But most importantly, where are you now?
The biggest addiction humans have is our past memory. We love to look back at what was- maybe through rose colored glasses, or to the point where we block out certain pains to protect our souls. But regardless of how often you look back on the past- it’s that time of year, where one year closes- and a new DECADE begins. (Am I allowed to make Dad jokes?) It truly feels as if it is human instinct to be reflective during the month of December, more so than any other month. It feels natural to look back on what the year brought, and look forward to what the new one may bring. I am a full supporter of “you can start over any day of your life”- but there is something extra empowering, in my opinion, about new year reflections.
But beyond being reflective, beyond creating new year resolutions, or focusing our energy towards new goals, beyond the hype of “this is my year!”- I believe the most important practice we must be mindful of is the practice of mindfulness itself. It’s great to have the attitude of being ready to conquer whatever this next year will throw at you. It’s great to set goals for yourself. It’s great to be healthier, save more money, go on trips, be kinder, volunteer more, yada-yada… but it is within the art of mindfulness that we can practice non-attachment, and within the art of non-attachment, we become more present.
When we know each moment is fleeting. We know we are not promised tomorrow. So it is when we can watch the snow fall and appreciate the magic that nature offers, in that single moment, that is- in my humble opinion- the point of life. To look at each moment of life, or day, or week, and accept it for whatever it is.
I know this is easier said than done. I am highly motivated by planning, and setting goals, and investing energy to heal my past and create my future- but I am also becoming hyper aware that it is the practice of mindfulness, of being present, of appreciating the NOW, where I will be able to thrive in contentment.
I am definitely one to hold on to my past, letting it infiltrate my present, and then I nearly let it have steering control of where my future is going. It’s a flaw and a blessing- to be so intertwined in my emotions- past, present, and future. It sets me off into my highest of highs, and my lowest of lows- but it is mindfulness that always brings me back.
So here I wanted to share some of the mantras and questions I ask myself, to help keep myself present- in the time of year where reflection seems to be at the center of attention.
It is through podcasts, books, peer conversations, and personal meditation, where I have discovered how the words below can truly have a deep impact on staying woke to not only where you are coming from, or where you are going, but more importantly- where you currently are.
- Can I be with this? Whatever feelings I have right now, whatever situation I am in- can I be with it? If not, then change must come. If so, why worry?
- What do I sense right now, that brings me joy? Is it the coziness of the room around me, or the people I am with? Is it my solitude alone in a coffee shop, or the clouds outside? Most of the time, it is the ability to breathe in fresh air into my lungs, where in that moment- I realize this gift is denied to many.
- What is currently filling my cup? AND..What is currently draining my cup? Compare the lists and see how you can adjust this moment, day, week, or month.
- Am I currently creating my life? Or am I reacting to it?
- What do I currently feel like I am lacking? In this moment- not what I might still lack in 10 years, not what I didn’t have a few months ago- what do I lack right now, in this very moment, that would bring me more happiness?
- If I am currently feeling _________, is it life altering or is it ego threatening? Are you anxious about something that happened last week, or something that is coming up? Did you maybe say something that warranted a reaction from someone else? Is this going to be life altering- or is it just momentarily ego threatening?
Whether you are a new year resolution person or not- as we are naturally reflective this time of year- I hope you can carry some of that reflectiveness into your daily life. Being reflective brings mindfulness and being mindful can change the way you see your world.
I wish you a very happy New Year! Let 2020 be as magical as you can create- but don’t forget to appreciate your now, whatever and wherever that might be.