Why start the year off with this one?
Let me take you behind the scenes…or rather into my heart.
I love the start of a new year. It’s a fresh beginning. It’s an opportunity to “begin again” – a free restart. It carries with it hope and possibility.
But as we all know, a week or so into anything new, old stuff comes up. It’s harder to incorporate a new habit or make a change than we anticipated – even if we really, really desire the change or shift.
I don’t like new year resolutions for that reason. Most fail or putter out. And that just leaves us in the cold, darkness of mid January feeling pretty glum – even hopeless, laying on the couch with our phone in our hands saying, “Why bother?”
For many years, I’ve discerned a “word for the year.” I talk about having a word for the year in my book, Gems of Delight, in the winter section. I have an eight-day mini course you can take to guide you to not only choose a word for the year, but also guide you in how to EMBODY it. This week, it is free.
A word for the year can be a guiding compass, a North Star, a grounded mantra and force to keep us steadily rooted in what truly matters when life wants to whip us around or swallow us up in its chaos and distractions.
Next week, I am turning 50. I have a word/phrase for this new DECADE! I have so much to share with you. I will soon.
In the work I do, I hear people’s stories, desires, secret pains and longings, and hopes.
I know what keeps a person up at night;
what triggers someone to spiral into anxiety, depression, or self-deprecating thoughts;
what ache lingers long after the relationship ends or a loved one passes away;
and what hope still exists – somewhere from deep within or even other worldly but felt somatically in the body and energetically in the heart that sparks a person’s tenacity…
to “hold on,”
to reach for life even if your hand shakes and your arm is weary,
to get up off the bathroom floor and wipe your eyes,
to put on the kettle and brew a cup of tea,
to decide to start your day and get dressed,
to make a choice to reach out,
to take a soul risk to look up at the vast sky and start again.
“Start again.” It humbles me and awes me (can that be a verb?!), to consider what it takes to “start again”…
when the ground feels groundless.
when the ache is deep.
when the memory of old failures looms and the inner critic spews its venomous claims of defeat before you even begin, and…against all odds…when you feel that spark of hope flicker in your soul despite all you’ve been through, all you feel, and all your thoughts swirling.
when you lean into possibility.
when you decide “why not?!” or “this is worth another go.”
We are always starting something new. The new year highlights this, but every day, we are starting a new day. We are opening up to new possibilities. We have hopes and longings always gently glistening within us, beckoning us to shake off what holds us back and take a chance.
In the first week back seeing clients, though everyone’s story, longings, hopes, and new beginnings are unique to them, I found myself saying this to each of them: “Start with love.”
Whether you want to be healthier and start a new exercise routine or way of nourishing yourself…
Whether you want to mend a relationship that has needed your attention…
Whether you are discerning a big shift in your work…
whether you desperately long to figure out how to not be so overwhelmed, overstimulated, and overtaxed…
we have a choice: love or harshness, love or fear, love or disconnect, love or hate.
Will you speak kindly or meanly to yourself when you don’t see the progress you had hoped for? Will you be gentle or harsh with yourself when you feel the familiar urge to go back into your old habits? Will you pull away from or lean into the difficult conversation? Will you react from a triggered place of anger or respond with more thoughtfulness? Will you go into your old stories that keep your throat, heart, and fists tight or will you get curious about a new story that offers a deeper release, a letting go, an opening? Will you keep going even though you know you need a break or will you turn toward loving yourself by asking what nourishes you right now?
Let it start with love.
Make love the foundation.
Love is not always easy. Love is not always rainbows and unicorns. Love does not promise every moment is a happy one. But any action rooted in love’s foundation, tended to with love, and fertilized with love will bear fruit that truly nourishes you.
Think about that for a moment. Take that in for a moment and contemplate it.
It may not be the fruit you were originally hoping for. It might look and taste very different than you anticipated. But somehow the soul knows what will truly nourish you.
Somehow you know you are cared for, held, watched over, and loved. And that deep knowing helps you to rest, to trust, to let go, to welcome in, to get through the dark days of winter, to discover a peace within you finally beginning to blossom like the tiny buds emerging in early spring.
Each day, start with love.
Each morning walk, start with love.
Each meal, start with love.
Each conversation, start with love.
Each time you feel like you mess up, start again with love.
Each creative endeavor, set an intention to start with love.
It could sound overly simple or trite. But sometimes the simplest is the most profound and holds the deepest treasure.
I want to share with you a journaling practice that has helped me to find clarity…and also share with you a change that is happening.
As I practice “Start With Love,” I am going to be changing some things up. I have been listening to what drains me and what nourishes me. This might be a journaling activity you do for yourself, too.
What Drains You, What Nourishes You
Take out a piece of paper.
Divide it into two columns.
In the left column, write at the top: “What drains me…”
In the right columns, write at the top: “What nourishes me…”
Make your lists.
Be honest with yourself.
Offer a prayer to Spirit, “Please show me how to make some choices that start with love.”
Then open to hear one micro action you can take to start with love…and follow it.
I am being honest with myself and making some hard choices, uncomfortable choices, scary choices because I don’t know what it will “cost” me or my work. But these choices are rooted in love – love for my body, mind, and heart…love for my poetry and presence…love for my call from the Divine to be for the world what I am called to be. And following THAT feels like integrity.
I want to share with you that one choice I am making is to no longer be on or post on social media for work – Instagram or Facebook.
That’s been a long time coming. I have known for years that spending hours creating posts and “giving and giving and giving” as one of my spiritual healers said to me, in the noisy world of social media, competing with algorithms and other writers/creators with slick marketing strategies, comparing myself, and getting caught up in the “numbers” DOES NOT SERVE ME. I never seemed to find a healthy way for me to be on social media for my work.
That means that I will rely more on “word of mouth” from you all, my dear readers, to share about my offerings – my free ones like my podcast, my meditations on Insight Timer, and my free Your Word for the Year course, as well as those that have a fee or subscription to them.
Would you help me spread the word so others can benefit from these offerings?
I would be very grateful if you consider sharing my work with your dear ones, and if you aren’t already, becoming a member of the community that financially supports my offerings that is on Buy Me a Coffee right now. You could make a one-time donation or offer a monthly contribution. Thank you for considering this.
This winter, if you are in need of some nourishing rest and sleep, put on my free meditation, Yoga Nidra Fusion for Deep Rest and Sleep. If you are feeling the need for a more nourishing routine or ritual, put on my Greeting the Dawn – 7 Minute Morning Meditation when you wake up, and when you are finishing up your day, play my Celebrating Your Wins – Evening Meditation. All of those meditations can be found for free on my Insight Timer.