Written by Janet Polech, Words of Wellness blog. 1/4/2024
New beginnings. We're reminded every January that it's time to usher in the new as we hang our new wall calendars and look ahead with anticipation. But every single day we get a fresh start, don't we? It's a long wait if we only allow it once a year! A wise person once said that the best way to make a change is to stop doing the same thing you did the day before. That's easier said than done. We can't just flip a switch and suddenly have the change we wish for be granted. It can help to make a shift in mindset to see each new day as a new beginning. The idea of a fresh start can shift our thoughts and emotions toward what we want.
It's exciting to look forward with anticipation! However, many times we need to let something go before we can move forward. We all have lost someone special to us through a move, divorce, death, a change in job status, or just deciding to part ways for some reason. It's out of our control, like it or not, and we need to adjust. Acceptance is something that we usually learn in the aftermath of a slow burn in the fiery pit of hurt feelings, heartache, sadness, anger, grief, and all of the unpleasant emotions that crop up when things don't go how we'd expected them to play out. Dashed expectations are a blow to the desires of the ego-mind, and are mostly a huge let-down.
In order to let something go - whether it's a person, a group, an ideology, a job, an addiction, a pet, or just about anything we feel connected to - we have to move beyond it, and toward something else. Our time with it is over, and the past is gone. To move past it, first we'll need to go through the painful process of releasing the bad feelings. Which means acknowledging them by letting them surface and feeling them in the body. It's painful, stressful, and not the least bit pleasant, but it ebbs and flows. Remembering, "this too shall pass" is helpful in realizing that nothing lasts forever and change is the nature of this life. This may take a minute.
The sky won't fall just because we don't feel well. Through the earned wisdom of my personal experiences with loss, I can share the good news - you'll feel some progress as you allow the bad feelings to be released by your attention to them. That seems counter-intuitive, but through the mystery of grace, the bad feelings start to subside, and a lightness of spirit can creep in and our new energy naturally expands as the discomfort is released. Negativity can just dissolve when you're willing to let go. Skipping this step is unwise and can lead to a lifetime of bad feelings that linger and get compounded into bad habits to numb the pain. Raise your hand if you'd like a stifled life. Dwelling on the past won't lead to a bright future.
But you'll be okay because you get to decide on something else that you desire. Did you ever say to yourself, "I'd like to (insert wish here) if I had more time? It could involve taking a trip, working on a creative project, trying a new sport, or advancing your education. Everybody is different, and our tastes can vary widely. It helps to take a moment, or several moments, to think about your preferences. What do you like and want? I've found that getting outside for a quick twenty minute walk can clear my mind enough to shift my thoughts to a new idea.
Soon you'll be able to make plans with the new and fresh ideas of something you desire, and that will help to leave the bad feelings behind. Now, decide what you'll focus on doing, and put it into your schedule. Yes, you can. Because you won't be spending time on that which you've recently left behind/are moving past, so you just got a bonus gift of more time! Lucky you! This is a positive spin on a situation that may have previously been thought of as negative. And this in turn, as if by magic, can set into motion plans of action in the direction of what you want. Even if all the details aren't clear, one day at a time, a thoughtful mind can lead you in whatever direction you choose. Focus and expectation will make it happen. Remember each day is a fresh start. And a chance to get what you like.
With change comes uncertainty, and irrational fears can surface in the mind because of the unknowns. But it's a chance to become brave, to move forward with purpose, freedom, and courage, better feelings, and a realization that change can be good. We become more intentional and authentic, and more confident as a result. And when the winds of change shift again and a course correction is needed, our new resilience makes us secure in our own ability to decide on how best to focus forward once again.
We all need help sometimes, and finding the positive influence of others can help us to keep moving forward. It can help to join a local group to meet others who may share your interests. You could exchange ideas, gain new perspectives, and explore new opportunities together. I personally find it helpful to make a 'vision board' at the start of a new year. On it I place words, phrases, pictures and other designs of things I hope to experience or accomplish in the year ahead. I print it out and hang it on my wall so I have that reminder of what I think I want ( I make separate vision boards for personal and work desires). It's a quick visual prompt to remind me of things to look forward to, take action on, and enjoy the journey of my new life that I'm choosing to create. Moving forward is the right direction!
"The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."
Written by Janet Polech on 1/4/2024