5 STEPS TO HELP KEEP YOU ON TRACK IN THE NEW YEAR
We Want The Green, But We Need The Gray
The last week of 2018, I traveled to wintery Owego, New York from sunny and warm, Los Angeles, California. As the doors from the airport slid open, a blast of frigid air hit me square in the face and my eyes immediately begin to water uncontrollably.
I loved it.
Everything around me was frozen, grey and bare. The sky was grey, the ground was grey, the trees were grey.
I grabbed a coffee in town and fell into an easy conversation with one of the locals. She was a born and raised Owego boomerang who has lived there for over thirty years. She shared with me how this winter has been one of the toughest for her in a long time because the sun hadn’t come out in over three months. I shared with her that I lived in Los Angeles, where the sun shined practically year round. She paused, contemplating her response and then replied, “Yeah, I think I’ll take this rough patch we’re having here instead.”
‘How easy it is to love the green and how challenging it is to love the grey,’ I thought to myself. Perhaps more accurately would be to say “enjoy the grey,” because my new friend clearly had a love, or at least an appreciation for it, even though she currently wasn’t enjoying it at all.
It made me think about how our lives are cyclical. They have to be. We need the grey to have the green. We need the green to have the grey. The most powerful, magical lessons of our lives are gifted to us during the grey times. They’re tough. Grey times force us to dig in our roots and strengthen our bark. We learn to stand taller and how to not let the weather bend or break us. We are not meant to stay stagnant. We are designed to grow, evolve and become greater versions of ourselves with every season.
My trip to Owego inspired this month’s meditation on revival. The trees and the piles of golden leaves on the ground from the season before all reminded me that everything is a cycle. With this in mind, I created an easy system for you to help you stay focused on what matters most to you in your life right now in the year ahead.
5 STEPS TO REVIVAL IN 2019
First, think of a theme that you would like to devote yourself to this year. If you have many, pick the one that resonates with you the most. For example, the theme I have chosen for myself for my year is THRIVE. Thriving in my work, thriving with my self-care, thriving in my relationships.
Now think of an inverse triangle. As you go through each and every day, align every decision you make through the lens of your theme. Check yourself every day - what are you pouring into that big receptacle at the top? Does it line up with your theme? By putting everything through the funnel of that theme, it will center you and help you to keep you moving steadily toward what matters most to you.
So, If my theme for the year is to thrive, I want my day-to-day actions and decisions to reflect that. For example: If I decide to go out for 3 glasses of wine with a girlfriend on a weeknight, I will not be focused, I’ll feel awful, and I won’t be able to accomplish my work to the highest quality the following day (no matter how many times I want to convince myself I have the metabolism of a 20-year-old). Knowing that, I can decide to postpone, subtract or adjust these plans so they will not get in the way of me sticking to my theme.
This is perhaps the most important. Forgive yourself for your past so-called, “failures” in 2018 and try to not bring old baggage with you into 2019. Allow anything you remember as past mistakes, failures, fears, anxieties, etc. to shed like leaves from a tree. Forgive yourself for these things, know that all the situations, circumstances, past “failures” and negative experiences are a part of your past.
Reflect gently on your negative past experiences or so-called “failures,” and rebrand them as things and moments that enrich the foundation soil of your present and future life.
Think of it this way: Composted soil is some of the richest, nutrient-rich to grow new plants in. Food scraps like onion skin, egg shells, and banana peels are wonderful for compost and are all things that we consider to be “garbage” or “waste.” And while we consider these scraps to be disposable, un-valuable or even dirty, they can transform soil into the best place to yield healthy, delicious new plants and food. In this process, things what we once thought to be disposable and unremarkable, actually end up being the foundation for amazing, new results.
So, instead of thinking as your past negative experiences in 2018 as garbage to be thrown away, forgotten and hidden forever - view them as the soil to grow better, more positive outcomes and opportunities in 2019.
As you move through your theme this year, move forward with hope. As you make your decisions and mistakes, remember that life is seasonal and cyclical.
At times, we have grey seasons and at other times, our seasons are green. And no matter how long your grey season may be, there is always a promise of Spring. Follow your theme and allow for surprises in your season along the way.