Make New Year last all year long.
The past decade has been pretty sobering. We have been confronted with the reality of what greed and materialism can do to our world. Our increasing pace of life and the fact that we spend more time looking at our smart phones than into the eyes of the people that we love, can end up making us more anxious, overwhelmed and more lonely than ever before.
It’s tempting to start the New Year with some grand resolutions. The urge to change dramatically is very human. But we also fear failure, we fear falling short of our unrealistic expectations. We can feel paralysed and powerless. So what do we do?
The first step towards true change is identifying patterns in our behaviour. When we become truly mindful of how we react to things and situations and our habits, we can gain insight into the source of these behaviours.
So, for example, constantly setting New Year’s resolutions that you know you won’t be able to keep, can be an example of a negative behaviour pattern. We set ourselves up for failure and then when we do fail, this confirms our negative belief that we are a failure and that we will never change.
When you identify these deep feelings of failure and unworthiness, they can be pretty scary. But by bringing a kind and compassionate presence to these dark corners of your mind, you can heal the wounds that lie beneath your negative thought patterns and behaviours. And recognise them as the armour that we create to protect ourselves from feeling these very painful emotions.
A mindful awareness can also help you to regulate emotions like anger, fear, anxiety and pain in everyday life, by bringing yourself back to the present moment. We can use the tools that we learn during meditation anytime, anywhere to come back to our true selves, to reconnect with the quiet inside of us, our inner presence, and to stop getting caught up in negative emotions.
Learning to focus on the present moment teaches us that the opportunity for change or renewal doesn’t only come around only once a decade, but it presents itself at every moment. This quality of renewal or growth is present in us all the time. We just need to stop and notice.