Perhaps New Year isn’t the best time for New Year’s Resolutions?
I held my first drop in meditation class of the year last week. At the beginning of the class there were comments about how many people seem low and depressed at the moment as well as how many seem to be embarking on what could be thought of as ‘faddy’ new diets and other ‘crazes’.
For me, the New Year rarely seems to feel as though it has properly started until some way into January at least. With all the pressure of Christmas and the New Year festivities I think we can often come into January feeling like we 'should' make a new start whilst forgetting that we’re really still in the middle of winter.
Although it is true that, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere, we are now beginning to glimpse a few extra minutes of daylight but we also know that, in the UK at least, some of our harshest weather often falls during the first few months of the year. We are, in fact, still a couple of months away from the start of spring. I say this not to be depressing but rather to offer balance to the pressure we can feel to ‘get started’ on new things be they in relation to our health and fitness, our work or our home life.
It is a challenge, or perhaps impossible, in modern society to live in tune with the seasons. We have electric lighting and these days it is impossible to tell what season we are in based on the foods available in the supermarket. Winter is a time of dormancy, of rest, of introspection, of quiet and perhaps greater solitude than we may wish for at other times of the year. It can be a time to recharge our batteries and pause and to perhaps ‘resist’ the message to push ourselves into growth, change or new things. Perhaps this is a time better suited to being quiet and meditating, beginning to make plans or simply reflecting on what direction we wish to take next? A time to allow motivation to gradually ‘find us’ as we move towards the more active and dynamic growing energy of spring, rather than trying to force ourselves to be motivated when the energy of the season isn’t supporting that.
Don’t get me wrong, if you feel moved to cut back after the excesses of the festivities, to have a month where your body is less stressed by alcohol or over indulgence or to begin being more active then by all means go ahead. But, if you’re not quite there yet, I would encourage you not to force it and most importantly not to FEEL BAD! Much of the harm that people do to themselves is invisible to others because it happens inside our own heads and that is something we can work towards changing.
Many people I have talked to over my years as a healer and therapist have told me they experience a phenomenon in relation to change whereby they somehow just ‘feel ready’ all of a sudden to take a new step. With my healing clients the more they try to force change the more they are likely to be met with resistance even when it is a change that ‘logically’ will be good for us. We fear that if we stop we may grind to a halt and never get going again but we almost always do. This might reflect what is personally going on in our lives at any particular time but I would suggest that it may also have at least a little to do with the natural ebb and flow of the seasons.
So, by all means start planning or dreaming about the things you would like to achieve or change this year but why not ease off the pressure? Perhaps we can think instead of ‘Spring Resolutions’ or simply throw the idea away entirely and allow the next wave of active energy to simply pick us up and move us forward whenever it comes and whenever we are ready?
However you decide to approach it I wish you a peaceful and positive start to 2017.