Welcome to a new year and a fresh opportunity to rejuvenate, renovate, or re-invent your life!
The year 2020 will go down in history books as an incredibly difficult year for many people. If I were to ask you to allow one picture to come to mind that represents this past year, I'm guessing it would not be a positive one There's no need for me to recount all of that now, but suffice it to say that many people experienced feelings of anxiety, depression, frustration, and powerlessness this year, and Therapists and Life Coaches were busier than ever. Yes, 2020 will not be a year that we look back on fondly.
There are no easy answers to fix all that occurred. A vaccine finally out will, hopefully, help contain a rampant virus that has brought illness and death to too many people. A newly elected president may not heal the extreme polarization we have seen in America in recent years, either. Even if the pandemic ends, businesses reopen, and people go back to work, we are still likely to experience the effects of 2020 for years.
On a macro level there may be little you can do to change all this except to vote, make your desires known to your government representatives, and volunteer for organizations that stand for what you believe. However, there are things you can do individually to recover. While not a comprehensive list, here are a few strategies that can have a profound impact:
First, we can make small changes every day. There is a saying that, "If I change 1/3 of 1% every day, by the time I get to the end of the year, I will have changed 100%." I've been unable to find who authored it, but it struck me how profound this statement is in its simplicity! That doesn't mean it will be easy or that it will always feel good, but it gives us something practical we can do. It does mean we don't have to have all the answers, and we don't have to figure it all out immediately. It means taking small, incremental steps daily towards creating a better future in 2021, and reminding ourselves regularly when we make progress, no matter how small it might be.
Here is one example of that: A few years ago, I decided to write every night in a journal, "What was the most beautiful or the best thing I noticed today? Where did I see something that represented goodness?" I soon began to eagerly anticipate looking for that one thing, and not surprisingly, I began to notice much more goodness and beauty. Fast forward a couple of years into that experiment, and I was in the middle of a disagreement with my husband. Guess what happened? Something came into my line of vision that prompted me to suddenly stop and say, "Wow, isn't that beautiful!" I instantly felt a positive lift emotionally. What I believe had happened was that I had been programming my mind to look for beauty and goodness to the extent that my unconscious was noticing it even when I was not consciously looking for it. That one step has actually raised my capacity for feeling joy! So in this new year, we can intentionally program our minds to look for what is good, beautiful, comforting, peaceful, and brings us joy. Doing this will not solve whatever problems 2020 brought our way, but it's something simple that might represent 1/3 of 1% of something we can do every day as we seek to make positive changes in our lives in 2021. What small step/s could you take each day throughout 2021 that would represent 1/3 of 1%?
Second, we can look for the positive meaning or benefit, or the proverbial "silver lining" in whatever bad happened. For example, it was reported that as factories shut down in 2020, any pollution in the air around those communities began to dissipate, and some of the allergies of people who lived nearby diminished or went away. Also, some families who were constantly on the run from one children's activity to another, suddenly found those activities cancelled. So they stayed home. Some of them started playing games or doing crafts together, or taking hikes in nature, and they rediscovered enjoyment in being together without the pressure of rushing and accomplishing. What positive benefit did you inadvertently receive amongst the negative experiences of 2020? How could you implement the principle of looking for the positive benefit more in your life in 2021?
Third, we can allow the negative experiences to be composted. Now, if you are a gardener, you know what composting is, but in case you aren't one or aren't familiar with it, here is what it is. You put vegetative waste products, such as, dead leaves or grass clippings, potato or banana peels, or coffee grounds into a compost pile. If you live near a horse, chicken, or cattle farm, you can also add some manure, as long as it's from an animal that only eats vegetation, not meat. You wet it all down thoroughly and then turn it every day. it begins to heat up from the inside, killing the weed seeds and decomposing. It eventually breaks down into something gardeners call "black gold," which is a very rich soil able to produce beautiful and healthy flowers and vegetables.
And I like to think that God is in the composting business. He takes the "shittiest: experiences of our lives, turns them every day, and during that painful process, he wets it all down with our tears. Eventually, those painful experiences "decompose" and become "black gold," something out of which beautiful things can grow. Usually those beautiful things growing are the wisdom and compassion and knowledge you gain that you can then share with someone going through a similar difficulty. What are ways you would like your 2020 experiences to be composted in your life and used for good in the future?
So, if you would like to rejuvenate, renovate, or even re-invent your life, the beginning of a new year is a great time to start! Life Coaching and Spiritual Coaching are wonderful resources for that, and we at Eaton Coaching and Life Celebrations would consider it a privilege to be a part of your experience towards that in 2021. If you would like to hear more about how to turn your life into something you will celebrate in this new year, please call or email us.