“So this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over, and a new one just begun.” John Lennon
The winter solstice and last weeks of 2022 may evoke many thoughts or feelings and perhaps reflection of how and who and what you have been this year. And maybe you are starting to think of next year and how you want it to be bigger, better or different.
As the song from the musical Rent says ‘how do you measure a year?’. How do you measure a year? It might be easy to think- well I haven’t really done much or achieved much or changed much. I sure didn’t get that new job or make a lot of money or lose a lot of weight or go on that dream trip or find a new romantic partner or run that big race or….. If we only measure the year in these big ways, most of us are going to think the year was not a success.
It’s easy to get caught up in the big things that typically signify success in a year and lose sight of all the small, rich moments that really make up our seasons and year. The moments of connection, beauty, love, learning, delight, peace, even sorrow or difficulty are the real heart and soul of our days.
Dorthy Hunt wrote ‘Peace is this moment without judgment’. Moments, there are so many moments that can go unnoticed or be forgotten as insignificant. But moments are all we have, and they can be powerfully moving and meaningful and life changing too- if we notice them and lock them into our memory.
As I reflect on what I have learned and what so many have taught me about wellness and wholeness and healing, perhaps this list is a more beneficial way to take stock of all the small moments that make up a year. And as you reflect on them, notice how it feels.
Beautiful settings or things that you have seen
A mindful moment that helped you center
A kindness that you showed to someone
Something hard that you did or maybe there were lots of hard things
One way that you became more clear about who you are or what you need
A quiet moment of discovery – of something outdoors, of moving music, of hearing something from someone else
A time that you showed yourself compassion or kindness
A time you were aware of your body and you could feel it’s power and strength
Some place new that you went, it does not have to be a different state or country, it could be a new park or event or hike or…
Something new that you learned
A way that you cared for the earth- by planting something, reducing/reusing, walking/biking, using an environmentally safer product…
A way that you stretched yourself or took a risk – to try something new, to learn something or engage in something or with someone
A time you were able to recognize your emotion and give it space and sit with it a bit more than before without being reactive or shutting it down
A time of noticing with gratitude some small thing in your life that might be easy to take for granted
A time you were able to be flexible in the face of life’s unpredictability
A new awareness you had of yourself or your relationships that allowed you to show up a little differently
I hope you will spend a bit of time reflecting on some of the things listed above. Maybe a few speak to you more than others. Our brain needs a little help soaking these good things in, so pick one of the items above and try to picture with many details the scene or the moment, recall the feeling of how it felt to do the thing or be in that moment. Just let yourself be there recalling, feeling the moment, letting your brain really take it in. Maybe you want to tell yourself ‘it was a good moment’ or ‘I did that hard thing, good for me’, or ‘what a good feeling to show kindness’… tell yourself what was important or meaningful about the moment.
And I wonder how it will feel to go into the New Year with this approach noticing the small things that make a big difference. You get to choose where you want to put your focus, what do you want to take in and embrace. Happy New Year!