By: Sherika Tenaya
As we emerge from the longest dark of the year, noted by the passing of the winter solstice, we find ourselves approaching a new year and, consequently, the chance to reevaluate what we want in our lives for ourselves and our loved ones. This is traditionally the one time a year we give ourselves to really check-in with where we are at and where we want to go - as individuals, professionals, parents and lovers.
There are any number of articles out there articulating the finer points of goal setting, of “getting your act together”, of finding motivation and changing your less-than-exemplary habits so that you may move closer to a perceived idealized version of yourself: someone more physically fit, more financially stable, more disciplined, etc.
While these are all great ways to prepare for the new year, one of the primary ideas not getting a great deal of limelight in all those new year resolution articles is the one thing that necessarily predates one’s ability to engender new growth in one’s life: the ability to first make space.
Before you can bring new things into your life, whether it’s a stout workout regimen or a raise, there must be an equal and opposite letting go of something else. A workout regimen, for example, is a common and commendable goal that will inevitably take a greater amount of energy expenditure from you, which in turn, requires consistent, quality rest. This means that you will need to make space in your life by letting go of of late nights on the computer or going out with friends so that you may get to bed at a reasonable time.
Likewise, a raise may seem like a great goal to reach toward, but perhaps achieving such a raise may mean that you lose time and space in your life for your growing children.
The point is that all things are a give and a take, and all too often, we focus on the things we want to gain for ourselves, without really taking the time to think about what we must let go of in order to have space in our lives for it.
So in approaching the new year, rather than following through with the tired old pattern of making resolutions, perhaps turn your attention towards making space in your life’s garden to plant new seeds, sewn from your dreams and aspirations, and taking the time to cultivate them wisely, providing yourself the space and sustainable environment you need in order to make your plantings flourish.
In doing so, you may find that by this time next year, you will be reaping the flourishing new “crops” you planted, denoted by a true and lasting change in your behavior patterns and representative of a fully integrated new lifestyle - a direct result of what your careful cultivation has sewn. All the while, adhering honestly to the give and take of balance, the hallmark of sustainable change, and what it demands of you in order to achieve your aims.
Only through making space can we bring in healthy and sustainable new growth and no amount of manic goal setting will work to bring about a change in established, unsavory patterns if we don’t wisely and realistically maintain a whole-view balance of how our desires, and the pursuance of them, will affect all aspects of our lives.