Inspired by all the unmet new year’s resolutions, I issued myself a ‘hall pass’ from it all and mustered the courage to act upon that
You don’t change the world simply by looking at it. You change it through the way you choose to live in it.~ From the film The Aeronauts
Isn’t it ironic that at a time when many of us are feeling a bit drained, rundown and over-indulged from the holiday excesses — we are supposed to rev up, go big and declare bold intentions for the new year? And then we are supposed to take ownership of our ‘word’ for the year. What’s your word? What’s your word? (As if it was a test to see if I was paying attention and could choose precisely the right one!) I scramble nonetheless.
Meanwhile, truthfully, I feel like I’ve set myself up for a fall (yet again) before starting and maybe you do too. UGH. Did I miss something in between?
Now before I start to sound like the Grinch who stole Christmas (or the New Year)…part of the reason I am feeling the funk is because I care so much and I want to do it all. I am excited about journaling my intentions, setting goals, meditating, exercising more, and filling my days with all the exciting things that fuel me (and finding my ‘word’). Trust me, I’ve signed up for it all.
My desk is piled with books, programs, and the best of intentions. My mind just sighs as she glances around and says, Yeah, that’s all good. But how exactly are you going to do all that? Good point. I’m not.
Despite signing up for programs that launched on January 1, where we could seize the year in collective form…week 2 into the new year, I’ve taken a pass. At first I thought I’d just catch up. Then one day turned to two. I slowly began to feel as if I had failed — I wasn’t getting my life homework assignment done. The young people-pleasing girl within was frantic.
Stop the merry-go-round. I want to get off.
The truth is that life will likely always feel full and take negotiation. Balance may be a myth, but it’s worthy of some trial and error. So, this is what I’ve decided for me: I’m going to do the best I can. On January 1st, the resident teenager was still home from college and I chose to savor those last days with him before sending him back to school. That meant putting other things aside. I put the rest on hold because this is what fed me. On the day I was meant to get back to the office, I played hookie and went skiing with my boys…and it was glorious. It feed me too, in a different way.
The journal is still here waiting patiently — as are the books I want to read, the emails I want to respond to, the creations I want to create. It’s all still here.
But I can’t pour from an empty pitcher and neither can you. I get incredibly inspired and excited about all the programs and protocols that prompt us to step into our Best Selves, to ignite the spark within each of us. Wisdom is knowing when you are frazzled, over-committed and it’s simply too much. However, oftentimes, we ignore the inner cry.
Interestingly, it seems to be a theme in many of the articles that I recently edited for the magazine’s latest issue. I always tell the story of how, when I initially started Best Self Magazine, I would work tirelessly to curate a ‘theme’ for each issue. This would be built around the over-arching premise of the work of the feature interviewee. And I would always be amazed at the synergy; how all the articles magically converged and seemed to support and reinforce one another. Then one day, I simply realized that it all worked together, theme or no theme, because the thru line was showing up for ourselves…our Best Selves.
And btw, I did in fact find my ‘word’. So after mulling this over and being a bit tardy to the New Year’s game — I’m declaring my word for 2020: COURAGE. I’ll share it with you if you want.
Courage actually means many things to me:
It takes courage to act upon your own inner wisdom; to know when to say yes and when to say no…and to say it.
It takes courage to protect that and to recognize that self-sacrifice is not sustainable.
It takes courage to heed the inner cry of your soul; what is it that you most want to do with your life? Are you an taking action step in that direction each day?
The most courageous thing you can do is show up in this world as yourself.
There was a stunning line in the film, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood with Tom Hanks from a scene where actor Chris Cooper declares on his deathbed, “I’m finally figuring out how to live…and I’m dying.” It struck me. I’m not saying that I’m going to figure it all out beforehand, but surely I don’t want all my ‘ah ha’ moments to converge in my final hours.
It takes courage to show up for your needs. To know what it is that you want to do with this precious life. To not die with your music still in you, as Wayne Dyer reminded us.
I show up for a lot of things in life as a mother, partner, business woman, friend, community member, etc. My life is abundant and full, but it can also become overwhelming. I get thrown off balance and get cranky. I have my tricks to recalibrate and get back on track…but that’s where things get sticky. Sometimes we aren’t meant to just get back on track and go with the flow.
It takes courage to recognize when your soul is actually calling for a pivot. Sometimes we are meant to leave routines, tasks, prior commitments and even relationships behind. I know there are all kinds of saccharine sweet quotes that tell us that there is time for everything…but there isn’t.
Wisdom is discernment. Courage is action.
So I may be a bit late to the game…but I’m excited to embrace 2020 differently. I’m not going in all guns a blazin’ as they say, but rather gently, listening to the whispers within. They tell me the true direction in which to turn.
If you could gift yourself anything, let it be some quiet spaces in between it all. Listen to what your soul is calling for. Be bold. Knock something else off your task list (even though you think it’s impossible to do) and see what emerges. There is no formula anyone else can create for you…just close your eyes, be still and listen. And it takes courage to hear what emerges.
Life isn’t meant to be something we trudge through…it is meant to be glorious within each of its incarnations. But within the context of all of that, show up and take action — even if that action is letting go. That’s courage. I’ll be saying a lot of No’s so I can say YES to some things that have been pushed aside for far too long. Are you ready to join me? That’s courage. See, I may be a bit late to the game, but I did find my word!
Have you been feeling any of this overwhelm bubbling up in your new year? Let us know how that’s playing out and how you’re dealing with it in the comments below. As you know, we learn best through the sharing of our stories…the real stories (not the social media filtered and perfected ones!) What’s yours?