Happy Friday, Dearest Sugar Shells!
I used to carry around a short list that looked like this:
- floss teeth every night
- exercise 4 - 5 days per week
- eat something green every day
- go whale-watching!
- spend more time outside
This little gem encompassed my New Year's resolutions for 2012.
(If you're wondering why I am writing about New Year's resolutions in November, it's because it's November!!! Already! Meaning, we're on the quick downward slide toward holiday madness, my friends, and that brings us to the fact of my next retreat.)
As I remember making this list on December 31, 2011, I feel a tender respect for that dutiful former version of me who intentionally sat down to think about what I really wanted to do that year. I admire that younger me who craved healthy, supportive habits (and who ended up building them, with some credit due to the list). And I dearly love the younger me who coveted brisk adventures far, far away from my district office cubicle! She had hopes and excellent intentions.
I was certainly doing my best when I wrote those resolutions, true, but I also look back on them and feel a little sad...and frankly, kinda bored. Because it's really just a glorified to-do list. These items don't feel big enough to count as New Year's resolutions. Their small stature disheartens me now.
Part of that smallness reflects the constrictions I placed on my own life at that time, but mostly I put the smallness down to focusing on the wrong thing.
You see, those resolutions are about the things I want to do. Actions to take. Externally measurable choices and behaviors. Doing.
Those things did actually help me and I'm grateful to my younger self. I mean, I floss now (!) and even my dentist noticed, for goodness' sake.
But, I'm no longer interested in having a to-do list hang over my head for a whole year. I can take action to build new habits and support my well-being anytime I want, using tools and methods. What I really require for growth, however, is a vision.
So, I no longer ask myself what I want to do. Instead, I consider who I want to be.
And this takes time. (And reflection, spaciousness, and at best, guidance.)
On New Year's Eve, I do not have this kind of time.
On New Year's Eve, I'm typically still focused on the holiday season that has not yet ended...with undelivered gifts sitting lamely by the front door, boxes of decorations and wrapping paper lying around, and my 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle calling me from the coffee table. Finish me! Drop everything now and Finish Meeeee!!! Also, I'm usually knee-deep in buttery spritz cookies and/or basking in a cookie coma.
This is the holiday zone.
The holiday zone explains how I fail to remember until 10:57pm on December 31 that it is actually New Year's Eve...at which point I anxiously recall that good people reflect on their lives and write soulful, meaningful resolutions on thick, luscious paper with sparkly pens...and that I better hurry up and find a scrap of empty journal space to get this done if I ever want to become a quasi-better version of myself. Thus begins the frenzy, and it's not exactly pretty.
(But that sexy jigsaw puzzle isn't gonna do itself and I haven't really thought much about who I want to be yet, so I frantically, conscientiously scribble some ideas at the last minute while still in my flannel pajamas, eyeing the puzzle. It's all very glamorous, really.)
And this, my friends, is how I wind up writing a New Year's resolution about flossing.
If you just passed out from boredom after reading that sentence, it's okay - so did I. YAWN.
What I do now is give myself the gift of time.
In fact, I give myself the whole damn month of January. It's the only way for me to have enough space to fully consider who I have been and who I want to be. To focus on Being, not Doing.
In my world, January is the Dream Time. (I first wrote about this concept in December 2014 after having tried this new method for a few years.) And I love this approach. It's powerful and effective, and honestly I like getting rocket thrust out of my resolutions.
This is why I'm leading another retreat at the tail-end of January: an intimate, spacious, supported experience for just six people to fully consider who they want to be in 2016. It's called The DreamTime Retreat.
We'll do the essential wintery resting by the fire; we'll gently and courageously take stock; and we'll create resolutions laced with rocket fuel. (After savoring the rich, cookie-laden depths of the holiday zone, of course.)
And YOU, Dear Reader, are invited!!! Please accept this letter as your invitation.
I won't announce The DreamTime Retreat publicly for another week because I want you - my Sugar Shells! - to have first dibs. And, in the spirit of full disclosure: given the high interest in the last retreat, I anticipate this event will fill quickly. (Fuller disclosure: I would love for it to fill quickly. That would be rad!)
Please get in touch if you'd like to reserve a spot and spend your entire holiday season knowing that you'll be on retreat in January, giving yourself a beautiful, expansive opportunity to make 2016 a very powerful year indeed.