I love New Year …. A time to reflect on the year that is past and set intentions for the year just beginning …. In England where I grew up, New Year falls in the dead of winter and the long nights and cold winter days make turning inward for reflection feel natural … and each year still Angus and I sit together and talk over our highlights, challenges and learnings of the closing year – and our hopes and plans for the new year.
Life is full of new beginnings …. A month ago, on 8th December, I birthed our first child – our beautiful baby boy, Kai. As I celebrate what becoming a mother brings me – increased love, compassion and selflessness and a new connection to women and mothers throughout the ages – I have had also to say goodbye to other elements of my life and identity in the world. In the last weeks of my pregnancy, parts of me resisted letting go. But through journaling and meditation, I found a way to appreciate all the experiences of years past while acknowledging that everything comes to its end at the right time, clearing the way for new adventure.
A spiritual leader I much admire counsels always choosing the unfamiliar, when a choice presents itself …. Sometimes we want to cling to the familiar – it is known and therefore “safe”. And the fear of the new can keep us stuck and closed, resisting life’s ongoing flow. But even when it brings challenges, the new always teaches us and expands us. Mistakes may be made – and that is ok – because to fall down and pick ourselves up again is part of life’s journey, and keeps us moving forward.
New beginnings aren’t always big – often they are small. And small new beginnings can be great practice for the larger ones that we face from time to time …. Learning to face life’s little “deaths” with calm presence and gratitude and face the new with courage is an important part of our spiritual growth – and our day to day happiness.
New Year is a time we are more conscious of starting something new – and we may make new choices, small or larger…. A change of job, perhaps, or a recommitment to our daily yoga or meditation practice, or a decision to join a new class, reconnect with old friends or take that special trip we have been promising ourselves for years. Let us use this occasion to embrace whatever newness 2014 brings and graciously let go of what is already gone.
I wish you all the happiest of new years and look forward to staying in touch in 2014!