I LOVE the new year...like, really love it.
After the crazy indulgence of the holidays, there's something just refreshing about the blank slate of a new year. Everything seems possible at the beginning of the year. The fatty, sugary food gets trashed. The decorations come down. The kids go back to school. New calendars and planners come out-- fresh and clean.
It all makes me want to deep clean the house and get rid of all the junk. It makes me want to detox my body and rekindle a healthy relationship with food and exercise and meditation.
I make lists of all the things I want to do...all the things I want to be. I brainstorm and read articles and listen to audiobooks and meditations. I get so excited by all the possibilities! I mean, I could be a completely different person this year, than I was last year. I could be anyone...anything.
More of this. Less of that.
What will I be? What will you be?
Every new year, it's like being young again...if we let it be. The world laid out before us...our oyster, once more.
What do you want to do this year? Who do you want to be? What do you want to change? What do you want to do more of? Less of?
Last year I deemed 2017: My Year of Health and Wellbeing...and boy was it ever!
I made flossing every day a real habit. (I think I can count on my fingers, and maybe a few toes, the number of days I didn't floss in 2017....about the same number that I DID floss in 2016!) I joined Danette May's 30 Day Challenge, then her Forever Fit group, and lost 20 lbs. I made daily workouts a habit again. I made clean eating and daily meditation a new habit. Later in the year, I faced a new level of anxiety head on and with the help of a therapist and my MD dealt with it. I worked with a massage therapist and a chiropractor and a naturopath to improve my health. I started using new supplements and essential oils and healing foods to keep me above the wellness line. My health and wellbeing truly was my focus for 2017. And all of those new habits have taken hold, and I happily carry them with me into this new year. (You can read my 2017 New Year's post here: https://mamamanagement.blogspot.com/2017/02/2017-year-of-health-and-well-being.html.)
So what will be my focus for 2018?
2018: My Year of Abundance
As I think about goals and changes, and brainstorm ideas, and begin to fashion a vision for the year ahead, I take lots of notes, then look for themes that might tie together the things I want to focus on. I also search myself to see if there's a particular feeling that I want to cultivate this year, and if there's a word or value that is calling to me. The words that rose to the top for me this year were Grace, Joy, Gratitude, Fun, and Abundance.
Grace in my life. Grace for myself. Grace for my kids and my husband. Grace for all others. I've written about grace before. (A year ago I wrote about it here: https://mamamanagement.blogspot.com/2017/01/giving-grace.html.) It's a word that took on new meaning and new importance for me last year (so much so, that my husband got me a bracelet to remind me to Give Grace). It's a word that beautifully captures the gift I most want to give myself and others. Grace is the opposite of judgment, of fear, of shame, of guilt. Cultivating Grace, for me, means letting go of the need for perfection (in myself, in others, and in life) and focusing on acceptance-- acceptance of who I am, where I am, and what is happening. Grace is about not fighting the moment, but embracing it, sending it love, and letting it be. Grace is the emotional embodiment of mindfulness and meditation. When I think of nourishment for our minds, bodies and spirits, I think our minds need mindfulness, or bodies need meditation, and our spirits need grace.
Joy in as many moments as I can. I'm naturally an optimist, but that doesn't mean I can't get dragged into a bad mood or get stuck in the doingness of getting stuff done, and lose sight of the Joy in every day things. So much of Joy, I think, is simply about recognizing it when it's there. Too often we're so busy that we forget to find the joy in what we're doing. I was laying in bed with my daughter the other night, we were done reading and had turned the lights out, and it was time for sleep. But this is her favorite time to talk to me. I know she needs to settle in for sleep, but I don't want to shut down those important conversations. That night, as were cuddled in together and she was telling me about some new idea, I stopped, and focused....really focused, and this warm feeling of joy spread through my entire body. This is Joy, I thought. Warm and cozy, snuggling with my daughter, listening to her voice, seeing the love in her eyes--this is pure Joy. I rolled my window down driving home the other day--it was 45 degrees out after a stretch of below freezing weather-- and felt the fresh air and sang along with a song on the radio. This is Joy, I thought again. It's everywhere if we look for it.
Gratitude is easy for me...if I remember it. And that's exactly what I want to do more of: remember to focus on the Gratitude. There's all kinds of research that tells us that focusing on Gratitude is good for our health and wellbeing. Some people keep Gratitude journals; some people have family Gratitude jars; some people do Gratitude meditations or prayers; some people talk about it over dinner. Whatever the mode of recognition might be (because they're all great), the idea is the same: no matter what's going on in your life or your day, whether it's awesome or awful, find something you're Grateful for. I'm trying out the idea of Gratitude showers. The idea here is to find something that you do everyday, that you typically do without a lot of thought, (like brushing your teeth or washing the dishes or taking a shower) and use that time to think of things you're Grateful for. Yesterday, I think I came up with more than 30 in my 5 minute shower. They kind of snowball once you get going. Which is sort of the idea.
Fun. It's something I don't think I focus on enough...having fun. All too often I get caught up in the to do list and the daily running around and I forget to focus on fun. I do have fun every day, but I don't always focus on it-- recognize it, try for it, cherish it. I read this great quote about writing last year, from someone...I can't remember who, that said something like, "When you get stuck while writing for middle grade readers, you should ask yourself, 'What's the coolest thing that could happen to these characters?' And then do that." This got me thinking about life off the page. What if every day we thought, what's the coolest/funnest thing that could happen here? How can I make this more fun? This year I want to ask myself those kinds of questions daily... How can I make this more fun? What fun thing can I do today? Am I having fun?...And then, go do more of the fun stuff.
But the word that seems to provide the most perfect umbrella for all the things I want in my 2018 is Abundance. Abundance opens us up to the wealth of possibilities. It is a mindset, a belief, a value. It is raising our vibration to the highest frequency of positivity and optimism. The idea is to focus on Abundance rather than scarcity. Focusing on Abundance means there is enough for you and for me and for everyone. The universe is Abundant and can provide for all of our dreams. There is an Abundance of health, wealth, creativity, success, love, joy, fun. All around us the world is filled with Abundance. If you focus on, if your self-talk is about, all that you have, instead of all that you have-not, then that is what you will find to be true in your world. If you believe that the road will always rise up to meet you, if you tell yourself the road will always rise up to meet you, then the road will, in fact, rise up to meet you. We see what we want to see. We are what we think.
The world is Abundant. And so am I.
I am abundant in energy. I am abundant in patience. I am abundant in time. I am abundant in grace, joy, gratitude, and fun.
So much of what I'm really looking for in 2018 is about my mindset; subtle shifts in how I think, in what I focus on, in how I react to life. If I can live a life more filled with grace, joy, gratitude, fun, and abundance, I think I may be loving life more fully than ever before.
Until next time, give thought to your vision for your life in 2018. Dream big. And may you be abundant in your dreams.
P.S. In case you hadn't noticed, I was paying homage to the brilliance of my favorite poet, Mary Oliver, in this post. So I'll leave you with this...