So it is officially a new year for me now. The school holidays are over and since I am a teacher, the first day school is open after Christmas is what I consider ‘the new year.’
I don’t know about you but I am filled with leftover feelings of the past, excitement about the present and hope for the future.
I feel torn about my leftover feelings of the past year, as if they were a plate of leftovers in the fridge; still able to be consumed but really past their appetizing appeal and needing to be composted, fed to the dog or thrown out. Many of these feelings center around family traditions, as well as transitioning to not living in the same city as my grown children in addition to changing how we celebrate Christmas. As of this morning, am discarding the leftovers which are no longer providing the sustenance I need.
At the same time I feel stirred with excitement from deep inside me. I have read many self-help books over the past few years, listened to all kinds of lecturers and motivational speakers and taken in my fair share of CBC Radio talk shows. From these resources I have found a list of great ideas that I believe will enhance mine and other’s days. Some of these ideas the I am going to embrace follow.
From the One Sheepish Girl blog I got the idea to keep a ‘happy moments jar.’ Like ‘sheepish girl’ I am going to keep a jar that I drop little notes in as I experience particular moments that bring me joy throughout the year. At year’s end I will empty the jar and read through the joyful memories and celebrate them as the year closes.
From CBC Radio I am adopting a practice from a caller, who said she keeps a jar which she contributes a dollar a day to. At the end of the year she takes the money and distributes to charities or causes of her choice. What I great idea. I have challenged myself and my partner to each contribute a dollar a day. Already, I am excited about how we can use the money to help food banks and charities in our community.This pleases me and fits in with my ‘support local’ mantra.
From a book I read, Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow, by Karen Casey, I am practicing ‘change’ one minute at a time. I am learning to accept that change is up to me and I can always choose. I relate this to the Christian principle that God has given us ‘free will’ and we can choose to listen to the voice inside that embodies our spiritual nature or we can listen to the ego. The ego is much easier to hear I have discovered but I am going to practice being still so I am able to quiet that loud voice (ego) and hear the gentle voice of God.
Also, from the same book I have learned that change is a gradual process that we can choose the pace of. Giving myself the option of changing my mind one moment or one day at a time seems manageable. It also seems realistic to recognize that at first I will not always choose change and will resist at times. This book helped me to accept that resistance is ok too, and that change is never comfortable to us at first. Just as comfy slippers that are worn and tattered are hard to discard when the soles are still good, so too are habits that are not necessarily beneficial, hard to give up. Its all ok.
From many of my readings and studies in the past year I have begun a gratefulness journal. In this I try to add something each day that I can choose to be grateful for. Listed is everything from a warm, creamy cup of coffee in the morning to the blessing of my three gorgeous, amazing children. In the back of this same journal I have created a Worry List where I write down everything I am worried about or see as a problem. Following that I state the problem or issue, jot down a lesson or opportunity that could come from the problem and then list an action that I think may alleviate the problem. After that I leave the worries and issues on the page and more times than not, when I look back at the list, the problems have resolved themselves and the worries have dissolved.
Finally, at the start of this new year I feel a desire to ‘get clean.’ This includes more than my feelings and emotions and so as is normal for me, I look to the kitchen when needing to work something out. For the month of January I have decided that eating from an Asian perspective is going to feel clean for my body. No more heavy eggnog, mashed potatoes, decadent desserts or heavy fare. I feel the need to lighten up and have chosen to look to the East for my inspiration. I pulled two of my favourite cookbooks off the shelf and will wander through them to find recipes to make.
When I rummaged through my freezer this morning for some frozen mangos I noticed that the contents of the freezer included many packages of pesto and grape juice that I stored away in August and September so I think I will make February ‘Italian’ month, based on my need to eat from the freezer and what we have stored in the pantry. Who knows, maybe I will create a monthly theme throughout the year?
Finally, I have been wearing a Fit Bit for the past week and I love it. It tracks your steps in a day, your sleep cycles, active minutes per day and distance walked. I have not been come obsessive or compulsive about it but I really enjoy knowing how far I have walked in a day and have set a small goal of achieving between 10,000 to 15,000 steps each day depending on what other activities I do each day. I have discovered that dancing causes you take a lot of steps as does a few short walks to the woods or to the mail each day. It is all just fun and a pleasant way to be more active.
- After beginning the year with a Mexican feast shared with family and friends, I have now embarked on my Asian epicurian journey and look forward to sharing recipes and daily experiences here on my blog.