For years I didn’t much partake in holiday celebrations or traditions, in fact, for various reasons, I made it a point not to. That is, until someone pointed out to me that ‘not doing anything for the holidays’ is just placing myself in opposition to them, placing myself ‘above them’ and is like excluding and separating myself from something that IS here, that IS a part of reality, but pretending it’s not.
*Sigh* – they had a point.
So last year, instead of simply ‘not doing anything for the holidays’, I decided to define the holidays for myself, give them a meaning and purpose that I can live and stand by and celebrate according to that.
That is how, last year at New Year’s I came to write out some New Year’s resolutions – a list of ‘goals’ I wanted to focus on in the coming year, things I wanted to create or accomplish. Browsing through my journal this year around New Year’s, I found this list – and, I realized I had accomplished… NOT A SINGLE ONE of those goals!!! Yikes, ouch, eish….. And yet not surprising!
Isn’t that how it always goes with New Year’s resolutions?! We create these lofty goals, we might even go fancy and make them SMART goals (you know; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based). We feel inspired and driven for a moment, maybe a day, a week or a month – and then… life happens. And those goals? Well, they become more like faint remembrances or intentions that we may one day get back to, but ‘not now’.
I’ll be honest, I felt quite deflated, lol – they were some really nice goals!! Reading through the list I could recall the enthusiasm and passion with which I’d written them – and I felt like I let that one-year-younger-me down. At the same time I experienced a kind of nostalgia for that younger me, the one who didn’t yet know what was about to happen in 2021, a year that for me, personally, was the most heartbreaking and challenging of my years so far. No wonder she wrote those lofty goals, she didn’t know… She saw an ocean of time before her, so much space to do with what she set herself out to do. But instead came storm after storm, wave after wave of unforeseen, out of her control events and challenges that she had no choice but to receive, ride, endure, direct, channel and transform to the best of her ability.
I understood WHY and HOW I didn’t reach those goals, but, well, I wasn’t exactly inspired to write New Year’s resolutions again this year.
Still reflecting on last year’s events and not-reached goals I somewhat absent-mindedly continued paging through my journal. After a few pages I came upon something I had totally forgotten about. I had made this little diagram – placing myself in the center circle and then placing circles all around that of the main people and ‘things’ in my life, like my partner, my daughter, my work, my studies, my body, etc. On the next page I had taken each of these aspects of my life and made them into headings, and underneath each one I specified a word to live in relation to that thing or person. Underneath the word I specified an action to take, either a first practical thing to do or a habit to form.
For instance – in relation to my studies I wrote the living word ‘steady’ and the first action to take was to purchase my next study module.
In relation to my work I wrote the living word ‘sensitive’ and the action was to be sensitive to what is needed for the business, for the clients, for me in the business as well as for each of my colleagues, bearing in mind that each of our lives are very different.
I read over all these headings, all the living words and all the actions, and to my absolute surprise and delight – I had walked…. ALL OF THEM!
While I didn’t master living all those words all the time, they definitely became far more present and integrated in the past year. I was actually blown away with how specific those words had been looking back on the year, they were exactly what I needed in the tough moments, they were the attitudes that I fell back on and that carried me through. And this little exercise I did was not something I ‘thought long and hard about’. It was in a moment of feeling quite overwhelmed and frustrated, feeling like I had no footing or direction in my life that I decided to ‘quickly give myself direction’ and jotted these things down.
I asked myself why I ended up doing exactly as I set out to do with this exercise (even if I forgot about it) – but did not reach any of my goals. Then I saw that all of my goals were ‘surface’ things – they were things I wanted to accomplish or achieve like losing x amount of weight or having x amount of income. None of those goals really said anything about ME. They were also things that may have been possible under the right circumstances, but those circumstances were not in my control. The other exercise on the other hand focused entirely on me and asked the question: Who am I? Who do I want to be? Who do I want to create myself to be? What parts of myself can I rely on, sharpen, bring through or create for the first time?
They were all things that were in my direct sphere of influence and ability to direct and create, regardless of circumstances. They were also the stuff of substance, the things that in the end really matter. The things that in the end determine our entire self-experience and have an impact on those around us.
So, if you’re like me and have not had much success with New Year’s Resolutions, but at the same time have much you’d like to change or create – consider taking a different approach this year, focusing more on the words you can live, the attitudes you can practice, on who you want to be and become. Then let life unleash its storms, its trials, its challenges, and you’ll have the most important support already in place to anchor and guide you through them, allowing you to come out the other side, changed, for the better.
So, what were my living words for 2021?
Not too shabby…
If you’re not sure that this is for you but you do want to try something different this year, consider a New Year’s Resolution Color Reading or a Life Alignment Reading so a practitioner can tap into you and your life specifically to find out where your focus is most needed in the coming year to make the absolute most out of it.
Here’s to 2022 – let’s make it count !