As I woke this morning and looked out the window, the puddle of water on the top of our hot tub is evidence that it rained at some point during the night. The rain explains the nagging headache that has bothered me for days, since my migraines are largely attuned to barometric pressure changes. I can only pray that it is now at its peak.
Nevertheless, a migraine is not first and foremost on my mind. No, it is the end of 2010 that is a mere two days away, and I, along with many others in this country, around the world even, are in a race. A race to choose our intentions for the new year to come. The choice is not taken lightly. Some agonize, and ruminate over the decision to the extent that an outsider looking in would swear that a life or death decision is surely being made. In reality, what happens year after year is that we look upon this time as another opportunity to get it right; a way to ring out the old and ring in the new, but the fact remains that as Jon Kabat Zinn says “wherever you go, there you are.” A new year is a new beginning of sorts, but in many instances, our life pre-2011, still haunts us. How then do we reconcile with 2010 so as not to carry our old issues into the new year.
Of course, there is no one answer to our dilemma. In perusing the web, I found an article on the Huffington Post by Dr. Cara Baker. http://goo.gl/OHWwO. In the article, Resolving What Really Matters: 7 Practices For A Fresh New Year, Dr. Baker recognizes our quandary:
The truth is this: We simply do not know where we will be one year from now, much less tomorrow. This being the case, what do you want to make of today so that you feel great about yourself? I’m not talking about adding stress or taking on a mad-dash attitude! The last thing either of us needs is one more thing for the to-do list. No, I’m thinking more about what you’d like to drop from your life that would improve your sense of gratitude. For example, what “accounts” do you need to close in order to live freely? How could you do so simply? Dare I say it: how could you lower the bar to what’s been unrealistic? . . . . What if we were to revise our standards, giving ourselves more slack?
She goes on to offer 7 practices that allow us to make peace with 2010 and to go into the new year, and the new decade, with a sense of peace and purpose, as well as an idea of what may be important to us. They are listed below.
- Recall the gratitude you have for what others have given.
- Recall the personal challenges that have helped you grow. Find compassion for the simple expressions of good that have come your way. Tell those who’ve assisted your unfolding.
- Recall moments of beauty. Beauty comes out of chaos. (Share the memory with someone you love. Ask them theirs.
- Recall the new people, places and things you discovered that touched you most. ( Write a thank-you notes in three sentences or less, and send them.
- Recall the dreams that have continued to stir your heart, pressing your spirit to express them while you still can. Ask someone you love about their current dream, and share your own.
- Recall the unexpected moments of encouragement you’ve found in nature, in the stillness, or in a glance or look from another living creature that have reminded you that connection lives, and that life is richest when appreciating the simple things.
- Recall one favorite moment from this year that touched you deeply. Thank whomever needs thanking.
These practices apply as the year, and a decade, come to an end. There is no question that for many of us, 2010 has been a year of change, upheaval and turmoil. (When we factor in the preceding 10 years, it is mind boggling to think of the change, both good and not so good, that we have encountered!) It is little wonder that one would have the “don’t let the door hit you in the back” mentality towards this year. Dr. Baker offers us a way to view the positive aspects of the year, instead of focusing on the negative. By doing so, we close out 2010 acknowledging its many challenges, but also making peace with it by remembering the joys and blessings that came our way. I encourage you to read the article for yourself here http://goo.gl/OHWwO.
Happy New Year, Happy New Century.
Blessings, Peace & Joy to you and your family, Lydia