It’s that time of year again: The Earth completed another journey around the sun.
For many of us, it’s a time to celebrate the end of a year and the beginning of a new journey unfolding in front of us. We may feel excited for what’s yet to come, the plans we’ve already made, and the promises we’ve shouted into the dark night as the clock strikes midnight. This is a celebratory tradition that’s continued for many years and is especially known across the globe to be combined with an evening of joy, but also one of deep reflection on the events that have occurred, and thus, we arrive at New Year’s resolutions.
Typically, one may read and hear much about plans on starting a “healthier” lifestyle, letting go of bad coping mechanisms, and so on. Theoretically, we can make these changes at any point throughout the year, but there appears to be some magic around the last day of December, where we allow ourselves a day of looking back, closing the yearbook, and starting a new chapter. The feeling of a fresh start is in the air alongside a deep desire to use this energy for change.
Can we look back on what we leave behind from a place of compassion toward ourselves and others? What would it look like to reflect deeply on what the past twelve months have brought with them and then identify areas we’d like to be more mindful about? It may be cultivating mindfulness in personal interactions with others, our relationship with ourselves, being more present throughout the day, or other kinds of behaviors. Instead of promising ourselves overly ambitious goals and then being disappointed if we don’t reach them by the end of the year, could we start increasing our level of mindfulness?
In the last few weeks of the year or first few weeks of the new year, we may try to identify the areas of our lives that took up a lot of space in our minds. Making room for a while, to contemplate on this and ask why these things have been so present, can be very valuable. Then, we may try to identify specific practices that can help us to deal with whatever’s taking up space.
Have you ever tried meditations on specific subjects like forgiveness, acceptance, break-ups, motivation, and more? Meditopia has a huge library of themed meditation series that can help you open up space to look deeper into yourself in particular areas of life. These series enable you to identify your needs better and take courageous steps toward attending to them in the next year and beyond. Once you’re able to see to your needs, it’ll come more naturally to make time for yourself.
Mindfulness not only helps you in the beginning but it also guides you throughout the journey itself. No matter where you are on your mindfulness journey, having the necessary tools to explore your thoughts and emotions again and again is a powerful way to meet yourself without judgment and with understanding. So, let your goal for the new year be to be compassionate and mindful, open to revision according to your changing needs.
As the new year begins, there can be an overload of information and encouragement from advertisements, colleagues, friends, or strangers to try out new things under the guise of broadening our horizons and exploring new parts of ourselves. Maybe it’s travelling to a new place, trying out new restaurants, listening to new music, trying out different clothes, or starting a new hobby…
For the new year, we may ask ourselves to consciously explore ourselves in a holistic manner: How’s our mind, body, and spirit? As we embark on this journey, it may reveal exciting new aspects of ourselves that we haven’t realized before. Here’s the first two steps to start exploring your inner world:
The Merriam Webster´s online dictionary provides three definitions of self-love. The first, “An appreciation for one’s own worth and virtue.” The second, “Proper regard for and attention to one’s own happiness and well-being.” And, lastly, “Inflated love or pride in oneself.”
If we were to follow these definitions, it may require us to deeply nurture and actively work on establishing a healthy relationship with ourselves. This, of course, is a practice that will accompany us for as many journeys around the sun as we’ll live in this lifetime. Self-love, such a simple term, yet it contains millions of different facets that seem to continuously shift and change with time.
No matter the area of life you decide to direct your mindfulness to, a practice that has always been very valuable to me, is capturing my process. Doing so may help to revisit past thoughts, feelings, and emotions with fresh eyes. You can try the following:
Whatever this year may bring with it, I hope you go on this journey with a deep sense of mindfulness regarding your holistic being (mind, body, and spirit) and allow yourself to continuously reconnect with your inner world. May this year be another journey full of explorations, teachings, and growth.