At new year, we are offered an opportunity to pause, reflect and look forward. It is a logical time to set intentions, refocus our energies and make some conscious decisions about how we want to live. Like all of us, I was hoping for different but it looks like we will have to hold that hope for a little longer.
2020 gave me a chance to look more closely and travel more slowly. I have seen things that I would usually have missed (or even crushed), oblivious to the beauty in the natural world. This leaf skeleton was sitting in the grass, found as I hunted for mushrooms. As I knelt to take a picture, I felt a sudden coming together of time. The past and future colliding in one moment.
I could see what the leaf had once been, remnants clinging to the outer edges and looking through the intricate lacework of veins, I could imagine how it will collapse and become part of the earth. And in this one moment, it was standing erect and resolute, providing a window to gaze through.
I have lost count of the plans I have made, remade and cancelled in the past months. There have been times of sadness, disappointment and frustration. I bring all those things with me into the coming year in the knowledge that they pass. I have become better at noticing when I am about to lose perspective, and at reminding myself that I have much to be grateful for.
It is thanks to our evolution that we tend to focus on what is dangerous and frightening - after all, this awareness helps us to survive. However, living in a perpetual state of vigilance and fear is exhausting and anything we can do to focus our attention on what is good and joyful is helpful.
I don't "do" New Year's Resolutions, having decided that the 'shoulds' became critical and unhelpful. My aim is to have a gentler approach, with an intention to be kind, and to look for the possibilities offered by pausing and taking stock. I have asked myself what I want more of and what is important to me so that I can come back to them when I wander off track.
What are you letting go from the past and keeping in the present? What sort of future are you looking for?