As 2011 comes to an end and the Winter Solstice is here I’m reviewing the lessons this year has had to offer. My inner voice is loud and clear as usual and I have yet another opportunity to listen. What it tells me is that 2012 will be the year of ME!
No, I’m not suggesting a return to self-obsession or the stubborn willfulness of my past. Quite to the contrary I’m suggesting a commitment to seek, find and accomplish those things that feed my soul. I have come to appreciate that there is an essential spark in everyone. This spark – the soul, energy or even just personality, needs to be fed. Every day I encounter people who have those bright and lively eyes, effervescent personalities and who exude enthusiasm. These people are heroes to me in every walk of life. My intention is to be that person and carry the spark to others.
What I know as a truth today is that there are daily actions I can take that enable the free flow of enthusiasm, energy and inspiration. Here are a few that come to mind:
Sleep: Not by coincidence I have been reading up on studies that relate the duration and quality of a person’s sleep to their physical and mental well being. Some athletes have been shown to significantly increase their performance by increasing their sleep to 9-10 hours per night. While my day job has always treated sleep like a weakness what I know is that the more I get the better I feel on all levels. Each person is different, but for me to perform at my best 8 hours is a minimum.
Nurturing, Home Cooked Food: Over the last several years I have developed a real love of cooking. I now know that my years of ignoring this fundamental self-nurturing activity are over. For me to feel and look my best I have to eat regularly and well. Plus this has the added benefit of being a tool for mentally relaxation and meditation. I can’t worry about work when I’m making a good sauce!
Regular Exercise: I had the joy this year of reigniting my yoga practice in a good friend’s classes in Playa del Rey. Combined with my walks along the ocean this practice helped my lower back, my core (and those stubborn pounds I’ve been fighting with) and my mental outlook. This is another form of moving meditation and keeper!
Saying “No.”: Possibly the most important lesson of 2011 saying, “No thank you.” with neutrality and love to additional work responsibilities, further charity work or relationships that no longer nurture me is essential to my ability to be my best. This allows me freedom to invest time in the first three things on this list as well as the people & projects that are closely aligned with the core purpose of my life. Letting go of chronic people pleasing is a fundamental life change for me and one I’ll continue to invest in with enthusiasm. Changing this behavior is an ongoing practice that’s never done for me.
Embrace Change: The roller coaster of 2011 has illustrated the ongoing need for me to stay in the moment and not get my ego invested in the outcome of individual situations. My ability to be flexible, positive and detached from the actions of others and my own “best laid plans” is important to maintaining my positive outlook on life. Society is in a state of flux, straining at the seams to become something new. Everyone is subject to the influence of that energy. A quiet mind in the center of the storm is critical. Deep breathing, a long term perspective and a sense of humor can make change less threatening on every level.
I am inviting the year ahead to show me more lessons on this subject of self care and would love to hear what daily actions are on your list.
I want to thank everyone who sends me notes about my column here and those who continue to invite me into their lives for sessions. Your presence is a gift and above all other things I am grateful for it all!!!
Happy Solstice to Everyone!