We now step into a New Year, surrounded by a flurry of activity, our minds perhaps filled with aspirations and the setting of intentions for the months ahead. We might be feeling a lingering sense of guilt by how much we have consumed and a feeling of stagnation from not moving as much and from not following our usual routines. Suddenly stepping back into work and/or the school week can feel quite overwhelming and it’s normal to feel resistance. It’s also easy to be swept up in this sudden need to readjust our lives, all in the name of self-improvement. This blog will share some ideas for stepping into the New Year gently and with you in the driving seat, remembering (as always) to tune into nature’s rhythms as a guide for tuning into your own.
It’s so easy to become swept up in the January rush. New goals, new classes, new diets, new you. All encouraged by society’s expectations, fixed standards and ideals about who we should be, how we should live and how we should look. This isn’t to say that it’s not good to have dreams and aspirations for the year ahead, but how can we make sure that they’re our own dreams, designed by us, for us. Based on who we are and how we want our life to be. It’s often also good to take a step back and remember everything we are, all that we do have and the often challenging journey that we have walked to find ourselves right here. Humans are a beautifully diverse species and our bodies and lives come in a beautiful array of differences. So let’s make our own mould, rather than trying to fit one, as defined by others.
Take a pause
So I invite you today to take a pause and instead of focusing on a ‘better’ version of you, focus instead on everything that you are already. Instead of looking outwards at what society is telling you to reach for, instead reach inwards, into that person who is already. The person who is inherently unique and simply, imperfectly, human. It can be helpful to look in a mirror as you do this or to turn it into a creative project by creating a self-portrait, perhaps as a painting or however you choose. A nice list also works just as well.
- In 10 words I am…
- I feel most myself when..
- I feel calmness in…
- My body supports me by…
- I am enough because…
Your ‘Sparkly Bits’
My partner referred to ‘sense of self’ as ‘sparkly bits’ the other day. This was actually because she couldn’t think of the right words, but I think that ‘sparkly bits’ absolutely makes sense. This reflection/journaling activity is about really getting in touch with your centre of self; that part of you that sparkles when you are doing something that really speaks to who you are. Because when we lose that sense of self, we really don’t sparkle as much on the inside, or the outside. I definitely sparkled today when I found a really retro and completely free sofa on the side of the road. Because I LOVE finding free stuff and turning it into a project. As a side note, I am very grateful to my mum for picking me, the dog and the retro sofa up from the side of the road and fitting us all into her car.
Jameela Jamil also does an excellent podcast where she asks her guest: what do you weigh? Her ‘I weigh’ movement is all about body positivity, amplifying diversity and breaking down stereotypes, by valuing all that we are for ourselves and what we bring to those around us and society. You can listen to her podcast here.
We are still deep in winter, which is a time for embracing darkness, stillness and reflection. Nature is still quietly resting and focusing all of her attention beneath the soil, spreading her roots and conserving her energy in preparation for the warmer months ahead. You may however be noticing some small changes very gradually taking place above the surface. Take a moment to sense those shifts around you. The mornings are slowly lightening earlier and becoming filled with the busy chatter of bird song. Spring bulbs are pushing their way up through the soil. Are you feeling inspired and drawn towards new projects? How can you keep conserving your energy while nourishing your seeds of inspiration?
You may be in the midst of lots of life changes or in a more settled space of stillness and quiet, perhaps wanting some changes to come. Wherever you find yourself, just take a moment to pause, breathe and listen. To feel held and steadied by the earth beneath your feet. Then go gently, at your own pace, and in the direction that you choose.
Words by Heather.
Connecting people to nature.