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LIFESTYLE 74 lime January - March 2009 CONDITIONED TO DREAM LARGE You see, we've been conditioned to dream large and to have what we desire now. This Big Mac combo, however, can often leave the arteries of our souls clogged as we fall and fail. When did life in the idyllic Tropics become so, well, NYC Grand Central – teeming with the hustle and bustle; focusing on the destination but not the journey? One psychologist friend stopped making resolutions because they weren't emanating from a place of genuine motivation. She would go through the motions merely because of self- imposed pressure to do something big at the beginning of a new year. Eventually, and predictably, her resolutions fi zzled. I'm not a best- selling author ( not yet anyway). But there was a resolution, a smaller, non descript one that I did commit to – enrolling in a short fi ction- writing course. And it didn't take the whole year. Twice a week for three months, a fl edgling group of writers began to weave tales – and, yes, some did come unhinged before we patched them up – with Caribbean life, people and settings. I realised how powerful and valuable the Caribbean expression of voice is. I also discovered that I had the stamina to complete a story I'd started, however small. And that that short expression of voice could lead to my winning my fi rst award in a literary arts festival. SMALL THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE So will our resolutions be mammoth tasks with few successes along the way because they focus on singular outcomes that can only be achieved at the end of 2009? Or should we opt for something a little different? In discussing this article a friend and I made a simple resolution to spend more time together. Within a few weeks this can be easily achieved. She's also resolved to teach me the violin, an instrument I downed when I relocated to Barbados as a child. And I'm excited by this challenge. What other small yet meaningful challenges or changes can we take up in 2009 or throw out to ourselves to make sure we're living, not merely existing? Something that will energise us and bring others joy? Small things make a big difference. Look at Barack Obama's election campaign fund-raising strategy. Look at our archipelago and the contribution we're making to the world's culture, sport, cuisine, medicine and more. Perhaps resolutions should not seek to necessarily conquer the world, but create windows of opportunity through which we can perceive and pursue meaningful acts. We may well surprise ourselves and others. take one a month! LiME's prescription for achievable and meaningful resolutions. If your resolutions have, in the past, been so unwieldy that they collapse under their own weight before the end of January, why not try a smaller dose – one challenge or change a month? Here are some ideas to churn up your juices. 2 Take a sabbatical. You don't have to join a convent or monastery for this one. Simply carve out one day, clear your diary, and totally dedicate it to connecting with you. No TV, radio, or Blackberrys allowed! 1 Learn the steel pan. You'll be euphoric when you start making sweet music!

January - March 2009 lime 75 3 Get a small group of friends or family members together and volunteer at a local church or do a mini- fundraiser for charity, or adopt a cause. 4 Postpone that jaunt to the concrete metropolis and visit an island you've always wanted to see. 5 Do a beach clean up with your children, then head into the water to cool off. 6 Line dancing has taken off in the Caribbean, so join this electric slide! 7 Start a micro- enterprise. Sell vegetables from your kitchen garden or your home- made ginger beer; or create postcards using images you take with your camera. 8 Host a small dinner party and prepare nouveau- Caribbean cuisine. Coconut shrimp on the menu may well ensure a full house. 9 Treat yourself to a night at a hotel. Just because. 10 Take an art course. Learn batik or pottery. Kin Images/ getty images