What the New Year Needs Most: Reflection and Invitation

I sit alone this morning, a cup of tea in hand, looking out the window. Snow blankets the ground. Tree branches are bare in the cold. Winter stillness. The neighborhood is unusually quiet, after all night New Year’s parties. It’s my time to reflect.

I’m not always good at reflection. My mind scatters… taking rabbit trails into the experiences and feelings of this past year. Part of remembering is retracing hard times. This is ok because remembering means going through the entire year. And each year brings its challenges. Yet these memories can come with guilt or regret. I can ruminate and get stuck. This isn’t what New Year reflection is about, because it’s not healthy.

Reflection is looking backwards and noticing without judgement and with openness.

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4 “R’s” For September Settling (aka Getting a Grip)

The carefree days of summer are gone – sipping iced tea on the deck, putzing around the garden, riding bikes to the farmers market and savouring late night conversations around the mesmerizing fire. I already miss summers’ sights and sounds – children’s laughter in back yards, birds chirping while flitting amongst the tree branches, and the feeling of sun-kissed warmth on my upturned face.

On my walk this morning, I breathed in crisp air, my cooled lungs reminding me that the season is changing. A squawk overhead called me to look up and marvel at the perfect “V” shape of Canadian geese, flying in formation to warmer climates.

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COMPLETING 2013 and CREATING 2014 as a FAMILY, Guaranteeing Better Expat Family Life

New Year is a great time to build family rituals because there’s not a lot of ingrained family traditions associated with it. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Make it fun. Have your kids and teens WANT to participate by setting the mood with lighting and music, action – a dance party or banging pots and pans, and certainly add their favourite foods! When you’re done, curl up and relax with a great movie.

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COMPLETING 2013 and CREATING 2014 New Year’s Reflections and Intention Setting for Expat Success

Open DoorWelcome to 2014! The door has opened to a whole fresh year! What do you see as you peer through your door? What thoughts come? How do you feel? Maybe anticipation or excitement. Overwhelm or fear. Perhaps there’s a sense of numbness or grief. Joy or peace. Whatever it is for you – it’s ok. I’ve felt all of these at a new year or another, depending on the season I’m experiencing. Wherever you’re at, join me in looking at the ritual of reflection and intention setting.

Why not resolutions? Honestly, I’ve never liked New Year’s resolutions! They tend to be promised plans for self-improvement – to do something “more, better or different”. I then fall flat on my face in failure by the end of January, having me feel worse about myself and the start of a new year. Not a good way to open the door to 2014!

There’s no magic formula that says the last day of December is for reflection and the first day of January is for intentions. I like to take my time, well into January, because I’ve learnt that pondering and preparing infuses passion to carry through on what I choose. I encourage you to take time for both reflection and intention these next weeks. Seems following the Christmas holidays we’re either:

a) … in an “I-ate-way-too-much-food-and-am-exhausted” state, joyful from wonderful celebrations and fun times with family and friends, or
b) … on a sugar high, feeling down with the holidays exaggerating losses and grief. A sense of emptiness as you rear view peer and perhaps dread as you look forward.

This can change, because you can choose to reflect, then move on, letting go of the past and pressing on to what lies ahead!

ReflectionHow can this play out in your personal life? [Read more…]