‘Life is a courageous journey or nothing at all. We cannot become who we want to be by continuing to do exactly what we’ve been doing. Choose to listen to your inner voice, not the jumbled opinions of everyone else. Do what you know in your heart is right for you. It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you. And be sure to appreciate every day of your life. Good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience, and the worst days give you the best lessons.’  Marcandangel.com

Are you a New Year’s resolutionist? I’m not typically one to conjure up a long and arduous list of New Year’s Resolutions, never have been. I feel like it might just be setting myself up for failure.

I like to think of the New Year though, as a time of new beginnings, renewal, maybe a time to spend some energy thinking about dreams and aspirations – not strict declarations or determinations to IMPROVE myself. For me, it is okay to think about what I might like to accomplish this year, but without attachment to a deep resolve to succeed. I like to take a more gentle approach and to let my dreams and aspirations flow freely with a playful sense of imagination; to find ways to feed the mind and nourish the soul.

I believe it’s about learning to face each new day with grace and appreciation, facing challenges with courage and intrigue, treating all beings (that includes yourself) with a kind heart, and even pressing the boundaries on occasion (challenging myself has always been … well, challenging).

However you handle things this New Year, think of it as a time to ‘Begin Anew’.

Try this simple exercise:

Take a few gentle breaths – and find release as you exhale; releasing downward; letting go. Keep breathing, letting the breath find it’s natural rhythm here. In that release, we learn that holding on tight to stress doesn’t serve us in any favourable way, and when we find easy, gentle ways to let go of that ‘gripping’ or ‘holding on’, we find more ease.

As you continue with this gentle rhythm of breath, keep coming back to the idea of letting go, shedding stress or worry … keep letting go each time you exhale.

The moment your mind wanders away – a sound; a vision; discomfort in the body; a nagging thought; an old regret – whatever it is – gently letting go of the distraction and … begin again. Start again with an in-breath and an out-breath. Each new breath is an opportunity to let go, to continue to shed stress and worry and to BEGIN ANEW.

With every effort to begin again, there is joy and a sense of renewal … A new breath, a new start – now take a moment to return to the present moment – it is here, in this moment we allow ourselves to realize that, no matter what happens, we can always BEGIN ANEW.

So as you face the New Year, wherever you are in your life, whatever challenges you might be facing – allow yourself, with kindness and compassion, to let go and begin again. And as we live more and more in a state of ease, we can welcome each new day, accept life’s disappointments, and unlock the door to freedom.     

Photo credit Josh Boot on Unsplash