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When we turned the corner from 2020 to 2021, many people seemed to expect something miraculous to happen, glad to turn our backs on "the worst year ever" and looking forward to a new, improved year.
We are now one chapter into a twelve-chapter book and how do you think it's going?
January was not an easy month, with Covid numbers climbing, a violent insurrection in the U.S. Capitol, and a promising vaccine rollout hitting some pretty big bumps. Yet, I remain hopeful and optimistic for the future, despite it all.
I made good on two intentions during the month.
First, I decided to go dry. No wine for the whole month. Now, I'm not a big drinker, but I do like a glass with dinner once or twice a week. I thought I needed to test my discipline. It turned out to be harder than I thought.
To begin with, there was some leftover champagne from New Year's Eve that I could have used in a mimosa and didn't. Then, there was the celebration of a friend's 80th birthday; so I was the designated driver. This was followed by the very scary day when our nation's capital was attacked -- and I had a cup of chamomile tea. I did want to toast the new administration on Inauguration Day, and I didn't do that either. OK, it got easier after that because I was more than half-way through the month. I found the thing I missed most was a glass of wine while cooking...who knew?
At any rate, the practice of discipline was important for me. A wise person once told me you live your life either practicing discipline or experiencing regret. Food for thought, isn't it? And recently, I heard Super Coach Mel Robbins describe the need for building simple disciplines into your life. It's because motivation comes and goes, and it's not always there when you need it -- isn't that profound? So, dry January was a test of my discipline -- and I feel good about passing the test!
My second intention was to participate in a month of Mindful Morning Meditations, offered by Insight Timer, one of the apps I use regularly for guided meditation. Each day, a different guide shared his or her typical morning routine, followed by several moments of meditation. Some of the guides were regular teachers on the app and others were well known celebrities for whom meditation is an important ritual. I enjoyed hearing all the different ways people greet each new day.
And I realized I also have a morning ritual. I start the day with gratitude for three specific things: another day to live, love, laugh, and learn (my mantra); for my health and well-being; and for the people I am fortunate to have in my life, especially my husband.
Next comes meditation - anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes, depending on how much time I have. Since the lockdown started, I have actually increased my committed time for meditation -- it has been a great coping mechanism. I usually light some scented candles, adding to the sensual experience.
Some form of movement is next on the agenda; on two days, a session with my trainer; on other days, swimming or walking outdoors. When walking, I'm either listening to a podcast or audiobook, or I'm experiencing the wonder and awe that nature provides and taking photos.
Breakfast with the love of my life is the last part of my morning ritual before my workday begins. And, with all that behind me, I find myself able to face the day with energy and intention.
So, with one month down, I'm feeling excited about what the rest of the year will bring.
And I set some new intentions for February. One is to read and listen to books by authors of color to honor Black History Month, to celebrate diversity and to value our differences. This is a ritual I've practiced for many years and have discovered some really talented writers. I always look forward to my February reading and listening.
My second intention is to face each day with more love, compassion and patience toward myself and others. It is, after all, the month of Valentine's Day and I've decided that, this year, one day just isn't enough. I'm not quite sure what this will look like or what the experience will teach me, but I will let you know!
And now that I’ve shared my accomplishments for January, and my morning ritual, I’d love to hear yours! And, I hope to inspire you – and challenge you – to set some intentions for February and share those. If you need some help, please let me know.
Sending loving kindess your way.