New Year’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year. It is the ultimate of new beginnings. It ripples with possibility and glimmers with hope. It’s the sun setting on water, all long-golden shadows, a honeyed promise that reaches from the edge of the horizon towards the tips of your toes. A warm, clear path towards your dreams.
Part of the allure is that January 1st is not just about welcoming in the new, it’s also a day of releasing the old. 2018 brought so many challenges. Lots of beginnings and wonderful successes but some extraordinarily painful endings.
I am convinced that one of the lessons I’m meant to learn in this lifetime is to learn to let go. Gracefully. Consciously. With love, patience, and peace. Each time I’m called to let go – of a person, a relationship, or even an idea – like who I think I “should” be, it’s gotten easier by the slimmest of degrees. I’m getting better at recognizing the clenching in my belly for what it really is – anxiety, sadness, and fear.
In my efforts to let go, I’ve not only learned to recognize fear but to sit with it. I used to see fear and twist away from it. Run. But fear will chase you. So learning to sit with it, without losing my breath, without drowning in it, has been a difficult but helpful exercise. I’ve found that each time I sit with it, it shrinks, from the size of a mountain to a hillside, something I can tackle one step at a time. Hopefully at some point, fear will be a rock that I can carry in my pocket that serves to keep me grounded but doesn’t prevent me from taking action – from moving forward or letting go.
This past year I also learned the power of hope. How that glimmer can bring you through the darkest of days. And also the extraordinary depth of friendship when you run out of your own hope and your friends and colleagues come light it for you again and help to lead you out of your own darkness.
I think that’s one of the things I love most about the first day of the year. The glimmer of untapped potential. Dreams and wishes are born. There’s no bitterness of defeat, no ragged edges of rejection. There is only the rosy-cheeked freshness of a new year. Of new beginnings. Of mystery and magic. Not just for me, but for what feels like the whole world. The sweet breath of collective hope that floats lightly on the air, so cold and sweet that you want to gulp and hold in your lungs until you burst.
As part of this recognition of possibility, my friend Tia picks a word or phrase for each new year (a color and spirit animal too, and she will be leading a workshop on this soon and it’s incredible). A theme or intention. I struggled for days with what my word for 2019 should be. Magic? Possibility? Fun? Yes to all of those, but none were quite right. I realized for me this year is about exploring of what it’s like to let go of limits. Limits I’ve set for myself on what I’m capable of accomplishing, professionally, personally, spiritually. Of who I should be, of the roles I play at work, in friendship or relationship, in my community. Of who and what defines me. What if I unleashed my potential? What if I approached each day as though I were capable of anything I could imagine? And so my plan for 2019 was born. Push my own boundaries. Jump off the cliff. Try to live my life without limits. Wish me luck. 🙂
Wishing all of you a year of limitless possibility. Of love and laughter, of deep friendships, and lingering sunsets, of adventure and exploration, of peace and joy, and mostly, of hope.