Beware of rushing into the “new” too fast. Resolutions, intentions, bucket lists can wait a bit. Although December is the ostensible “ending” month of our annual cycle, and January the generally accepted “beginning,” dare to take your time. December inaugurates winter, time to hibernate and contemplate and savor our experiences of 2016. Pause to honor the past 12 months and allow clarity about what’s really calling to you for the next several years to emerge slowly.
1.Take time for Review and Reflection
- In 2016, what has pleased you? Accomplishments? Breakthroughs? Courageous experiments? The way you handled challenges?
- What have been your disappointments? Losses? Endings? The challenges you didn’t handle so well?
- What have been your lessons? Your hopes? Your dreams?
2. Take time to go deeper
The notion that a part of what has been presented to you in life, whether perceived as good or bad, may be something that you in fact helped to create, is not such a welcome idea in the public arena. However it is a deep path to renewal and growth. Particularly when you consider those perceived unpleasantries or poor results that we typically prefer to blame on others.
I do not recommend transferring any “blame” to ourselves. I do recommend taking the time to own up and “take deep responsibility” for life as it was, and is. This approach to deep ownership and responsibility for the lives we live, while sometimes painful, opens the door to new possibilities in ways few other strategies can.
For example, the arrival of MS 20 years ago was the way my body chose to get my attention. Prior to my diagnosis, I had been overworking and poorly handling a period of immense stress in my personal life. I now accept that it was, at least in part, my own beliefs and behaviors and unwillingness to listen to my body’s repeated messages that had energized the onset of my illness. Being really clear about our own contribution to whatever problem arises in our lives, gives us the power to expand our array of responses.
3. Take time to affirm your future truths
Clearly our minds and our bodies and inextricably connected. Significant research by Martin Seligman, Bruce Lipton, and others, supports the idea that the way we talk to ourselves is critical to having a life we think we want. In a recent personal struggle, I finally noticed myself saying repeatedly, “I can’t deal with this… I just can’t deal with this…It is too much.” While I thought I was just telling myself the truth about how I felt, I kept feeling worse and worse. Whoops!
Those words were not affirming to my brain and body how I wanted to feel. And I do know better. Here’s a partial rendition of my new conversation (my future truths) with myself which has assuaged my pain.
This is a new year for me. I’m willing to take a deeper look at the ways I specifically contributed to what I am experiencing. All losses carry the necessity of grief and sadness and I’m glad I can feel them. I brilliantly handle this new transition period in my life. I have extraordinary coping skills and am proud and excited to be learning and growing from these lessons.
I’m willing to not know what the future holds and to trust my body’s wisdom for healing. I am enough. I trust the flow in my life and the clarity that is whispering to me. I am willing to know what I really want for myself and my significants.
The dictionary defines wisdom as “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” Knowledge, on the other hand, is “information gained through experience, reasoning, or acquaintance.” gotquestions.org/wisdom-knowledge
In order to start 2017 wise, I invite you to first reflect on the lessons of 2016. Dare to name the good, bad, and the ugly. Go deeper. Seek your contribution to each of them. Use language that gives the brain better instructions.
Only then allow yourself to sit slowly with these questions and discern what is true: What’s calling to me in 2017? And what do I want to leave behind?
JOIN US on Sunday, January 22: Start the Year Wise at the Genesis Retreat Center on Sunday afternoon, January 22nd guided by Martha.