I am a big believer in the phenomenon that how you begin your year is how you will live your year. And as I recently learned from my acupuncturist Dr. Feng, there is an ancient Chinese proverb that says the exact same thing. That is powerful medicine. Think about it, how you decide to step into these first few weeks of January says a lot about the energy you will walk with the remaining 11 months.
To get into the spirit of how I want to begin a new year, I like to imagine myself wearing a new pair of shoes that fits who I want to BE that year, and then see myself walk through the days of the calendar month by month wearing those shoes.
For 2011, wearing red velvet, heeled, rounded toe, 1930s looking beauties, I had a radical thought for how to step into this coming year: "What if I I made a conscious choice to choose LOVE instead of FEAR, in every moment of every day? Like literally input a new decision making tree into myself, so that when fear showed up, I could turn the channel and find my way to happy place vs scary place… what would happen?"
Now I’m not talking about living without fear, because I think that it’s natural to feel fear in today’s world. I am talking about amping up awareness of fear so keenly that you could see it and smell it as soon as it arrives, and then using all of your self-love and feminine super power muscles, make the choice to move through it to find the truth, to find love for yourself.
So I’ve put on my red velvets and turned this question into a 40-day self-love practice called "See past the fear into the love." While I don’t know how this will all turn out, I do know that in the past 5 days since I started this walk, I am happier, more peaceful and feeling more loved than ever before.
Some of the benefits I’ve already experienced include:
* The ability to ignore the voices of "You better have a plan. What are your goals for 2011? What do you mean you don’t know yet?"
* The ability to enjoy the fact by January 31st I will have clarity on my stake for 2011… and I’m loving being in the not-knowing and discovering in the meantime. Journaling, reading, listening, meditating.
* I am taking naps. When I feel tired, instead of pressuring myself to have it all figured out, I go to sleep. Usually I wake up with some really great insight.
* I have turned the constant churn of my mind off, the mind that is always generating a new idea or angle about how to solve, create or find the answer to what to do. My mind is clear and I am learning to listen with my body.
* I’ve created less work and more impact – enough said.
This is all one big experiment, and as I learn, I promise to share with you. For now, I share with you 3 of the self-love guidelines my practice of "See past the fear into the love" has given me for starting out the year. I call them Love Starters, because they support you to start your 2011 from LOVE not FEAR, and in today’s crazy world, we can all use the support!
1. Revise Your Timeline to have 2011 "Figured out."
FEAR: "Rush, rush, move into action! You must know what you are going to do, accomplish, where you going in 2011, now!"
LOVE: "Give yourself the month of January to REVEAL what this year desires to GIVE YOU, vs you being the one to make it all happen. You will be delighted and surprised, promise."
If Rome wasn’t built in a day, why the heck would you try to figure out your entire year in a week? The entire month of January according to the Native American tradition is called the ‘dream time.’ Think about it. The northern hemisphere of the earth is frozen, things are still. We humans would be well served to be still too. The value of the stillness of January is that in the silence we can tune into our Inner Wisdom and see possibilities for our year that we couldn’t if we were busy moving into full action. Give yourself full permission to take the pressure off of having to figure it out all of 2011 now (or ignoring it completely). Do like the groundhog does, come out on Feb 2nd with your grand 2011 statements and desires.
2. Let Your Body Tell You What It Needs
FEAR: "You have to fit into a bathing suit in a few months you know… all that sugar, fat and alcohol you consumed is sitting right on your hips… work out 7 days a week, diet, and refrain from eating anything and everything that you enjoy, it’s what you have to do to get back in shape."
LOVE: "What you consumed over the holidays is the past, it’s irrelevant to today… and the truth is that while you probably did indulge, you enjoyed yourself! Now your body wants something different. Listen to what she needs, LOVE her in to the shape she wants. And give her some time to get there. Being healthy and fit sounds way better than dieting!"
The tabloids and slew of diet-focused emails you receive in January would have you believing that if you don’t drop 5lbs by Jan 31, you are doomed. Did you know that it’s a normal winter activity for your body to put on a few extra lbs to keep you warm? Give your temple a chance, she will shed what she doesn’t need, if you listen. Maybe it’s a cleanse or pulling back on sugar. Drop the militant approach and the focus on all the ‘bad’ choices you made to get here… focus on listening to where your body wants to go from here.
3. Relax, don’t do it. Slow down.
FEAR: "The party is over! Holidays are done. Time to get back to work. Look, you are already behind! Better speed it up."
LOVE: "Slow down, there is no where to speed off too. Practice being present. Enjoy the stillness. Pay attention to clearing out clutter – in your body, mind, emotions and spirit. Slowing down now will help you go faster later."
While your achievement junkie and doing addict may be pulling your arm and pushing you from behind to get a move on it, to propel yourself into action, your Inner Wisdom knows that January, the dreaming time, is a time of stillness, replenishment and clearing. This is the time for inner movement not outer movement. So concentrate your energy on things that bring you internal clarity, that clear your physical and emotional bodies and that replenish you. I for one have been enjoying my naps! The more you can slow down, the more you will be able to hear the wisdom, and fuel up for the work ahead.
BONUS LOVE STARTER: Pick your pair of shoes for 2011 – what and how will you walk through 2011? And if you really want to turn up the self love, go out and buy them! Or find a picture of them and put them where you can see them.
I really encourage you to give yourself the month of January to clear out and listen for what is upcoming in your year. To give yourself the gift of self-love by taking care of the most important partner you will ever have in this lifetime – you.
I understand the pressure to have it all figured out, to move into action, to get that body back in shape today, I notice it all around me, and sometimes, more than I would like it to, it does creep in and catch hold of my emotions, my mind and my spirit. Which is why I chose this 40-day self love practice of seeing beyond the fear into the love. The moment I feel myself moving into rush mode, feeling anxiety about not having my entire calendar planned, or faced with another 15 hour day… I am committed to stopping, noticing my own fear, and seeing past it to love.
I’ve already found answers, some I have shared here with you. And I know there will be more. I look forward to celebrating February 13, the international day of self-love, with you so that we can all celebrate the gift of love we chose to start our year with.