Where Do We Begin?
Looking ahead at 2022, I’m a bit starry-eyed. Not only am I unsure how this new year will unfold, but I am also uncertain how I want to proceed during these upcoming months. Where should I place my focus—on nutrition, fitness, mindfulness? Or is it best to put all my energy toward relationships, writing, and marketing my books?
While facing a new year can be daunting, there seems to be something different about 2022. Unsure as to the reason why, I feel as though the next twelve months will offer a unique perspective on life, and subsequently, new opportunities for growth and love. In no way am I suspecting a year of ease and tranquility. Quite the opposite—I see an empty canvas, waiting for each of us to create our masterpiece as we evolve into higher versions of ourselves.
Not a big fan of New Year resolutions, this year I’ve decided to conduct a self-audit. Instead of stating what I will or won’t do, I’m going to look at all of my stuff—not just the physical items I own, but also the intangibles—and decide what to keep and what to let go.
Perhaps I’ll start by going through my closets, determining whether these clothing, accessories, and belongings still work for me or if they’d be better suited for another. Then I’ll move to the kitchen pantry, not only inspecting expiration dates, but also evaluating whether or not these items will nourish us or deplete our energy. If we say we want to eliminate sugars and processed foods, then having those items in our pantry is not in alignment with our thoughts. Of course, I’ll keep a few treats, but overall, I plan to toss the unhealthy stuff.
Then, after our physical house is in order, I’ll reflect on habits and practices. Am I getting enough sleep, or am I staying up late to watch TV? How is my morning routine working? Are the Ayurvedic practices I’ve incorporated still beneficial in the colder weather? Am I truly present when I meditate, or am I merely going through the motions, allowing my mind to drift to the day’s “to do’s”? I want to explore what must be tweaked, added, or deleted. In essence, I plan to fine-tune all routines.
Next, I’ll think about physical activities. Do I walk as much as I’d like to, or do I opt to stay inside when the weather is less than ideal? How can better be in nature during the winter months? Am I consistent with my yoga practices? Do I show up on my mat open to the lessons that may present, or do I push myself harder than necessary, trying to make it a workout and avoiding the true work? And, what about my workouts—are they effective, efficient, and fun? If not, why not? What needs to change?
Of course, these are the easy things to audit. The fact is, I’ve done a lot of the above most of my life. But this year, the goal is to go deeper, dig into what really matters.
How am I spending my time?
Who am I spending my time with?
What thoughts occupy my mind?
How do my thoughts impact my body?
Am I present?
Am I compassionate?
Do I listen?
Do I react, or do I respond?
Donating clothing, tossing uneaten holiday cookies, and committing to a morning routine isn’t that big of a deal. However, when we pause to examine the motivation which influences our actions and thoughts, the work becomes real and gritty as we discover characteristics and tendencies we prefer did not exist. Yet it is in this space of self-reflection that true growth occurs.
But where do we begin?
Unlike foraging through closets and kitchen cabinets, this process requires extended time, solitude, and a gentle approach. It’s not necessary to scrub ourselves until we’re clean and shiny. Rather, this is more of a purposeful dusting meant to uncover what is beneath our thoughts and actions. Understanding our reasons for why we say, think, and act empowers us to make lasting changes and evolve into our higher selves.
When I began my self-audit, I found NUMEROUS areas for growth. In fact, trying to accomplish everything in one year would be impossible. So instead of attempting to achieve results or eliminate behaviors I am focusing on enhancing, improving, reducing, and increasing specific thoughts, habits, and actions. In no way am I expecting perfection, nor am I hoping to fix qualities I don’t like. This year, I’m trying to accept who I am and then consciously make better choices to raise my vibration and become more aligned to my higher self. Baby steps.
Of course, in no way will I attain this ideal version of myself in 2022. But I can make strides, choose to become a stronger, healthier, kinder, and wiser human. I can increase my tolerance, practice patience, create more space in my heart, and offer greater acceptance for others as well as myself. I can be better, but this requires I look within and see myself as I truly am, not as I wish I were.
Going within and witnessing who we are is challenging. Some people tend to dismiss their shortcomings, only focusing on the more stellar traits. Yet, others do the exact opposite, ignoring their shining qualities as they home in on disappointing aspects. It’s important to remember that as humans we possess both dark and light qualities. However, we have the power to transform our shadows, allowing grace, love, and gratitude to prevail.
Maybe you, too, will choose to complete a self-audit this year. If so, remember to be gentle with yourself as you uncover what’s beneath your surface. Look at what is with compassion and care. Choose your areas of focus and make the desired shifts.
As 2021 has taught us, we cannot control the world around us. However, we can illuminate our shadows, tweak our habits, and elevate our thoughts, allowing our higher selves to show up with presence, love, and awareness. May we each better understand our motivations, grow in glorious ways, and shine our light during this new year!