Another year, another moment to reflect on the miracle of being here. May these new year lessons and reflections rekindle your hope for something new if you’ve been feeling lost, stuck, sick, behind, or doubtful about the state of the world. Things can change. It’s rare that they don’t.
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” — Gilda Radner (Delicious Ambiguity)
Certain seasons and times of year feel like sacred ground — square one — a fresh starting point. Or rather, they first feel like destruction, hopelessness, frustration, fed-up-ness, confusions, and so it goes.
To dissolve that discomfort into comfort (or at least “delicious ambiguity”) takes a dab of compassion and a touch of grace and a lot of deep breaths straight into the belly of the unknown.
Something I’ve learned this year: mystery can be a friend.
The mystery of what’s going to happen next, of where loved ones “go” when they die, of whether or not this choice was the right one to make, of whether or not your life is on time, of how on earth we’re going to make a more loving world… that’s some tough stuff to deal with.
But, the mystery can be a friend. A space maker. A giver of healing. A necessary recalibration. A heart opener. A mind changer. A beloved of the humble.
If you’re ready for a new chapter where the mystery feels more like a blessing than a 10,000 pound mountain on your shoulders, here are some of the other new year lessons (and hopes) I’ve gathered these last 12 months, courtesy of discomfort and frustration and finally a softening.
May your hope for a something better, deeper, richer be strengthened.
New Year Lessons, Reflections, Hopes
1. You need to express what pains you. You need to. This is the way to change it.
What’s left unexpressed gets caged inside of you. It’s something I mention in one of my new books, Sleep Rituals…
“Everything you keep to yourself takes up cognitive resources.” — Sleep Rituals
For example, suicide. Not an easy word even to write because of what it triggers in us. It is, coincidentally, life-affirming to talk about it, write about it, read about it, and get it out there. We need to have open, healthy conversations about what’s suffocating from the stigma placed upon it.
You can start a conversation about the hard stuff at a kitchen table with a trusted friend or family member. Dissolve that discomfort with your full and loving present-moment awareness. Practice.
We need to be there for each other, and that’s only possible if we show up.
2. The light doesn’t enlighten; strangely it’s the darkness that does that.
Feel like you’re buried in a pile of dirt fertilized by cow dung? What if that’s where your soul needs to be, even if your human doesn’t see how that could at all be the case? Just… wonder.
“The tiny seed knew that in order to grow, it needed to be dropped in dirt, covered with darkness and struggle to reach the light.” — Sandra Kring
3. Creativity is woven into the fabric of your being. Go make something.
No matter what you say, you are creative. There’s something in you that needs to make, mend, tend, give, change, reorganize… you can create in so many ways. Don’t doubt that. (I used to. No more.) Every thought you think is an act of creation.
Great. Now you officially have permission to go make something, anything, even if it’s a new thought pattern. This happens to be the absolute best way to start charting a new course for your life: one thought at a time. (My other book, Morning Affirmations, helps you do that.)
4. Saying “I feel…” instead of “I think…” produces a much different kind of answer.
This one simple switch could change, well, everything.
5. You need to pause for renewal.
Maybe, stop assuming things will only change if you never stop working, if you never give yourself a break. Take time to physically stop moving and close your eyes and breathe deeply. That’s a celebration of life. It makes me almost want to cry sometimes when I actually give myself that gift.
“Genuine care is closely related to compassion and is lovely when laced with patience and curiosity.” — Sleep Rituals
6. Your perspective is a powerful force and source of revolution.
Everything — even a fed-up body, exhausted mind, wounded heart, terrible sequence of events — is a guide if you change your perspective. It’s a message, an invisible finger pointing you in the direction of what’s out of balance, of what needs to be loved, of what needs your attention. That’s all. You’re being guided.
How nice to have that built-in system.
I mean, before you even have the chance/choice to accept that you’re being guided, you probably need to feel frustrated, wounded, buried, hopeless, desperate: see lesson #2.
. . .
What’s one lesson you’re grateful to take with you into the new year?
Share this year’s gifts (even if they had to come from the dirt & darkness) with a fellow soul hoping for something better/brighter/new.
Love for yesterday, today and tomorrow,
P.S. Get your copy of Morning Affirmations for a steady stream of light that’ll guide you into a sacred heart- and headspace: hope, joy, purpose.