Since the Dec 21st Winter Solstice, which scientists claimed was the longest night since 1912 in the Northern Hemisphere, daylight is lengthening again. And while Winter will still surely offer its share of darker, colder, and maybe even snowy days, it also holds the promise of more light returning – and gives us a chance, like other animals in this season, to cozy up, rest, and maybe make some rich “compost” of our 2014 experiences and stock up internally for our upcoming budding Spring and outwardly rich Summer ahead.
There are many deep rituals at this time of year, from the many diverse celebrations to a marked transition into the “New Year” (whenever it is for you according to your calendars). January 1st for many is marked with the special and ancient routine of reviewing our past year and setting up new intentions for the one ahead.
Have you ever wondered why year after year you are able to make some progress (or maybe leaps and bounds) in some areas of your life and not in others?
Maybe you’re noticing that some patterns are deeper than others and hold you in a repetitive and reactive mode that seems very sticky and difficult to scratch from yourself.
Maybe, like me, you tried to set your intentions with the spirit and trust of “already experiencing what you most long for,” anchored strategies into the deeper aspirations/needs that your have for yourself and your life, created some vision boards, or set a myriad of to-achieve goals with doable steps in the hope of “finally” having the life you wanted.
Maybe, just like me, you dabbed into – or have a steady routine of – “positive affirmations,” “mantras,” gratitude practice, daily meditation, deep breathwork, Focusing, EFT, or physical, mindful movement practices like yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, maybe even some holistic modalities of Reiki and other energy healing options…
And maybe you have still found some areas of your life, or yourself, that just wouldn’t bulge or serve you and others in the ways you most longed for.
What I have found to be the greatest obstacle to any new flow and increased capacity to “make life more wonderful” was in my own mind. It was all rooted in one core belief that somehow I needed to be different … : a myriad of “I should be more….” (intelligent, productive, physically active, healthy, thin, fast …), more more more more… which in other areas, funny enough, was that I needed to be less … (egoistic, loud, outspoken, silly, etc…). In one word, I needed to … be other than “me.”
As long as any of my intentions to support a change in my life were grounded in a story of “should’”(be different than …), soon I was battling another “inner demon” or facing the same old one just slightly transformed.
Marshall Rosenberg calls this orientation of inner (and outer) language the 4 Ds of Disconnection:
1. Diagnosis (judgment, analysis, criticism, comparison)
2. Denial of Responsibility (blame, finding fault, or “can’ts” )
3. Demand (“shoulds”)
4. Deserve (justifications of either punishments or rewards)
All of the practices described above and more still are very rich ingredients to add to this. And to be with those repetitive patterns you are longing to change, here are some key ingredients I offer for consideration – from many great teachers:
- Listen, listen, and listen some more (to yourself and to others). Welcome all expressions as they are and explore the gem behind it. Check out these pointers on Empathic Listening from a dear mentor of mine, Holley Humphrey. Consider listening the slow turning of that soup that makes it all come together…
- Go on that exploration to find your inner voices, your core beliefs, your “shadows.” They long to be heard and held in tender arms as they hold deep keys to yourself. (*see below the downloadable journaling exercise written just for you!)
- Add a large dose of radical self-acceptance. In the end, you are the one you are most longing to be accepted by. Of course it’s delicious when others do accept and love us. And sometimes we can’t even “feel” their love and acceptance when our own rejections and judgments are in the way. Tara Brach’s dharma talks are not only funny but right on this topic.
- Sprinkle some “one-of-a-kind” advocacy. As Rachel Naomi Remen says, there is nothing “broken” or needing to be ”fixed” or even “healed” or “‘transformed” in you. You are uniquely you, attempting your best at all times.
- Add in all of the values and facets of well-being that you treasure and long for, which are the rich nutrients you will build your new energy from.
- Finally look for support! “It takes a village” … is oh so real. Find an accountability-empathy buddy who will also radically accept all of you and nurture you towards remembering to express more of yourself.
Lean over that pot, smell that soup … From here, what is your intuition telling you about yourself and your year ahead?
YOU are holding your own answers at all times. Listen inward to your deep wisdom.
May you enjoy a rich, fluid, rooted, and infused-with-love 2015.
* Wanting more support diving into your core belief exploration? Here is a turn-of-the-year exercise, rooted in the work by Robert Gonzales, a CNVC-certified trainer (coming in the Philly area mid-February by the way!). I called it “Holding Light on Our Core Beliefs/Shadows When Holding Intentions for the New Year”. It is yours to keep and journal with!
** I’m an email away to support you one-on-one with individualized coaching, grounded in this practice of compassion, to embrace of all shadows and lights of you and provide a nurturing empowerment for you to express your truest form and essence.
*** Upcoming “RECLAIMING OURSELVES” mini-retreat and 8-week journeys available to women in the DC area, starting Feb 1. See all details here.