In the last few weeks almost every client I have seen in my therapy practice has expressed feeling both excitement and angst about the coming year. Collectively it seems that we want 2016 to be different, but we fear it will be the same. We want to make strong resolutions- but we worry that we are too weak to keep them. We all seem very clear about what we DO NOT WANT, but far less clear about what exactly we do want to usher in to our lives. Well, if you are feeling this way, consider this: perhaps you don’t have to have your year all figured out by 11:59pm tonight…. Sometimes we forget the Universe is on call 24/7 and there is no statute of limitations on intention setting. Be gentle with yourself- and remember that we can make and re-make our plan as often as we need to.
Myself, I am a bit tender-footed as I head into 2016. Last year I had a very strong vision that 2015 would be a year of professional accomplishment for me. The year did not start off smoothly. January was really bumpy- but I held my vision. February was tough; I began a labor intensive on-line business school that was a huge financial commitment. I reconnected with an old friend/businessman and we started making plans for a virtual grief therapy program we were going to partner on and I committed to several speaking engagements toward the end of the year that would be ideal marketing situations for the project. I had two manuscripts ready for publication and expected both of them to be in print by year’s end. Life was moving fast- but nothing was flowing smoothly- I felt like I was rowing upstream.
Then April and May brought a host of unexpected events that kept my attention squarely focused on the home front. Upstream, downstream, it no longer mattered- I was done fighting for the 2015 I thought I was going to have.
Here is the short list of what did NOT happen in 2015: I never finished Business School. The businessman I had plans to partner with waited patiently for a product I was never able to deliver. I never spoke at a single conference, and I published no books.
On this day last year, when I stood on the precipice of 2015- fiercely envisioning my year of professional achievement, I don’t think I realized I was viewing it through my own little monocle- yes a monocle, one of those one eyed thingies on a chain- a little circle of glass that you squint your face around to keep it in place- and while I stood at the edge of my world squinting away, I am sure the universe was holding up a lens probably the size of the Hubble telescope- holding it there for me to look through. But of course I never even noticed the damn thing because I was so busy squinting to keep my monocle in…. Looking for my year of professional achievement that I KNEW was on the horizon.
I will be the first to say it- monocle’s are not the tool of choice for yearly ‘look aheads’- and they do not work too well in hindsight either. But if I put my myopic lens down and look through the kaleidoscope the universe is holding up for me- I can see that the last year has been one of huge successes and undeniable beauty. Yes, 2015 was a year of huge wins- just not in the places I expected them to be. My accomplishments were all about home, family, and true friends. It was a year of excruciating pain and necessary truths – but it was a year of learning about trust and loyalty and the power that really good people bring to the world. And it was, in fact, a year of great professional and academic accomplishments – but those accomplishments belonged to my children and my husband, not to me. What a great twist!
So I guess my point today is that I am trying to stand in front of the Hubble telescope-like lens this year- and to look out upon the horizon of 2016 with soft eyes- so that I can see what the universe has in store for me, instead of trying to arm wrestle my vision into being…. I am going to be gentle with my goals- and a little less rigid with my expectations…. I know from the experiences that clients and readers have shared with me this year, that a lot of us skinned our knees in 2015- its all ok, because bruises heal when you learn to stay upright…. And that might be an early goal to begin 2016 with- just to stay upright when life gives you a zig and you were expecting a zag….
I may not know what 2016 will bring- but I know I can always choose to move forward gently… and so can you.
P.S. Even though I missed graduating from business school this year, in reference to my blog of a few weeks ago, I will still be graduating at midnight tonight- tossing my cap in the air and finishing my ‘learning the hard way’ studies once and for all! Join me if you are ready to leave your old lessons behind