It’s odd isn’t it, at least here in the northern hemisphere, that the “New Year” occurs in the “dead” of winter. Well, I am not sure technically when the dead of winter falls, if there is a time, but even this early part of winter feels pretty dead outside. We have been covered in a blanket of snow and ice for weeks now, and today on the first day of 2014, it is sunny but frigid, with a bitter wind chill here on our hill.
But my point is that we are celebrating newness, new beginnings, a rebirth of sorts, at the same time when nature here is dormant and the summer annual plants are dead.
It’s a time of paradox really, when we, in these cold climates, have turned inward, in hibernation mode, some of us being introspective and reviewing our lives, but yet are challenged to look forward, outward, and plan ahead, making resolutions about how this year is going to be different.
We’ve already passed the Solstice where the night is longest, so days are lengthening, drawing us toward summer, but we are still just entering the usual time when weather is coldest and most restrictive, keeping all but the hardiest outdoor enthusiasts close to home.
So there feels like this strange push-pull, to look inward and outward, backward and forward, as we crest the hill of New Year’s Day.
I decided to come downstairs to my sunny office that faces west to get away from household distractions to write. Just before I did, I had been thinking about the “rituals” as Tony Robbins calls them, the habits that we repeat daily, and how mine have been holding me back. One of his principles is that we are shaped by our rituals, so if you don’t like where you are or how your life is going, look at what your current rituals are, and then consider what new rituals you would need to create and practice in order to build the life you want.
His state-changing “Hour of Power”* is an example of one such ritual that can empower people to get motivated and to be in a “peak state” for taking on each day. I confess I had been practising it but have let it slide, and it is something that needs to be re-introduced into my daily routine as it really does energize me. It’s a combination of exercise, breath-work, expressions of gratitude, and visualization with “incantations”, his word for affirmations said with great physical emphasis and emotion.
I had been thinking about all the rituals I have that are counter-productive to achieving what I want. A big one, which is embarrassing, is lingering too long on Facebook, scrolling the newsfeed then being distracted by interesting articles that take me off on all sorts of tangents. Another is hitting the snooze button in the morning, or otherwise crawling back into bed for another half-hour…turning to an hour sometimes…if the cats wake me up just a little too early for their breakfast.
And then I thought about what I do in areas where I am mostly successful (for eg., monitoring my eating habits to keep my weight where I want it). Just as I had that thought, a bald eagle flew past the window. If you have followed me before you’ll probably say, “Big deal, you often have eagles fly by your place!” But I say, “Timing is everything!” When an eagle flies past just when some significant thought runs through my head, I take note and decide, “pay attention!”
Recognizing that I do have some supportive rituals in place for some areas of my life, but not for others, I decided I need to attribute as much or more importance to the other areas where I want to improve, as I do, say, to my general health and fitness. If I can have discipline there, where I have had to rewire my desire for indulging in some pleasures from food, for my ultimate long-term health and well-being, then why not extrapolate the ability to do that into all the other areas of my life that I wish to improve?
If I could give up wheat and corn, for heaven’s sake, getting up an hour earlier and turning off social media should be a breeze! Especially if I can replace the “payoffs” I get from the old bad habits with the far greater rewards from developing the new habits.
The snooze button/crawl-back-in-bed-for-a-snuggle habit actually makes me feel worse! I re-awaken later much more groggy and tired than upon initial waking. And of course there is no payoff for having fewer productive hours in a day (unless of course you truly need some extra rest, or some intimate time with your sweetie! There are exceptions!)
And while my facebook “ritual” (well….lets call a spade a spade…it’s almost an addiction) offers me a certain level of connection with friends near and far, most of my time is not spent truly “connecting”, but scrolling past many posts that are not at all relevant to me. Very few of my “friends” actually post things that are personal about their lives and work, they merely share images, quotes and links to items from elsewhere. Sure, these give some insight into their interests, but I don’t really learn much about who they are or connect to them in meaningful ways. There are a few with whom I do, who blog or write about their lives and work, or local events, but most people do not share in that way.
So, why not replace that illusion of connection with real connection…by finding more time in the week to actually meet up with the friends I want to know on a deeper level? Or to connect more deeply with my own husband for that matter? Instituting a weekly, non-negotiable, internet-and-tv-free “date night” with my husband has been a mutual decision this new year. It’s already in the calendar!
Finding more time in the day to develop my coaching practice will bring more and deeper connection too, as I meet with more clients. And my thirst for learning and growth that I think I’m getting through the internet? That is easily more than replaced by what I will learn through personal contact with friends, husband and clients. Relationships always expand your knowledge. And my life is so enriched when I work with someone and see a light go on, an inner shift experienced. Creating more time in my life for this to happen more often, and also for me to keep learning through the pile of books I have awaiting me, will reward me on so many more levels than momentary comforts or superficial connections and distractions ever will.
Many of these things have already become some of my written goals this year, as Edward and I worked through a program on goal setting offered by Michael Hyatt** over the past five days.
When I came downstairs to my office to write this blog, after seeing the eagle fly by, and began to ruminate on all these things, I glanced at my little treasure chest of oracle cards. I thought perhaps a card could help inspire this post and also inform me in my current goals.
I chose the “Spirit of the Wheel” Meditation Deck*** and drew “30 ~ Renewal ~ Spirit Path of the North”. The keywords were “spiritual progress, success, hope.”
Although it speaks of new growth after the snow is gone (metaphorically of course), it is a card from the North (suggesting winter time as we are now in), and features on the front two bald eagles (also apropos today). And is about renewal, progress and hope…very New Year-ish and forward-looking!
Part of the description in the guide book says, “This is a particularly good time to work on your dreams and goals. [hmm… my goals eh?] The positive and free-flowing energy signifies a time of success and good fortune. Your confidence grows as you begin to come more fully into your own power. With the growing recognition that you do have something to offer the world, comes renewed belief in yourself.”
There is more, but the mantra or prayer at the end says, “I welcome the hope and inspirational energy of the North into my life. I work towards my goals with renewed confidence and determination.”
It’s interesting too that today, New Year’s Day, also falls on a new moon. New moons are considered “auspicious” in many cultures, signifying new beginnings also…a great time to initiate new projects.
I do believe that when I choose to draw an oracle card to inform my writing, that the message is equally intended for my readers as for me, even if eagles and snow do not abound where you are.
The card guide book also says, “Renewal suggests opportunities are all around you to develop your gifts. Your life is truly a blessing right now and you have much to be thankful for.”
As you step into 2014, step up into the fullness of who you are, stay alert for the opportunities that challenge you to grow and offer your gift to the world, and make conscious decisions to act on your goals. Don’t just be the victim of old, unproductive habits. Be proactive, not reactive! I know that’s one of my big challenges.
There is an energy supporting us at this time, the collective vibration of all the others who are committed to make big changes in their lives, and especially to be a positive force in the lives of others. It really is palpable this year. Tap into that by fully engaging your intention, changing your habits, and be ready to soar! I’ll be there, doing my best, right along with you!
Happy New Year,
* Anthony Robbins Hour of Power
(As well as strategic life coaching and Soul Coaching® practices, I do also offer readings with various oracle or divination decks, although I prefer to see these also as coaching sessions with the insight of the cards, as opposed to predictive readings. Contact me at www.co-creativehealing.ca)