Happy New Year
New Year is my favorite holiday. It’s a time to remember the struggles and triumphs of the past year while planning for a brighter future and sharing time with family and friends. Throw in a few drinks and great food and what could be better than that? I want to be clear in my intentions for the coming year so here are the key points that I want to keep in mind and work toward:
- Elevate knowledge into wisdom
The pursuit of knowledge has been a powerful motivator throughout my life. This drive to learn is why I read frequently across a wide variety of disciplines, why I love school, and why my mind often feels restless if it isn’t occupied by this pursuit. In 2017 I lagged a bit in this aspect of my journey so this year I want to focus on using my free time more constructively by engaging in activities that grow my mind including reading and studying subjects that interest me such as philosophy, psychology, physics, and theology / spirituality. I also want to keep in mind that knowledge is vital but it is incomplete without cultivating the wisdom to know how or when to utilize that knowledge. For example, I don’t just want to learn about what meditation is; I want to put it into practice in my life to see how it works or doesn’t work for me and also be responsible enough to not act like a know-it-all just because I know something. There’s always a bigger picture which our narrow lenses can’t fully see. So my goal is to learn as much as I can but my motto will be that the only thing I know for sure is that I don’t know for sure.
- Trust intuition
I don’t want to focus so much on my mind that I forget to educate my heart. In many ways, the heart is more intelligent. The trick is to trust it. I don’t think I’ve ever had too much difficulty knowing what it tells me — the difficulty lies in trusting and accepting it. A recurring question in my life has been how to know the difference between intuition and fear. For example, let’s say I’m trying something new and I feel a little scared — how do I know whether that is my intuition telling me not to do it or it’s just a false alarm going off because I tend to fear new things. It takes experience to discern between the two and I plan to focus on listening more carefully to what my heart is telling me and how it feels in my body when I make a decision that is in opposition to or in line with my inner knowing. It can definitely be tricky because in the early stages of change it always feels scary to me, even if it turns out to be a good change. I want to try lots of new things this year so I can more fully develop this wisdom and also grow by having new experiences.
- Care less about what others think / cultivate authenticity
One of the common ways my intuition gets muddled is when I’m overly concerned with what others think about me or how I imagine they will judge me. For example, last night I was invited to go to a bar for New Year’s Eve. I did not want to go. But as I was saying no I started to feel anxious because I was worried that I’d be perceived as a party pooper who should get out more so I thought that I should go to avoid this negative judgement of me. So in that moment, my decision to go was based on fear of rejection — not intuition (what I really wanted to do). Thankfully I have been making progress in recognizing my authentic self so I decided not to go and had a pleasant evening at home which I enjoyed very much. What I don’t enjoy is feeling like there’s something wrong with me as a 20-something who doesn’t like going to bars and getting drunk. This year, rather than trying to fit myself into a mold that isn’t right for me I want to make my own mold and just be myself without being so scared that it makes me “less than” or worthless. But I also don’t want to introvert too much to the extent that I miss out on connecting with other people. So this year I want to be confident in my introverted, sensitive, deep thinking self yet not afraid to be extraverted, risk taking, and action-oriented when I feel that it’s the right thing for me to do. I want to make my own mold but then not confine myself to it.
- Create more
Gaining knowledge is incomplete if it is only a process of consumption. I want to create more this year by writing everyday, dusting off my guitar and getting my fingers back to the frets, and being more serious about photography which is an art that I’ve always wanted to utilize as a way to express myself. I also want to share more of what I create and be mindful of the digital content I consume as well as how much time I spend on my phone or aimlessly watching videos on youtube when I could put that time to better use. Sure, it’s fun to get lost in these things for a little while to destress or unwind but there’s a point when it crosses the line of usefulness and becomes self-destructive. I want to be mindful of when that happens. I also want to consume less by buying less stuff. I have more than enough physical belongings. It will be more beneficial to me to spend money on experiences rather than things.
- Be in the moment
I want to practice mindfulness more often in my day to day life. I want to focus on what I can see, taste, smell, feel, and hear to ground myself in the present moment. I want to set more difficult fitness goals and take a few dancing lessons. It’s easy to get lost in my head and shut out other people from my space of authenticity. I don’t want to do that. I want to give other people more of a chance to get to know me and I want to give others the gift of true presence and really listen to their stories and experiences. I crave deep, authentic connections and I have to be willing to allow those type of connections into my life. Being fully present will help get me out of my head when it no longer serves me to be there.
- It’s ok to feel bad sometimes
Life isn’t sunshine all the time. Just because I feel bad about something doesn’t mean I’ve failed. Mistakes are part of the journey. Just learn, let yourself feel, and keep moving forward utilizing the lessons you learned.
- It’s ok to not be so serious all the time
“The existence, the physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. That is to say, it doesn’t have some destination that it ought to arrive at. Same way with dancing. You don’t aim at a particular spot in the room because that’s where you will arrive. The whole point of the dancing is the dance.” — Alan Watts
Let’s dance all the way through the year!