The View From Here
Don't you love this time of year? In the Northern Hemisphere, it's cold, daylight is limited and the weather can stop us in our tracks. However, it's a brand new year, which means a clean slate, a blank canvas, an open book. That can either be intimidating or exciting. We can use this calendar change to make radical decisions and let go of at least some of the heavy weight of previous viewpoints, choices and unfulfilling decisions. We can also carry over things left unfinished into this new year, with a greater commitment to see them through. And we can vision areas where we want to stretch and grow.
While none of those tasks are easy, a new year can renew our hope in what's possible. The big picture of our lives seems to come into sharper view. Our priorities are front and center again. We can allow ourselves to believe we might have another chance to think differently, clean up our messes, act with more awareness and integrity, pick ourselves up and try again.
Sounds pretty good to me!
Personally, I love the process of standing on the threshold of a new year and getting honest with myself about how I can improve myself and my decisions going forward. It is a rejuvenating time when I review my intentions for the previous year, set new intentions and choose a new word of the year. As 2017 was ending, I spent time reflecting on the year: my choices, my relationships, how I spent my time, the blessings I received as well as the challenges I overcame, etc. This paved the way for me to set new intentions that included fine tuning my boundaries, doing more self care, looking for more ways to be of service, amping up my creative life, making my business more sustainable, collaborating with others, etc.
Coming into 2018, (as you may have noticed), I'm starting the year with a brand new website. Letting go of my old website, the site which was launched at the beginning of my three-year nomadic journey, lovingly created by the collaborative gifts of five people wasn't easy. It was an adjustment saying goodbye to the artsy, colorful, spontaneous identity that I gave birth to back then. However, while it served me well, it no longer resonated with the grounded, rooted life I've been living since moving to the Asheville. I've known for a while that I needed a website that reflected a simple, straightforward view of my offerings, without the embellishments of a wandering pilgrim.
So here it is. I'm pretty happy with it, especially considering I did most of the work myself, with some significant guidance and hands-on help from my son, Julian, a gifted developer. The site is still in beta, a work-in-progress that will evolve over time. My intention is to add eventually add a store with some downloadable books and courses. In fact, while a large majority of my current work is based in the Asheville, community, I do work with clients remotely from around the world, and as a result, I've received a number of requests to offer online "live" versions of my groups and classes.
Overall, I feel optimistic about what's next. I hope you do too. To help with that, here are some ideas (borrowed from one of my favorite blog posts from 2014) to add a little joy to your day:
Each day ask yourself upon arising ask yourself, "What do I want today?" Many of us go through the day reacting to other people's agendas and fulfilling others' needs and requests, often putting ourselves last. If you make space for yourself in the day when you first wake up, you'll make sure that you don't forget that your needs are as important as the needs of those around you.
Each day also ask yourself, "Who can I help today?" This too, is a nourishing way to begin the day, opening the heart and tuning into the well being of someone who might be forgotten in the day-to-day running around. It could be a phone call to a friend, a visit with a neighbor, a smile at the check-out line at the grocery, a blanket for a homeless person.
Spend five minutes or longer connecting with nature. Breathe in the fresh air on your deck. Watch the birds in your bird feeder. Take a walk in a nearby park. Tend to your indoor plants. Hug or lean against a tree. Walk barefoot in the dew. Tap into the innocence there and your heart will gently open and be ready to receive the blessings of the day.
Meditate for 20 - 30 minutes in the morning and evening. Use a guided meditation from an online source or a CD from the local library. Or tune into your favorite peaceful music. Just let yourself go. At first, the mind may resist, but once you do this enough times, it will calm down and you can just quietly observe the thoughts floating by.
Move your body and get your heart beating. Exercise is like an internal shower for the body. Most of us shower every day on the outside of our body, but may get busy and forget to shower on the inside. Movement that makes your heart beat faster, isn't just good for your health, it elevates your hormones which lifts your mood and makes the world looks like a happier, more benign place.
Ask a loved one "What would make you feel loved right now?" This obvious, yet simple question is rarely, if ever, asked. Instead, we either assume we already know or we stop thinking this way except on birthdays and special occasions. Imagine the difference if this became a regular part of our communication with our loved ones, especially when we notice they're having a rough time.
Say to a loved one, "Do you know what would make me feel loved right now?" Then tell them. Speak your truth. Be authentic. Practice honesty. Say yes when you want to say yes and no when you want to say no. Tell others what you need and why. Set boundaries with a gentle mix of firmness and kindness. Don't hide your light or your needs. Live your life as if you matter. Imagine the shift that can come from just that!