I’m a day late, so this month I am adding a fourth thought for you to ponder and explore. Here are Four Thoughts for Friday! Happy New Year!
I’ve been noticing how on-edge people are these days – weary and at this critical tipping point. I never know if I will be greeted by anger or frustration or by empathy and grace. I see people longing to be seen and feel this longing myself for empathy and human connection. I also feel myself precariously balancing on the edge of an abyss from time to time, day to day. We’ve been living in isolation for nearly a year, and if we ourselves aren’t constantly living in fear, the environment seems thick with apprehension. We are on the edge of a chasm and in need of a new way forward.
But! Yes, I am starting a sentence with but… But, change is coming and we have the power to create our path forward. The tunnel has been long and there is still great distance to cover until we fully emerge, however there is light at the end of the tunnel. We get to envision and create what lies beyond!
January is generally a tough month for me. Looking back on my Three Thoughts from last January, I noted the doldrums of this winter month. If you’re like me, and I suspect there are many, I was so ready to close the door on 2020, I raced through the holidays and quickly packed them away for the first time in my life! I raced eagerly into January 2021, working to control my expectations that simply turning the page of the calendar would solve all of 2020’s problems. While I tried to be realistic, I embraced the hope and flicker of light this January seemed to provide.
With this sense of controlled, apprehensive hope, I have been thinking about creativity and our human need for creating. As we’ve turned the page of the calendar, I’ve been considering what I can do to create a new and better path forward. I’ve reflected on the last year filled with challenges, ups and downs, and have allowed myself to feel all the emotions and to consider all the lessons, to begin to ponder and dream what I’d like to create moving forward, after all, we create our reality. This is my challenge for 2021 – to take the mess of 2020 and create something beautiful for 2021 and beyond – may the lessons live strong beyond just this next year!
I challenge you to consider and allow yourself to acknowledge all the feelings experienced in 2020, the full range of emotions, and to lean into the lessons and learnings these emotions connect with and hold. What did you experience? How did your experiences make you feel? What have you learned about yourself and about life that will serve you as you go forward? What have you learned about strength, grit, resiliency, empathy, compassion, bravery and your own humanity? What do you hope to create this next year? Over the next 5 years? 10 years? What is your new vision for the future?
Quote(s) I am sitting with, pondering and find inspiring:
“Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.”
~ Pablo Picasso ~
“Don’t throw your suffering away. Use it. Your suffering is the compost that gives you the understanding to nourish your happiness and the happiness of your loved ones.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~
Podcast I’m Listening to:
I’ve featured the Ten Percent Happier podcast with Dan Harris but want to pause and introduce the meditation app he offers. To kick off the new year, he has been offering a meditation challenge and I have found the themes and reflection very helpful, inspiring and resonant. Specifically, Day 9 asked “What is Happiness, Really?” and offered a reminder of the necessity and beauty of juxtaposition, and how to lean into emotions with equanimity. Day 11 reminded me to be kind to myself with the theme “How You’d talk to a Friend” and Day 12 was a good reminder “You’re Not Alone.” I have found myself pondering aloneness and loneliness. Personally, I find when I choose to be alone, I’m happy, but force me to be alone as the isolation of 2020 has done and loneliness sets in with a vengeance.
Not only are the themes relevant and great reminders we are not alone, they also offer the opportunity to practice meditation and grow that muscle to be present and aware.
Article I Recently Read:
I’ve written about rest and its importance myself, and came upon this insightful article on LinkedIn this past week entitled, “The 7 types of rest that every person needs” by Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD.
During the pandemic, I have seen and heard a lot around the topic of “self-care”. I often think about and get curious about what fills me up, what fills my cup, and as a coach, seek to help others also discover how to fill their cup. My thinking has been much like the comparison to putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others and I’ve often told myself, I can be more useful if I take care of myself. This article really helped me think about these ideas and thoughts in a new way and provided a new language and lens. What types of rest do you need, provide for yourself or could use more of?
The article was featured on Ideas.TED.com and you can find more helpful topics and articles on the site.
Book I am Reading and Reflecting Upon:
By Julia Cameron
I recently purchased this book to inspire this year as I challenge myself to create my way forward. I am looking forward to the 12-week journey the book will guide me on and hope you will check it out, too! Let me know what you think! Your feedback is always welcome and appreciated! Share with me what you are reading, listening to, and where you are finding inspiration!
What Amazon Has to Say:
Since its first publication, The Artist’s Way phenomena has inspired the genius of Elizabeth Gilbert, Tim Ferriss, and millions of readers to embark on a creative journey and find a deeper connection to process and purpose. Julia Cameron’s novel approach guides readers in uncovering problems areas and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to free up any areas where they might be stuck, opening up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery.
The program begins with Cameron’s most vital tools for creative recovery – The Morning Pages, a daily writing ritual of three pages of stream-of-conscious, and The Artist Date, a dedicated block of time to nurture your inner artist. From there, she shares hundreds of exercises, activities, and prompts to help readers thoroughly explore each chapter. She also offers guidance on starting a “Creative Cluster” of fellow artists who will support you in your creative endeavors.
A revolutionary program for personal renewal, The Artist’s Way will help get you back on track, rediscover your passions, and take the steps you need to change your life.
Please check out my blog posts on Lessons from the Run, Part 1: Mile 18 – Endurance, and Lessons from the Run, Part 2: Resilience, and Lessons of the Run, Part 3: Rest, as well as my blog post on the light at the end of the tunnel – Be and See the Light! Stay tuned for my upcoming blog posts My Vision: The Power of EQ to Create Change and my thoughts on Courage vs. Confidence! If you missed my December edition of Three Thoughts for Thursday, you can find it here, on my blog as well. As always, thank you for your continued support and readership! Stay strong, stay brave, stay true to you!