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Stephen Quinn is the host of On the Coast on CBC Radio One, 690 AM and 88.1 FM in Vancouver
Stephen Quinn is the host of On the Coast on CBC Radio One, 690 AM and 88.1 FM in Vancouver

New Year’s resolution: Let the universe take the reins Add to ...

Truth be told, I was planning on keeping my New Year’s resolution to myself, but just 11 days into 2014, I find myself wanting to share. I think it’s part of the new me.

The resolution is this, and I’m pretty sure it’s a quote but I’m not sure who to attribute it to: “Let it go to the universe.”

That’s it. “Let it go.” Understand that most things are beyond my control, and that I need to step out of the way and let the universe take over.

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There are many websites devoted exclusively to this idea and they have been my guide. Many of them quote Eckhart Tolle and feature mystical, Hobbit-inspired design and graphics. Thank you to the many enlightened people who have written on the subject.

Of course, like all resolutions, declaring it (even in public) is very different than acting upon it. Which is why I have taken action.

On the first morning of the brand new year, I awoke and deleted 311 and the Vancouver Police non-emergency number from my cellphone. I will have no more need for them. Nor will I have any need for the various city engineering and park board direct numbers I have collected over the years. I’ll miss you guys.

Dogs may bark. They may run amok, off leash, in the park, crapping where they please, their owners oblivious. With zero enforcement, and me no longer making the call to the city, they may grow in numbers until the city park is no more than yellowed grass and garbage bins overflowing with colourful plastic bags of reeking dog feces. I will let it go. I will let it fall from me, like dog urine trickling from plastic playground equipment.

Leashless dogs may trail far behind their helmetless masters who ride their bicycles on the sidewalk while talking on cellphones, and somehow smoking a joint at the same time. Cyclists who do use the road may blow through the red light, narrowly missing small children.

I will step out of the way and let the universe handle it.

When the speeding drivers who notice the red light in the 30 kilometre-per-hour school zone screech to a halt at the last minute, I will not bang on their hoods. Nor will I scream obscenities at them through the driver’s-side window and record their licence plate numbers. I will no longer photograph their stunned expressions. Instead I will put the fate of my children in the hands of the universe. “It is what it wants to be,” I will tell them, with a wink.

I will no longer berate drivers who text and talk on their phones as they drive. I’m certain the universe somehow compelled them to reach out at the moment. The universe understands that there is only the now.

When taggers defile the neighbourhood with their meaningless, ego-driven and poorly rendered tags, I will not immediately alert the city, nor the owner of the afflicted private property – for instance, Telus. I will wait as the graffiti builds, layer upon layer, and trust the universe to decide that its proliferation is not a signal that the neighbourhood is in decline.

The same goes for the litter, which I will leave to the winds to carry away.

The crack pipes discarded under the bench? Clearly the universe provided a bench in the first place and welcomed the crackheads who screamed in the park until 3:30 in the morning smashing bottles, urinating in the community garden and finally falling asleep under the school overhang. I will pass silently by their inert bodies in the morning and explain to my inquisitive child that the universe will take care of them.

People standing in the doorway of the SkyTrain car wearing fully loaded backpacks, with their outstretched arms and texting thumbs forming a gate that needs to be pushed through at every stop and they look annoyed as people pass? If that’s where the universe wants you to be, so be it. The universe must want you to ride in the doorway from Waterfront to New Westminster for a reason. The train may be half-empty and since you’re going 13 stops it would make sense for you to get out of the door, take off that backpack and sit down. But the universe is mysterious that way.

The driver in the left lane in front of me who just now signalled left when the light turned green? I commend you for also letting the universe carry you, thus relieving you from the usual anticipatory actions that come with driving as well as all consideration for other drivers. Like you, I now know how liberating a lack of conscious thought can be.

That’s where I am right now. It feels pretty good.

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