Well, here we are in the first week of a brand-new year. Likely not the scenario any of us had hoped the beginning of 2022 would look like, but here we are just the same.
We’d like to share a ritual that we do to close out one year and usher in the next that has become rather therapeutic these last few years along with what we learned from it this time 'round.
We begin by recapping in writing (long hand- lol!) highlights of the year that’s ending. The great things that happened, the good things, and the not-so-good and sometimes ugly ones. Basically, it’s a brain/emotional dump of the year. If you’ve ever tried it, you’ll know there’s a feeling of relief when it’s all down on paper. It makes it easier to say goodbye and move on to capturing your hopes and intentions for the year ahead. It was during this year's exercise that we were reminded of something very important which we’ll get to in a moment.
Obviously, the world around us continues to be chaotic. COVID, political unrest, economic and health challenges, and on and on. All these things feel like they’re playing on a continuous loop. And it’s normal and easy to get caught up in the mess because it all impacts our lives.
We, like millions of others, spent a good deal of time last year being sad, frustrated, angry, worried, and scared. And although it’s healthy to acknowledge our feelings, that time spent did not change a single thing except possibly to make us feel even worse. And looking back, it feels like and was wasted time. Time, that we can’t get back. So, the question we asked ourselves was, ‘how much more time are we willing to waste this year?’
We had a choice to make. We could choose where to focus our time and energy each day of this new year. Sometimes we forget that regardless of what’s going on around us, we all have this choice. We can react to the negativity and carry the burden of worry and fear heavy on our shoulders. Or we can consciously choose to focus on what’s good in our lives. Waking up and trying to be grateful that we’re still here. Spending the day being aware of all that is good, no matter how small, rather than everything that is wrong.
Will this change what’s beyond our control? Nope. But it will impact how we feel and what our experience will be. And it will be far healthier than getting carried along in the craziness. Is it okay to grieve our losses? It’s not only okay, it is necessary. The important thing is that we can make a conscious choice to begin again at any time.
We’re quite aware this is not a new concept. What has been a surprise is what it’s felt like to apply the practice to our work and our personal lives. Beginning the day discussing the news and what we’re ‘up against’ this week vs. focusing on how we get to do what we love with people we admire and show up as help today. It’s been noticeable the amount of energy negativity requires. We feel less tired and worn down at the end of the day. And there’s a tangible feeling of freedom that comes from deciding not to worry about something or someone- even if it’s just for a day, or an hour. You feel lighter.
Like all new habits, it’s a practice. And it’s not easy, especially when your life is being turned upside down one more time by restrictions, testing, and all the other hurdles people are facing these days. We just want to share our view that it’s never too late to drop the worries and fears and give ourselves a break. How we react to life really is a choice that only we can make.
“The choices that we make in our life, indeed determine the kind of results that we experience and the quality of the life that we live.”
– Sumeet Jain
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
– Nelson Mandela