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Jumpstart January: The Pilgrimage to Self

Happy Blessed New Year to all my precious people!!

We are in the middle of January, the coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and just past the first New Moon (January 11) of 2024. This is the deep yin of Winter, when Nature shows us the ancient patterns and cycles of the Earth.  It is a time of quiet, a time of repose, a season of reflection and incubation.  Nature is gathering up resources, from the soil, from our dreams, from the inspiration of conversations, or music, or poetry.  We are in the midst of opportunities – to shed what no longer serves us, to lean into the callings of our heart and soul. 

The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus, who is symbolic of beginnings and endings, of passages, and is well known as the protector of gates and doorways. In many artistic depictions of Janus, he is portrayed as having two faces, one looking into the past while the other seeks the future. The derivation of the name is so appropriate as the month of January separates the end and beginning of the year.  

The start of a new year typically begins with so many of us vowing to make changes, whether it be exercising more, eating better, or resolving to change our unsupportive habits.  While we work toward these resolutions for the first few weeks or months of the year, it’s often hard to continue them the whole year through without feeling the guilt of failure or some other negativity creeping in. Instead, consider this:  a new year of getting to know your SELF better.  When was the last time you revisited the dreams you had when you were younger? When was the last time you took yourself on a date?  When was the last time you gazed at your reflection in the mirror and smiled, saying I LOVE YOU out loud, and with compassion?  Instead of tying yourself down to a conventional resolution, approach the next 365 days from a new angle.

Take some time to sit quietly. Reflect on all of the comings and goings of 2023. What did you participate in that you’d like to do more of this year? What would you like to see from a new perspective? Write down two or three words that resonate with you. Choose words that lift and guide you, such as adventure, creativity, friendship, or follow-through. My favorite word for 2024 is SURRENDER, and it is not at all about giving up. Some common synonyms of surrender are abandon, relinquish, resign, waive, and yield. While all these words mean “to give up completely,” surrender implies a giving up after a struggle to retain or resist.  Surrender reminds me to be part of the river of life, to go with the flow, to have faith that the Universe is working on my behalf. And in less than 30 days, we will be entering the Year of the Wood Dragon, which promises to be filled with change and opportunity.  More about that next week!!!

‘Turas’ (tur-ahs) in Irish means ‘journey’, but it’s imbued with layers of meaning that resonate deeply with us. In Irish culture, a ‘turas’ is more than travel; it’s a pilgrimage, a voyage that weaves together the physical and spiritual realms. It’s about transformative experiences, self-discovery, and a profound bond with not only the land and its ancient mythology, but the ancestors who lived on that land and whose DNA we share.  The word captures the essence of setting intentions, pursuing meaningful paths, and nurturing growth. It is another way to change the angle of our vision – not only what we are reflecting upon, but also what we are looking forward to.  Consider undertaking your own ‘turas’ for the year of 2024, shift your perspective from DOING to BEING and see what happens!!  Spark some of your passions and create from your heart.

Speaking about passion, the podcast episode from the Good Life Project is all about jumpstarting your January with PASSION.  A lot of people think that passion is going to be thunderbolt moments, but instead it is all about that feeling only you can identify – when you get excited or super interested in something – and your gut says YES. 

In the podcast, Jonathan Fields interviews positive psychology expert Dan Lerner and author Elizabeth Gilbert as they debunk false beliefs about finding your one true passion, reveal the science behind harmonious vs. obsessive pursuits, and explore why curiosity offers a healthier path than waiting for a thunderbolt moment.

You’ll hear insights on embracing gradual interest development, balancing multiple passions, and how small steps unlock hidden joys. Whether you feel devoid of passion or obsessed to an unhealthy degree, you’ll gain actionable ways to uncover meaningful pursuits, avoid burnout, and integrate more vibrance into everyday life. And just for fun and insights, check out this free survey that can offer a deeper dive into your specific character strengths:  VIA Institute on Character.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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