Ah, a brand new year! A time when we are positively dripping with ideas and optimism on how we can be better, look better, do better, feel better, [fill in the blanks] better than we did last year. A time of planning, goals, lists, intentions, and creating an overarching ‘theme’ or direction for the days ahead.
There is an immense amount of beauty in this idea — this reminder — that it is never too late to reinvent ourselves, work on who we are, create or seek out new opportunities, build new foundations, take long-awaited leaps into the unknown (or towards the next ‘trapeze’), forge new connections… There’s something refreshing about leaving an old set of days and events behind you, but carrying their lessons forward, knowing you have the next 365 days to create your experience.
A clean slate. A new journal. A blank canvas.
Then there’s the other part.
On the flipside of feeling this energetic tsunami of new ideas, hopes and dreams, there’s this possibility of feeling completely overwhelmed. Not bad, mind you, but just…wow, a lot. Does anybody feel that?
Somehow, the dreaming and scheming and hoping and wishing has managed to transport our thoughts, our intentions, to a completely different time — “next week,” “by the end of January,” “in 3 months,” “9 months,” “by Christmas of next year…” And then there’s one of my favourites: “In 5 years…”
“By this time, I will have…”
“By this time, I’d like to be…”
“By this time, I hope that my life will look like…”
In the haze of waking up this morning, I found that my mind was spinning with the infinite number of things I needed to ponder, decide on, do, not do, take charge of, let go of and change, in order to further create this beautiful thing for myself that, ultimately, I can’t say I have a fully formed vision of yet. In my desire to devise this long-term picture of where I want to go, who I want to be and what I want to do, I was completely overlooking ‘the moment.’ At the same time, I felt innately connected to the fact that how I felt in that moment (mostly tired from too many late nights — aren’t holidays supposed to be relaxing?!) was not the way I wanted to feel for the next 361 days.
So then, of course, in comes the mental list.
“Well, in order to feel X, then here’s what you need to do:”
Out pours this completely daunting list (mostly daunting because it is so long!) of what might make a difference. Just as it is nearly impossible to know EXACTLY how our lives will look in 5 years’ time, how do we know that after doing all those things, we will feel exactly how we hope to feel? How can we predict what forks in the road may pop up that will steer us off course, perhaps not completely, but enough for us to be forced to take in the scenic route for a while? Plus, with only so many hours in a day, and our chronically over-committed schedules, how can we possibly fit ALL of those things into our day-to-day lives in a way that is mindful and effective, that doesn’t involve half-assing everything just for the sake of being able to put a big fat checkmark in the box beside it?
This, my friends, is ‘Then.’
‘Then’ is where all this mind-clutter, self-doubt, indecision, stress and overwhelm reside. My mind, in this moment, is clearly in ‘Then.’ I’m pretty sure my heart has followed suit. And probably a bit of my soul is pouring out of me riding a high speed train to ‘THEN.’
All of a sudden, between the click of the kettle signaling the water has boiled and the pot of milk on the stove beginning to steam, I remember where I am.
My body is ‘Here.’ I am in this place called ‘Here’ (which is often referred to as ‘Now’). I slowly bring my awareness back out of ‘Then’ and realize the only place I can possibly be right now is HERE.
Wouldn’t we all love to be in the idyllic picture we paint of our lives, where we have more of X, and less of Y, and the perfect balance of everything that we believe will create a ‘perfect’ life? In this time of creating a new paradigm for the coming year, there is boldness in keeping your sights set high on the big picture, of finding clarity in what you want to achieve, and who you want to be. It strengthens your idea of where you want to go so you can bravely put one foot in front of the other, and find your way there. But I say this to remind myself as much as I hope it reminds you…
‘Here’ is It. It is all we have. If ‘Here’ was the end, would we be content?