A New Year, A New Beginning

My Word for 2015

Happy2015I love new beginnings. And what better way to celebrate a new beginning than at New Year’s? The dawn of a new year is a good time for some reflection. We look at the year behind us to examine our regrets and also to make note of the successes. And then we turn hopeful faces toward the year to come. Many of us resolve to make positive changes and set new goals for reaching those outcomes.

We’re like Janus, the ancient Roman god having two heads that face in opposite directions. One head looks back to the year departed, and the other looks forward to the year to come.JanusA couple of years ago, I started picking a word to focus on for the year instead of making resolutions to break. The first word I chose was “enough”—as in, I am enough; I have enough; I do enough. The focus on this simple word throughout the year proved transformative for me because it freed me to love and accept myself just as I am without constantly striving to be more, do more, have more.

The word I centered on last year was “kindness.” I began the year by resolving to ask myself in every situation: “What is the kindest thing I can do or say in this particular moment?” The focus on kindness also changed my life. I discovered the gift of kindness toward others when I show them care is actually a gift to myself. It opened me and enhanced my life. As I dug for information about the practice of kindness, I learned it has roots in every major religion and philosophy in the world. I also learned that science says kindness not only improves physical and mental health, but also increases longevity!

I’d been waiting for a word to surface from my subconscious to claim as my word for 2015. When none came, I realized I’m not finished with “kindness” just yet. That’s why, for 2015, I plan to continue my focus on the word. But this year, I’m extending the essential question to “what is the kindest thing I can do, say or think at this particular moment?” I’m sure the verb I’m adding will present more of a challenge for me.

I find it much easier to control my actions and words than my thoughts. For example, this morning after I’d spread my yoga mat in my usual space, someone immediately unrolled her mat right beside mine. Barely two feet of laminate flooring separated her lime green mat from my fuchsia-hued one! I automatically smiled a welcome in her direction, but the smile belied my thoughts. What is she doing?? I seethed. This studio is virtually empty! She’s so close, I’m likely to deck her during sun salutation. Maybe I should!

But of course, I simply shifted my gear slightly forward and completed the yoga session without incident. And I ended yoga on a shameful note because as I went through the poses, my mind drifted back to my “shadow.” She was probably new to yoga and wasn’t aware of the spacing needs. She may have been looking for a mentor, or at least a friendly face, and I shut her out. A missed opportunity for kindness! I tried to make it up to her with friendly chatter after class.

I can blame my initial reaction on the sugar overload from the holiday eating, or inadequate sleep, or even the bad cold that’s plagued me for days. Any number of things can affect our internal response to the situation at hand on a given day. But what if we’re able to train our minds to see positivity in every situation? Immediately. Not just after a peaceful, restorative yoga practice. Because I want kind thoughts to become my default response in 2015, I’ll monitor my thinking in an effort to keep it kind.

3 thoughts on “A New Year, A New Beginning

  1. candidness Post author

    Jane Carroll December 31, 2014 at 5:05 pm
    I, too set a word intention for the year and am always amazed to see how it filters through all areas of my life. This year mine is truth. I enjoyed your post.

  2. candidness Post author

    Peggy Nolan December 31, 2014 at 7:44 pm
    Hi Candi! Last year my word was worthwhile and boy did it help me focus my time, energy, and attention on things that were worth my time, energy, and attention!

    I took advantage of winter solstice and the new moon to set my intentions for 2015. I released everything that no longer worked or added value to my life (you can read my blog for that) AND my word for 2015 is FREEDOM.

    Freedom from doubt. Freedom from should. Freedom from expectations.

    Happy New Year!

  3. candidness Post author

    Teresa Morrow January 1, 2015 at 12:20 am
    I also have a new word for 2015…mine is CELEBRATE! After my mom passed in June, I have been focusing more on celebrating and embracing the moments in my life. So I wanted to continue that theme onto the new year. Choosing to celebrate the good and not-so-good moments. I’ve found that even in the not-so-good moments, I deepen my understanding of something, find more compassion, learn extended gratitude, discover inner peace or create happiness that I may not have even known was there.


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