      Ah! There’s a lotta wisdom in that quote! I find it very easy to preach in a blog post. Making my actions conform to my noble words is quite another matter– especially when I’m offline!!

      Speaking of inspiration, take a bow! I find your posts enormously inspiring, not to mention all the visits you and your paw-some team make to schools. If St. Francis were around today, he’d point at you and say: “That’s it, folks– that’s the idea!!”

      Thanks for all your good cheer and support, Tracey– you are definitely a bright and shining light. : )

  15. January 7, 2013 6:20 PM

    Inspiring, in every way.

    I hope that your year is splendid, Mark. You bring light to the world. :)

    • January 11, 2013 4:38 PM

      Gosh, it’s peaceful up here… the sky is so blue… and on a clear day I can see our local recycling center– zowie!! : P

      I am, of course, floating on a cloud after reading your comment, my dear Robin– thank you!! If your good cheer and support were Reese’s Pieces, they’d stretch from here to eternity– and that’s even further than Jabba The Hut’s girdle!!

      Wishing you a new year filled with heaps of happiness– ’cause no one deserves it more’n you!! : )

  16. January 9, 2013 7:56 AM

    Greetings from Australia Mark,
    I agree wholeheartedly with the beautiful comments of St. Francis of Assisi. He was a beautiful individual who lived out what he sincerely believed in his heart. St. John Chrysostom is my favourite saint. We should concentrate on the garden of our own heart, and only thus by purifying our thoughts which manifest into words and actions do we change ourselves and by doing do unconsciously have an effect on those around us. Humility and love are essential for this door to be opened. I really enjoyed this post; keep up the great work.
    God bless

    • January 11, 2013 11:43 AM

      Thank you, my friend. There are some comments that truly make my day– yours was certainly one of them.

      Your lovely reflection says it all: trying to effect change in the world and in others is a hopeless task if we have anger and bitterness in our hearts. St. John C. is right: we must tend our own gardens if we wish them to yield the kind of fruit that is attractive to others.

      Many thanks for stopping by. Viva the Land Down Under, and I wish you happiness and many blessings in the new year!! : )

      • January 12, 2013 6:27 AM

        You are most welcome Mark and the pleasure is mine indeed. I am constantly learning about humility as this is essential before love can grow and blossom. I do believe that faith is a journey of love, an experience filled with pain, but tempered with peace and joy. I believe that God blesses us with some people by meeting certain individuals along this journey, that are meant to encourage and inspire us, much like lights in the dark. You are one such light on my journey.
        God bless you in every way, my dear friend

      • January 23, 2013 9:10 AM

        What a lovely comment– thank you, my friend. I, too, believe that God blesses us with “guiding lights” along the way. I feel I’ve met many such lights on the internet– something I didn’t anticipate when I started blogging. I’m definitely adding your name to that list! God bless you, and thanks for sharing your light. : )

  17. January 9, 2013 8:32 AM

    I love this post and you’re right, our lives preaches to others whether we’re aware of it or not! Thanks for sharing this great post and illutsrations.
    Much love-:)

    • January 11, 2013 10:38 AM

      What a lovely comment– thank you so much, Seyi. Yes, it’s sobering to think that no matter what we say, our lives and the way we live them always speak so much louder than our words. My visits to your blog tell me that you are someone who preaches naturally by good example. : )

      Many thanks for your support!

  18. Mike Schultz Paintings permalink
    January 12, 2013 6:13 PM

    Great illustration, Mark! Thanks for sharing. This year I resolved to find out what distracts me most from doing my artwork and doing less of that thing. >>> A’hem… less internet, more drawing!

    • January 23, 2013 8:12 AM

      Many thanks, Mike. You have definitely identified the biggest time waster ever invented: the internet!! Less internet, more drawing– I’m going to sign on to that excellent resolution. I shall look forward to seeing your future creations– thanks for stopping by! : )

  19. January 15, 2013 1:32 PM

    I don’t usually make New Years resolutions but I do make resolutions often throughout the year…meaning I don’t save it all up for only one time of the year :)

    • January 16, 2013 5:54 PM

      That strikes me as a profoundly sensible idea– no wonder it’s never occurred to me… : (

      Delighted to see you here, many thanks for your kind comment and an excellent suggestion! : )

  20. January 15, 2013 8:16 PM

    Though I am so late to leave a comment on this post, but it’s never too late to wish you and everybody A Happy New Year.

    This is a very touching article from you that I’ve ever read, Mark! Love the quotes of St. Francis. His Peace Prayer has been always inspired me, so powerful and meaningful.

    Thanks for this great article, Mark!

    God bless you!

    • January 17, 2013 10:16 AM

      Saint Francis was a good influence, and so are you, my dear Inge. Thanks for all your wonderful support. May God bless you abundantly in 2013. I wish you much happiness and success, and I look forward to more of your captivating photography!! : )

  21. January 16, 2013 8:20 AM

    Wonderful illustration :) I like everything from the eerie black backdrop to the misguided Man. Above all, the message is very striking.

    • January 16, 2013 1:03 PM

      Now that’s the kind of wonderful comment that bathes me in radiant light. And I’m going to walk towards it… : )

      Thank you very much, Vandy!!

  22. January 18, 2013 2:59 PM

    I try to live by ‘Be the change you wish to see’
    :)

    • January 21, 2013 11:56 AM

      An excellent credo by an excellent fellow known for his good example.

      Which is why my credo is: Be like Mikk Murray. : )

  23. January 23, 2013 1:16 PM

    Gee it’s way past New Years and this still rings true….cynicism has not yet shaded my vision and hope for 2013. Great post.

    • January 24, 2013 9:30 PM

      Ah! As I suspected– you’re much too sunny and upbeat to let old Mr. Cynicism darken your door! : )

      Many thanks for that lovely comment, delighted to see you here– you’re a good influence. Hope 2013 conjures much happiness for you! : )

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