As I’m writing, the world outside is turning a soft winter white. The ground underneath it, mostly a dirty brown state of decay or Washington state moss (mold) green, is being transformed by a fresh coat of snowy paint.
Snow makes everything beautiful. It creates a world that appears clean, peaceful, poignant, and full of possibility. A foot or two of snow on the ground can turn any landscape into a Thomas Kinkade painting.
The thing about snow is it’s temporary. It’s going to melt. (Unless you live on one of the poles in which case your snow-covered world looks less ‘awe-inspiring Kinkade’ and more ‘stark Nat Geo magazine spread’) As it melts, the dirt below remains. The only difference is it will be wetter, colder and so dense you’ll need a supersized industrial-strength shovel to get it out of the way. (There’s nothing grosser than the gray-brown slush that builds up along the sidewalks after a snowfall.)
But right now, the snowflakes are like falling crystal, and it’s the essential backdrop for a New Year’s reflection and perfect analogy for a blog post. The snow may conceal the ugliness of the past, but it won’t eliminate the mess for good.
That part’s up to me. I have to clean up my own messes.
Last year started out optimistically enough but ended in a struggle. By late Fall, self-care went by the wayside as I added hours of work to my books. Instead of boosting much-needed endorphins at gym classes, I found comfort in old habits including processed foods and refined sugar. My family encountered heartbreak when my aunt passed away very recently. Our relationship was not without conflict, and the finality of her death eliminates any opportunity for resolution, understanding, or on my part, to make amends.
By the end of the year, I haven’t felt much like a recovery role model, more like a poster child for “do as I say, not as I do.”
Lucky for me, I believe it’s never too late to start again – or at least to keep trying. The start of a New Year is an excellent occasion. As an alternative to making resolutions – which in my past have typically involved a somewhat oppressive and limiting list based on societal standards of what one needs to be considered a success by the end of a 12 month period- my routine these days is to set an intention. I choose a word or a phrase that encompasses what I need most to move closer to intrinsic wholeness.
Or rather, I should say that word or phrase chooses me.
This year, I thought it would be obvious: 20/20 – The Year of Clear Vision.
With this in mind, I attended yoga yesterday in preparation for intention setting. I expected to be inspired with clarity of thought as I moved through sun salutations and balancing poses, but found myself distracted by discomfort. Muscles complained as I stretched in ways I’ve been avoiding. Disruptive thoughts and bittersweet flashbacks filled my mind. Finally, we came to Shavasana, the final rest for the last few minutes of class. Lying on my back with eyes closed and palms up to symbolize an open, accepting spirit, I exhaled and willed myself to let go of the tension that gripped me.
It would be impossible to think clearly until I was able to let go. And that’s when it struck me.
Eyesight isn’t clear with obstacles in the way. A vision for life is no different.
If I want to become the best version of myself, I can’t carry the burdens of 2019 forward. I also can’t just cover them up with a pretty blanket of snow.
I’ve got to clean them up or let them go. Yoga gave me my answer.
My intention for 2020:
Trust me, there’s plenty to let go of! Years of recovery and proactive personal growth are a strong foundation to build on, but I’m nothing if not a work in progress.
The list includes, but is not limited to…
- Negative self talk.
- Toxic Relationship patterns.
- Resentments and regrets.
- Leftover Shame. (Including shame about having shame)
- Attachment to outcomes – especially other people’s outcomes!
With yoga complete, tears wiped away, and my stomach growling after the hard emotional work, I drove to the nearest MOD Pizza (another thing I probably need to “Lovingly Release” this year.)
My phone vibrated with a group text from the women I consider my recovery sisterhood. Although scattered across the US and Canada, they’re women I feel closest to.
We shared a variety of messages, connecting over similar losses and victories of 2019. We lamented how hard it can be to protect our sobriety and sanity and sent emojis depicting unconditional appreciation for these friendships. (Something like this: 🙌 💓 🥰)
Then, an image appeared. One friend “pulled a card” for us, a practice we engage in when gathered together, either in person or via cell towers. (Pulling a Card: Drawing from a deck of oracle cards, such as this one, and utilizing it to give insight or direction to one’s current situation.)
Taking on the burdens of others interferes with their ability to discover their own power. It may also divert you from finding your own path. Take care of matters that require your attention, let go of those that do not.
There’s no denying it – 2020 – Loving Release it is.
When I am open to the energy of the Universe, the directions are clear. This has played out consistently time and time again. My intuition never lets me down. (Otherwise known as Inner GPS, as detailed in THIS post.)
Letting go is a little scary and a lot exciting. OK… a lot scary. As the description of PU-Olo says, following the same path over and over is comfortable. There’s a lot to be said for the power of familiarity – we humans stick around in unfathomable situations when the fear of the unknown is too much to handle.
I’ve got extensive work ahead of me. Releasing attachment to outcomes means cozying up to uncertainty (Pema Chodron, here I come. She’s the queen of this concept!) Releasing resentments calls for a double dose of humility and honesty. Releasing workaholism necessitates a solid look at my overcrowded calendar and dwindling self-care routine.
I could easily make a list of resolutions outlining what I want to do and be and have MORE of in my life. But first things first: Lovingly release that which does not serve my higher purpose, in order to make plenty of room for all that will.
A New Year’s Blessing
May you lovingly release all that holds you back or keeps you small.
May you be unburdened and open to all the beauty, health and happiness the Universe holds for you.
May your energy be cleansed of all distractions and obstructions.
By the end of 2020, may your vision be crystal clear.
What do you need to let go of? Who and what do you need to make this happen? In my experience, connection and support are essential tools on the path to wholeness. Contact me know if I can help.
Cheers and Gratitude,
One of my favorite articles on HOW to cleanse negative energy from your life!!
And for a more practical type of “Loving Release”, check out Casual Uncluttering– the ultimate professional organizer!