New Year, Same You? by Teresa Palmer
As we grow closer towards the end of the month of January some of us might be looking back on the last few weeks thinking hmmph so much for my New Years resolutions. That's probably one of the main reasons I don't do resolutions because I don't want to have an expectation and then feel disappointment when I (or others) haven't met those expectations.
Instead, every year on December 31st we hold a reflection circle at our home, sometimes it's just Mark and I, other times we have a whole group of people. We discuss lessons learned during year, challenges navigated, things that came in to focus and talk about the growth we have witnessed in ourselves and one another. Once we have reflected we talk about what we look forward to practicing, leaning in to and moving towards in the new year. Rather than set goals that have to be achieved we discuss the ways in which we venture towards things that inspire us, move us, hold us, teach us. It's the journey right?
My journey over the past 12 months has been a lesson in embracing all sides of myself and allowing all of it to co-exist. I can be all things not just mother, wife, actor, blogger etc. I can be organized, efficient, full of energy, creative, inspired, positive, hopeful, loving and I can also be imperfect, tired, fed up, lazy, negative, over it, irritable. That's what makes me vulnerable, flawed and human. I can wear many hats and don't have to feel confined by a pre-conceived notion of who I am, how I should be or what's expected of me because of the labels I fall under.
I think we do ourselves a disservice by compartmentalizing the years as "a good one" or "a bad one" or that next year will be different or easier, you'll reach this goal or reach that goal. I think we can fall into a pattern of "I'll be happy when I've accomplished______." It's very easy to have that expectation hence why I don't look favorably upon resolutions. I think if we can reposition our thinking surrounding time we could make it a lot easier on ourselves. We can create a list of things that trigger joy or inspire us and then gravitate towards those things but being mindful that along the path we may start vibing out on something else.
For example I've been enjoying being more of an observer recently, melting into the quieter sides of my person, allowing others to take the stage and have the loudest voice. I like that. I like growing softer, learning about the value in really listening and holding others up and watching them shine. It's been a very reflective and a poignant beginning to the year. I knew that moving forward I wanted to explore the introverted side of myself, I wanted to nurture it give it the space to grow if it's meant to. So instead of making a point of "working on it" I set the intention and organically I've been settling in to a quieter and more introspective state. It's been lovely but I'm certainly not checking it off my goals list like a mission accomplished.
I've also been thinking about my time and how to utilize it in other ways. More time at home, less time away from my husband. More time spent learning the guitar, playing the piano, less time on my phone. More time nurturing the ideas that have been sitting around for 5 years just waiting for a quiet moment to have some focused attention dedicated to them and less time just talking about them. More time being in the spontaneity of life and less time consulting a calendar. More time reading and learning from inspiring spiritual teachers and less time applying the same concepts I already know. I believe that these practices could have a positive impact on my life but I'm not going to feel like a failure if life takes me on another course.
So instead of resolutions I suggest having an idea of what inspires you, what excites you and an idea of what you want to try. Don't set yourself up for failure, don't be bogged down with regrets or I should haves, don't be bound by tightly wound time constraints, instead just pick a direction and head down the stream. Live moment to moment. Its the new year but the same you, just with the rudders in the water. You're you, not a new you, a changed you, a better you, just YOU- as layered and complex and ever evolving as you are.