Happy New Year everyone! I hope that 2011 is treating you fantastically so far.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been thinking long and hard about the year that’s just been, as well as the year ahead, including what you want to achieve and what you’d like to start doing, or stop doing. It got me thinking – maybe I’ve been going about this whole ‘resolution’ thing wrong…
While I think that without positive change, we can’t evolve and grow to experience the fullness of what we can become, I also would like to propose something very daring, just for the start of your year, that will probably go against every ‘New Year, New You’ article on resolutions you’ll be reading and all the talk of starting or quitting habits your friends, family and colleagues will be engaging in. It might even go against your will to banish those few extra christmas turkey and pudding produced kilos you’re carrying.
So often we get caught up in the quest for bigger, better, best that we never get to experience the peace that just being content with where we are can bring. If anything, this time of year is when we put ourselves under the most pressure to be something other than just what we are and who we are, in the present moment.
Imagine what might change if you tried accepting things as they are and chose gratitude for what you have, rather than beginning your year with an attitude of dissatisfaction that says what you have and who you are is not good enough?
Think of all the extra pressures you’re under at this time of year: you’re just returning to work after coming off holidays, you’re probably pretty light in the wallet and slightly heavier on the scales, your regular fitness regime might have been thrown off kilter by the sleep-ins and extra indulgences of the Christmas break and you’ll most likely have spent New Years eve talking about all the things you’re going to achieve this year, all the things you’re going to change, all the things that aren’t right in your life and all the new and better things you’re going to be become. Subconcsiously you start January thinking, ‘gotta get going, gotta change, now, now, now!’.
But hang on. What about doing something counter-intuitive like slowing down and being ‘ok’ with what is, just for a week or two.
Stop the pursuit for the flattest tummy.
Forget images of the biggest biceps.
Ease up in the race to a million dollars.
Don’t berate yourself for ‘bad’ habits.
Refuse to compare yourself to other people.
Instead be mindful and choose contentment with where you are.
‘Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ ~Lao Tzu
If you have two eyes that can see, you can be thankful for the ability to see the various shades of green in the foliage on trees, the smiles on other people’s faces, the words on the page of brilliant books, the ability to watch great movies and watch the scenery go by on long drives.
If you have ears that hear you can appreciate beautiful music, the relaxing sound of the ocean waves or a friend’s voice down the phone line.
You have the ability to feel silk, a cool breeze on a hot summer day, smell a flower, fresh coffee, a home cooked meal, taste red wine, a strawberry, chilli or chocolate.
These are miracles in themselves, yet we take them for granted, forgetting that there are so many reasons why where you are now, is a great place to be.
When you find contentment where you are, the things you want to change become less significant, you feel less stress and you’re able to enjoy the day without feeling like you need to be somewhere else or somewhere better and finally, you’ll just be ‘in’ your life. You stop spending money on things you thing will supposedly improve your life and stop the striving fuelled by dissatisfaction. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel that sense of contentment?
And – if you do still want to move ahead, make positive changes and create a picture of your life that’s more in line with who you are when you’re in a state of being ‘present’, starting your year in a more contented way will definitely put you in a frame of mind that makes gentle changes easier to introduce and keep up in the long run. Then you can start doing things because you love them, not because you think they will make you ‘better’.
Experience contentment with what you have and where you are – just try it for two weeks – you might be surprised at what you find.
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