This is a random and rambling post that I hope to develop into something more accessible and useful.
Do you make new year’s resolutions? I haven’t made them for as long as I can remember, and often suffer through the holidays to an extent, though I do take time to reflect, gather, and imagine. This year I think letting go has been just as powerful as anything, and it is in this spirit that I say, thank you and goodbye to 2018. In fact, good riddance! 🙂
Good riddance isn’t a very appreciative phrase. Would a positive person, in fact, a yogi say that?! Let me explain.
This year has been so unbelievably hard in ways that I just still can’t even talk about that it feels good to be reverently irreverant. Some people, some experiences, or some years…need to just go ahead and be on their way. While it is true appreciation, care, and kindness are how I want to be, it is also true that I must be honest. I think we all need rituals, routines, customs, traditions, however we think about them, that we make our own, and also the ability to be honest. I want to both move on and start anew AND this is life continuing. Life goes on, as the song says.
The darkness of winter evokes a reflective time, the increasing light seems to bring energy, and the time is magical, with all the energy surrounding the holidays. In the US Christmas is ubiquitous and the spirit of giving, kindness, and rituals can support our lives even if we aren’t practicing those religions or customs. Even when I feel troubled, I can’t help but feel more generous and present when I am out and about around people in the spirit so to speak.
The threshold of the year-end can bring excitement for some and anticipation, or maybe even grief and awareness of loss or uncertainty for others. Life isn’t just one thing or another. Neither are people. Sometimes it is a mix. There is pain and there is joy. I will stop short of saying life is suffering, but it would be “spiritual bypass” or pretending to only share about or acknowledge the less than happy parts of life.
The more we acknowledge and can share in our full selves, the more that may actually just bring about a change in and of itself, without having to sign up for a new diet, or succumb to new year, new you programs, or just feel the pressure and stress of “needing to get somewhere” which I feel, at times in my most evolved and compassionate relationships. Some variations could be: what do you have to be sad about? Be more positive. You can control your mind.
Bear with me for a moment while I explain. A friend shared a list of questions with me when I asked how they reflect on the year. There were some questions to help complete the current year and add energy or imagine the year ahead.
My favorite is something like my greatest lesson of the year. Here is what I wrote: To have compassion for myself and others. What made sense in one moment may not in the next, and that is okay and has to be figured out and accepted within ourselves. It requires patience and multi-lifetime view.
Given this big personal learning, then I expect I will be carrying it into the year, though I don’t know how yet. This is okay! I tend to take my goals seriously and feel bad when they aren’t perfectly up to my unrealistic standards, so I like to be gentle about getting to dichotomous or fixed with my commitments to myself, which is really all a new years resolution or any other agreement is — a commitment to yourself.
If you’re a Getting Things Done enthusiast like me, maybe you don’t need help or thoughts with how to reconcile the fact that we have an entire life, not just a year, and how to make progress on a daily basis while still honoring your life purpose. (!)
Here are a few of my thoughts on how to use this time of year for the benefit whether
How to end your year?
If you don’t already have something you do spend time thinking about what was surprising, good, and hard. Honor yourself in some way. Take time to write, talk to a friend, pray, or meditate. This is a powerful practice. It helps to let go of the year and clear space for new energy to flow.
What felt good about the year?
What am I most proud of?
What do I need to do to complete this year?
For those not already following a routine around this or making tour own, I highly recommend reviewing your calendar or project /to do list so you can revisit and note what you accomplished. Surviving and even progressing through another year is no small feat! Give yourself some credit.
How to make your intention, goal, or vision even more powerful, or NOT make a new year resolution.
- Make it accessible and concrete if you are trying to change something about the way you think or act. If you want to write a book, but aren’t currently writing, then maybe try writing every day for a week, or writing in a notebook before bed. Right size the change so it has the effect you want. In fact, think of what you know you can do. If you aren’t 100% confident you can do that, I suggest making the action smaller. Instead of running 3 miles a day, make a habit of putting on your running shoes or getting your heart rate up if you aren’t currently moving.
- Focus your energies on priorities in your life since we can’t work on everything all the time. Do you have a special event coming up that you want to be sure and make happen this year? Is your health or finance needing attention? Or do you just need to keep going with your family, work, and activities, and if you could just keep doing that, then you’d feel good? This is why priorities are important. Especially for self-development junkies or yogis then the tendency is to either do too much or be too big. It’s great to dream big or have visions, such as being a kind person. Or always be friendly to people when they are stressed. Or maybe you want to eat right, exercise, be nicer, more spiritual, volunteer more, etc. That might be a lot for a single year, or maybe some deeper reflection would reveal the focus is service, and that would be good enough. Time is precious. The real point of fitness isn’t usually to just look good or be impressive, though if so it is okay. For me the point of life is to live our calling, to contribute to the world. So it is within that sense that I want to make changes or focus on things. An intention, goal, or vision is an excellent way to bring together your purpose in life and how you spend your time on a daily basis, at least it has been for me.
- Tell people somehow, whether it is on your blog, a friend, at church, or someone from your yoga class. There are apps, spreadsheets, meet up groups, yoga communities, or friends who you can tell your dreams, fears, goals, or non resolution. There is a power in putting it out to others, both in terms of aligning action to the intention or purpose, and also to let the world respond. You never know. You may get or give support, help, or realize you can do even more by putting it out to the world to some degree. You may have more accountability, clarity, or creativity around it. Or if you’re using an app to track your progress, say connecting with someone about their day, then you can learn how you’re doing and how to adjust.
Last year I was holding three visions and I think it may take me some time to figure out where to focus next, though in the meantime I have my daily practices. It took me all of January to figure out what to focus on, and then it changed, but it was good. It was hard.
Thank you, and goodbye 2018! I know my opinion of you may change in time, as time tends to do with our version of history. I am sure I will never forget you, and I am truly grateful to be alive.
More importantly than the year, if you’re reading this, if you’ve been there for me, if you are there now, then thank YOU. Most of us have overcome a lot to get to this moment. Bless you for getting this far. We did it! Go us!
In my experience, as people, especially modern, busy ones, who think we are so important, or who think we know who we are, we need to let go and pause to really be able to see. While we are running full speed ahead focused on the finish line, we aren’t noticing what others are doing, how it is going for them, and how our broader life is unfolding, to illustrate. But we need the confidence and the space to be able to make that finish line the focus, so to speak.
Do yourself a favor and spend however much time you like pausing and reflecting, and ideally somehow connecting with someone else about it.
Even if you aren’t sure what to do with what you find, much less how you want the year to play out, then the time spent with yourself will be rewarded. Then try it again soon.
It’s really the people that make my world, mirrors of hope, of courage, of love. Please just keep mirroring. Every one needs mirrors so we can be who we really are, not just who we think we are. May I also be that for you.
May we all be safe, at peace, content, and well in our moments.