Winter is the night of the year, a time to look inward and reflect. As your body turns to itself to recuperate and process while you go to sleep at night, so too should you slow down and allow your mind to process the past year. You can’t go full speed all the time, nor should you. It isn’t a matter of how fast you’re going, the direction you are taking takes precedence. And without a moment to slow down and think, how can you be sure where it is you are going? Take this season as an opportunity to reflect and reconnect with yourself and your values. While you can’t control what happens to you in your life, you can control how you feel about your life. You get to decide what is valuable to you and you can set a course for action for yourself.
We are all on a journey, discover yours and ask yourself: What direction am I going? Am I pleased with the trajectory? Where do I really want to go? What is keeping me from going in the direction I want? What can I do to help myself walk the path I want to take? On any journey, you need a compass and a map. What is your compass? What values and virtues are you striving to follow? What steps along the map do you need to be making so you can follow your compass? While many roads may lead to your desired destination, not all terrain is created equally; what avenue is the path of least resistance for you?
In the darkness and bleakness of winter, it is easy to lose motivation and joy, especially if you are not blessed to have much company you enjoy spending time with. In the absence of light from the outside, the light that comes from within is ever so important. It is precisely this light, this spark of life that attracts community and warmth. In the past, I always yearned for people to spend the holidays with, yet it is only after I discovered the light in my own soul that others could actually see and appreciate me as a person.
Your life is like a fire. To stoke your hearth, you need the right fuel and the right amount; you need enough heat to stay warm. Yet, the flame that burns twice as bright burns only half as long; if you stoke the flames too much, the fire will burn out. Fire needs oxygen, fresh air to burn cleanly: too little oxygen, and the fire will burn in black smoke and suffocate, yet if too much air flows in, you risk that the cool wind blows out the precious flame.
With each passing day on the Advent calendar; as the clock counts down to a new year, think back: Who and what are you most grateful for? Which people and experiences have helped you grow into the person you are today? What traits or actions of your own are you grateful for? As the ball drops on Times Square, reflect on what things you should drop too. What no longer serves you? New growth can occur only with the death of the old; such is the cycle of life.
As the clock strikes 12 and fireworks light up the night sky, let your worries be launched into the air and disintegrated in a colourful burst of jubilation. Let the dancing lights uplift your spirit. Rejoicing at the start of a new year is a powerful symbol, but really, it is never too early nor too late to reflect and make a change for the better. After all, the contemplative season of winter lasts well into February. No matter who or where you are in life, you have the power to transform yourself!
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