You know winter has truly arrived when minnows live in your basement sink and your husband is fishing on the lake at 2 a.m. in below zero temperatures. Personally, I plan to wear long underwear until the thaw.
Holidays wrap up and commercials, social media posts, magazines all begin notice of the cultural mandate: New Year’s resolutions. There can be something good and helpful about making a resolution for change. There can also be disappointment and even shame attached if the change does not pan out as we would like. Here are two questions for the new year that may serve as an alternative to the stream of reminders which can leave us feeling as if we are not enough.
- When I look at my life, what would be helpful to lay down at the end of 2017? Is there something you have been carrying, holding, wrestling, with which you would like to be done? Perhaps it is the less-than-helpful-way you talk to yourself, or a habit you picked up along the way or a belief you learned a long time ago that may no longer serve you. What item in your life, in its absence, would make life a bit better?
- In this past year, what is the one thing – the most important item I experienced or learned, that I want to keep for the future? You may have many, however choose just one item on which you can focus and carry through with intent into the next season.
- Now, swap the two. Lay down the item you have been holding and would like to discontinue. Pick up the new that you would like to use. This allows us to not walk in the overwhelming place of running a “do/don’t” list in our head.
This practice reminds me of a rule of thumb around keeping “stuff” from multiplying in my home. “Get something new? Pass on the unused.” The mental “stuff” we are releasing may have worked for us in the past. Perhaps it was a coping mechanism or a particular belief.
Over this next week observe your life. What is no longer needful? Choose for you your focus for this next season. What lesson of 2017 do you want to practice? Consider a ritual that will help remind you of the “swap” – perhaps lighting a candle in the morning, or a moment of intentional silence to invite the new into your life space. Allow it to nurture your soul and revitalize your spirit.
Yearning for a new way will not produce it. Only ending the old way can do that.
You cannot hold onto the old, all the while declaring that you want something new.
The old will defy the new;
The old will deny the new;
The old will decry the new.
There is only one way to bring in the new. You must make room for it.
—Neale Donald Walsch
May you have a wonderful New Year,