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Saturday, January 19, 2019

January: A Month for Reflection

Generally, the school of thought is to squeeze some annual reflection time in between the holidays and the new year for a few resolutions in the New Year. I'd hope that many of you are going to slow down and take stock of your year during the entire month of January. Take these 31 days to reflect on the past year and really think about what you want to achieve in 2019 -- personally and professionally. Don't rush at the end of December to come up with a set of resolutions that feel a little flimsy and are easy to walk away from.

May the words of poet Mary Oliver be your mantra his year: 

"What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

This January, go back and take a look at each month of 2018 and remind yourself about what happened in each month. Take stock of what you did and how you felt through the highs and lows and jot them down. Now think about the 11 months of blank canvas ahead. What would be your greatest personal satisfaction for the year? Who are the friends you haven't seen in a while that you want to make sure to see this year? Are you making a plan to gather with friends on a regular basis? Are you taking time for your loved ones? In what ways will you do this, this year? What one new skill do you want to learn this year? Are you factoring in your health to your 2019 plan?

Put these thoughts on paper. Now the list is official. Tape it to an inside cabinet, post it to the fridge or to the back of the door. Don't run away from your goals.  Make it a year full of constant joys! 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Reflections for the New Year

With the arrival of the new year, I find a quiet place and embrace some time to just be. The act of simply sitting for a moment of time, in a space of quiet, opens the door to one’s soul for a journey of reflection.

I inhale. I exhale. I take in this moment of life. I reflect upon the sun, the clouds, the bright blue sky and the light of the full moon rising in the distance on this cold winter’s eve.   I reflect upon recent conversations and interactions with colleagues, family and friends. I reflect upon the year gone by.
What a delight it is, I am reminded, to “just sit and be” with a loved one or friend and share in an open and trusted free-flowing conversation with no intent or agenda.

Why haven’t I done this more often?

We fill our schedules so full with daily activities and external noise that our conversations are often filled with “outputting” information shared through texting and other forms of social media as opposed to interactive conversations with one another.  I find myself facing this dilemma of our modern, fast-paced world: say as much as you can in the shortest amount of time. We are all on a hamster wheel of non-stop movement, activities, electronic noise and distractions. 

My friends and I question if we have lost the “art of conversation.” For many centuries the gift of interactive conversation was a treasure for our human spirit. We used to look forward to the time to sit around a kitchen table to share our thoughts while we would break bread—with no boundaries and no time commitments. Where has the time gone?

As we reflect upon the year that has come to a close, find time to welcome in the new season with warm thoughts of new dreams and intentions to be more present for yourself and for others. I would like to encourage all of us to take time to slow down, breathe in and exhale. Silence is time for one’s soul and spirit to reflect.

Then re-engage in the art of conversation with those around you, free of distraction. Turn everything off so you, too, can enjoy the power of sharing and learning from one another.  You never know what you will discover about yourself and those around you if you are willing to reflect, share and listen.  The more you practice breathing this year, the more you will discover ease, peace and comfort in your daily life.