Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Life Simply Is... Starting New Years

There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don't you?
― Rumi

It’s been a long time since I last made a New Year’s Resolution. I find that the tradition pressures us to set too many goals, which we are unlikely to achieve. Consequently we feel like failures, or we get used to setting goals for ourselves and then ignoring them. Either way, it’s not a healthy pattern.

I do however believe in setting intentions: deciding what things you would like to focus more on, bring more of into your life; the key is to not quantify (e.g. I will work out every day, or I will write 50 pages every week).

This year I came upon a great resource that helped me develop my Intentions for 2015: Winter Solstice – a Bridge to New Beginnings:

What I like about their process is that you start by identifying your unique struggles over the past year; situations and patterns that caused you grief. From there you look for lessons you can take from them. (Those who know me know that I am militantly anti-Law of Attraction. That said, no matter how horrendous a situation, we always have a choice in where we go from there, and what we take from it.) In some cases, the lesson is to not waste any more time around toxic people; in others, it’s to stop wishing and hoping people will change. Radical Acceptance is always beneficial: taking a hard look at reality, and from there choosing what to do.

Ultimately the Intentions you develop come from your very own customized list of issues, frustrations, “hang-ups.” This resource provides some lovely suggestions for ritual; however I have only incorporated the exercises leading to developing a list of Intentions for 2015.

My 2015 Intentions: 

At an early age I got the message that I was a bad person. When I reached adulthood I figured out that in fact I’m a good person; however the belief that I’m a bad person is hard wired. Ever since, I’ve engaged in an internal battle; and every so often I get locked into a struggle with someone who is more than happy to treat me like I’m a bad person.

I need to approach every aspect of my life, every day, from the understanding that I am a good person. That means not accepting someone else’s definition of me; and if they persist, it means not keeping company with them. It means choosing things that nourish my body, soul and heart: good nutrition, time in nature, and nurturing deep personal relationships.

1.     I should start everything from the recognition that I am a good person.
2.     Nourish my body and soul: get outside more, spend time in nature, stretch and exercise, eat nutritious food, do self-massage, bathe or hot tub.
3.     Heal my heart: write through areas of struggle, go to therapy, and practice exercises in body awareness (I highly recommend Deirdre Fay’s work which she calls Safely Embodied:
4.     Cultivate and nurture friendships.

Speaking my truth and setting boundaries are still difficult for me. At middle age I realize that I will never work through all my imperfections, and some things will always be a struggle. Still, striving to honor myself should always be a top priority. And being gentle with myself when it is hard, or when I am not strong enough, is equally important.

5.     Speak my truth and set boundaries.
6.     Accept that this may be difficult.
7.     Worry less about consequences, the future, or being unpopular.
8.     Forgive myself for times I don’t speak my truth or set boundaries.

To everyone I wish more compassion in the coming year – unwavering compassion for yourself, and more compassion for those you meet.

Gratitude | Louie Schwartzberg | TEDxSF

You think this is just another day in your life
It’s not just another day
It’s the one day that is given to you
It’s given to you
It’s a gift
It’s the only gift that you have right now
And the only appropriate response is gratefulness


  1. Excellent thoughts and indeed a life journey that takes effort every single day to achieve. And, as you stated, we all have unique challenges and battles to work through. Strength and courage for each battle and hope that we will not only survive that day, but, truly be a better person not only for ourselves. but also for those around us.