It’s so interesting returning to a life on the West Coast to become one of the last people in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve. On social media I can jump on and watch everyone else celebrating at midnight, while I’m still getting ready, cracking open my first beer, and waiting for my turn.
Every year Mr. H and I have a tradition of doing a play-by-play of the year together, going through each memorable month to explore all that happened. It’s always fascinating to see what we can remember, what stands out in our minds—an unforgettable sunset on the Oregon coast, the ups and downs of our jobs, that time we learned something about ourselves that changed us forever.
I’ve never been a huge New Year’s Eve fan, often dismissing going out to avoid amateur night. This year was an exception, as we were able to share it with a group of wonderful friends, who were all in the same boat as us—without plans, but wanting to get out of the house to do something chill and grown-up.
A couple of our friends own Muse Wine Bar, a magnificent spot around the corner from where we live. After many hours of yummy conversation and wine, we stumbled and laughed all the way home, proud of ourselves for braving the night.
It was worth it to bring in the new year with a great group of people. It helped us erase those earlier NYE attempts, the disappointing ones with questionable company and cheap champagne at midnight.
You can listen to the countdown and glasses clinking like crazy by pressing play…
As the year comes to an end, I never doubt its significance. Looking back at the year with Mr. H is one part of that, and looking forward with a positive intention is another.
Most of you know that I am not into resolutions, but I create a sankalpa instead. While resolutions can carry a negative vibe (lose weight, don’t drink, etc.), a sankalpa is more about purpose.
The past two years I have shared my sankalpa on the blog. In a way it’s a public profession, and it has helped me remember to stick with it throughout the year. Unlike resolutions that can be quickly forgotten, a sankalpa tends to stay with you because it’s deeper—it’s intentional.
2014 was “To Love More” and 2015 was “To Simply Enjoy.”
Quite literally I faced my sankalpa in the reflection of a window this summer. It was painted on a wall inside an empty art gallery by my office. There is a lovely irony to it, with the man walking with his smartphone in the background while I snap a selfie.
So, my intention in 2016 is to “Live Consciously.” This may be one of my most challenging sankalpas to date, but I believe it is a crucial one for me, and well…most of us.
Living consciously is difficult in our society. Multi-tasking and distractions are the norm, just being is not.
I struggle with it as much as anyone. Hell, I’m a Content Manager at a marketing agency and a blogger/author when I’m not at work. If anyone’s digitally bound and gagged, it’s this girl.
I am very aware of the perilous nature of living life behind a screen. This is why I have stepped back quite a bit with my author platform this past year.
- I took the entire summer off from blogging, because I needed the time to write my first draft and enjoy the sunshine.
- I stopped worrying about keeping up with too many blogs and only focusing on a small group of writers I cherish.
- I don’t spend as much time on my social media channels anymore, so I can shut down the digital madness in the evenings and relax.
- I chose not to get down on myself for not working on my novel a weekend here or there, as it isn’t necessary to try to win a race against myself.
Have I sacrificed the “growth” of my blog, social media channels, and book sales by making this decision? Depends on how you look at it. From a numbers standpoint, yes my growth has slowed. But numbers have never been important to me, relationships have. This past year I continued to deepen relationships with others and myself, and that’s all the growth I really need.
I’m devouring a fantastic book right now, which I highly recommend to anyone, whether you are into Yoga or not. It’s called A Life Worth Breathing by Max Strom.
In the opening of the first chapter, he hit it right on the nail:
We live in a unique time in history, both promising and ominous. As technologies continue to develop at an unbelievably increasing speed, it seems mankind is not maturing nearly fast enough to adapt. And so we find ourselves in a global crisis. Billions of people now covet the industrial world’s wealth and are replicating its system of modern consumerism as rapidly as possible. But what they are ignoring, perilously so, is the fact that as materially well off as the West is, we are also chronically living what Henry David Thoreau coined “a life of quiet desperation.”
Though Strom starts with a jarring intro, interestingly what follows is his point that there has been an upsurge in people embarking on self-examination over the past decade—exploring Yoga, meditation, and reflection. He says that Yoga may be one of the great rays of hope for our future…and, I totally agree with him.
I got a jumpstart on my 2016 intention by reconnecting with Yoga and meditation, incorporating educational and spiritual books into my predominately fiction repertoire, falling in love with all of it again.
But it’s a new kind of love, with a deeper understanding focused on being present, returning to the student mindset. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve practiced a pose or rolled out my mat over the past 10 years, I’m pretending that each time is the first time.
If Yoga isn’t your thing, living consciously can translate into so many other parts of your life. I can relate this to writing very easily.
Yes, it’s important for me to continue pursuing my creative dreams. However as any author knows, writing a book means shutting yourself off from the real world, and unfortunately, that means disconnecting from people around you.
So, I try to time my writing when Mr. H is busy with something else, because I don’t want to sacrifice the little time we have together. That also means, saying to hell with it some weekends to get out of the house and live. For me, that’s all part of living consciously…absorbing everything fully, with intention.
On New Year’s Eve, I woke up and decided I wanted to throw out a request on social to gather up sankalpas to include in this blog post. Why? To start 2016 on a positive note as a community.
A rather small community responded, and perhaps others did not want their intentions listed on a blog, because it was too personal of an ask.
So, thank you to the five ladies who responded to me on Facebook and Twitter for being open to sharing their sankalpas. I love that two of the five had the same name…
Bring more play opportunities to kidlets! – Karen
Prioritize work, play, creativity, love, and laughter equally. – Letizia
Express creativity! – Courtnay
Learn to love myself. – Laura
Not only will I open myself to more opportunities, I intend to CREATE them! – Karin
Thank you all for continuing to share delicious slices of life with me. I wish you all an insanely beautiful 2016!
P.S. If you’d like to leave your sankalpa in the comment section, you are absolutely welcome to go for it.