I love the feeling of fresh starts … an unopened notebook, a brand new pen, even a new day. Shiny, unused, unspoiled speaks to me of possibility. The beginning of a new year is the grandmama of them all. It always feels to me like it’s a fresh opportunity to “get it right”, whatever “it” is, and it often carries the additional weight of “getting it right all the time”. (For example, this, my first blog post of the year, “should” have been posted before the middle of the month.)
And then reality shows up … the pages in the notebook get smeared, I have a low energy day which results in none of my daily objectives being met, and the “clean slate” of the new year gets smudged with reminders that I am flawed/human.
Possibility morphs into immense pressure that I put on myself. Rather than each day being its own brand new experience, I carry leftovers from the previous day and week with me. Now, I not only have to keep up with the good intentions of this day, but compensate for how I didn’t meet the ones set for previous days.
It’s an exhausting way to live. I want to engage with my life differently.
This year I am asking what life would feel like if my sole intention for the year was to meet myself as I am in this moment. What would happen if I met each day with curiosity rather than expectation?
This doesn’t mean I don’t have goals or commitments. It does mean I engage with the practicalities of my life from the perspective of gentleness, attending to what I need in this moment. I find this approach gives me more opportunities to experience ease in my nervous system, and invites me to cultivate a deeper relationship with rest.
The Truth is that perfectionism is a tyrant. It pushes me relentlessly, keeping me focussed on what isn’t good enough.
Gentleness takes me off of auto-pilot, and invites me to be attentive to what my energy requires right now. Sometimes what I need is a quiet reminder that the appointment I must attend has value, and that I can meet it with presence. Other times, my need is to take myself “offline” and engage fully with rest or with play. There is a continual allowing for what is, an embracing of myself as fully human with ups and downs in attention, in focus, in outlook.
Who I am in this moment is okay. Who I am in the next is also okay.
That’s a radical thought … and one that our culture doesn’t teach us. And yet, it is the Truth. My value is not in what I accomplish, or how shiny my life (or home) looks to an outsider.
My value rests solely in the fact that I am.
I want to cultivate more of this awareness in my life this year, a deeper connection to my worth aside from any performance or accomplishment.
What does it feel like to you, to be present to yourself in the moment, rather than pushing toward expectations?