What is it about the New Year that sparks so much energy? The start of a new year and new year’s resolutions are very habitualized and ritualized “beginnings” in our culture. And beginnings are exciting, full of possibility and opportunity. Beginnings offer the chance to begin anew, and focus on the inherent and infinite freedom to imagine all things from a space of allowance and openness to do and be whatever you want.
The challenge of course is to remain in and sustain that space of openness, presence, and self-loving kindness. In particular, to stay in that place without abandoning ourselves when we feel that we have faltered from our initial visions of the change we hoped to be possible. And herein lies the problem with new year’s resolutions: the beginning is a fixed point in time (the start of the new year) so when we slip up or don’t stick to our resolution (which we almost always do), we interpret it as failure, and our new beginning is over (at least until the next new year) and we bathe in self-criticism and defeatism.
In reality though, beginnings can happen repeatedly. The starting place is where you’re at, regardless of the day or time, or when you decided to make a change. The true opportunity in beginnings is to trust in ourselves that we have the strength and the courage to become the very person we dream of becoming, even when we feel we have fallen off the path. Because change takes time and, more importantly, it takes patience. And it requires us to notice our fear and do IT anyway, whatever IT is.
With self-loving kindness, we begin to live the fear out of it. We muster the courage to face, touch, and soften our fear. We remember we don’t have to be perfect as we aim to have a relationship with ourselves that is healthy and honest. We begin to truly listen to our fears, paying attention to what comes up, remembering that a trigger is different from a trauma, while allowing our thoughts and experiences to be our guides.
Vision precedes form. Visualization is the ability to imagine what we want to manifest and how we want things to be. An “act as if”, so to speak. It’s possible, and research has shown, that acting “as if” can encourage neural pathways to start firing together in a more positive, life affirming direction.
At the same time, we must trust that we are exactly where we need to be, learning, growing, becoming, and being. Celebrate each moment of change, growth, and insight, giving ourselves and each other the generosity and the latitude to be heard, change our minds, and to evolve. Because we are complex and layered, and we all want to belong and feel connected.
Beginnings are truly the opportunity to be in the present moment, and to manage our own integrity by taking responsibility for our words, actions, and choices.
And so I invite you to begin. Take an idea and take the steps to bring it to fruition. While all along remembering that control is an illusion and that failure is instructive. Show up, be present, listen, speak your truth without shame or blame, and let go of the outcome.
Here’s to your many and inspired new beginnings this year!