Stretching for What You Want in 2017

Winter, the darkest time of year, does slowly transform into spring, every year. Daylight grows increasingly more abundant. This year many may be feeling a kind of darkness or heaviness due to social and political issues in the world. There may also be some darkness related to your health or the health of a loved one, by loss or fear and anxiety fueled by uncertainty of what’s next. Darkness and despair are always hard. Perhaps your sense of darkness feels like life is out of sync. You might find yourself longing for… what? A sense of connection, a sense of healing, a sense of passion, a sense of choosing to move actively towards what you want? What do you find helpful when finding your way through the darkness, when stretching toward the light?

“People who are unable to stand within the dark places of life, those who are always running towards their happy places, are the same things as candles without flames. There is no worth in a candle without a flame, and we only add the flame when there is darkness. Without darkness, there would be no need for warriors and angels. Warriors are not made because the whole world is happy and angels were not formed because there are no demons. Be of worth, have a flame.”
- C. JoyBell C.

The start of the new year is often a time of hope, a time of planning, a time for starting anew. Many set intentions in hopes of bettering life, living more healthfully, trying to be the best and feel the best, this new year. To be successful at change, you may find it helpful to first acknowledge where you have been and where you are starting from, so that visualizing your path forward is achievable. Maybe you are feeling strong and empowered and ready to conquer those next steps and are doing so with focus and persistence. Maybe some days you feel this way more than others. Maybe you just feel stuck. Maybe your best days are knowing that you have kept one foot in front of the other and made it through the day with a sense of gratitude. Maybe you struggle to find the positive in your day as you struggle with changes you didn’t ask for and don’t want. Difficult emotions do not have to be denied or brushed away. Inauthentic positivity is not helpful. Acknowledge that these are hard days and hard times. Acknowledge that you are involved in a struggle and are unsure of your next steps but want to stretch toward something that feels better… and then carve a little time to acknowledge and honor your strengths. Think of three things each day that make your life better.

I find that when I am feeling a bit off, or a bit stuck or just downright yucky, it is giving attention to the simple things that help me most. Taking a step back from my worries and my fears and acknowledging the beauty in the orange of the nasturtium flower or the stress release I achieve when fixing delicious and nourishing food. Watching the transitions in nature is something I also find nourishing and yes, helps me to stretch gracefully in my sense of living fully. This summer when I was in the northwest US, I was in awe of the dusk. The length of it! The transitions of color. The amount of light even after the sun had finished the day. I also find dawn magical and lately I have become very aware of how much light there is before the sun rises. Intentionally it seems, my dog likes to be fed early morning, and most days I feel fortunate in being able to take in the changing sky as I place her food outside. I find awe in the transition of the sky from night to day. Sometimes I can still see the moon and some of the stars as the sky shifts from dark to light. I feel a sense of excitement in anticipation of the sunrise from my upstairs window. And yes, sometimes I grow impatient waiting for the sun to actually make it’s way over the mountain! I have realized that this simple ritual helps me to start my day feeling lighter, stronger and more in touch with where I am emotionally. This has been especially helpful of late as I have been in the role of caregiver with a fair amount of uncertainty. I have realized that watching the patterns and majesty in nature helps me to navigate through uncertainty, fear and doubt, and to help remind me to celebrate in this day, as all things shift with time.

Have you thought about transformations you would like to make in your life? Have you already been challenged by following through on those intentions for change?  Have you given yourself the opportunity to acknowledge what you learned last year? What strengths helped you to weather difficult times? What didn’t work so well?  I do believe that we each strive to be the best that we can be. Sometimes these goals meet with the problems of resistance and perfectionism. If you have had the curve ball of cancer thrown your way, setting intentions can be especially challenging if one of the most difficult areas of your life to navigate is uncertainty and fear. Yet do believe in yourself! Believe that you can always stretch towards a life that enriches you, even in very simple ways.

If you find yourself having dark days how might you stretch toward the light? Might you light a candle for hope? Might you light a candle of gratefulness? Might you light your inner light with self-care, with self-love, with compassion? Taking the time to acknowledge what has been challenging and what you have learned from those challenges, taking time to acknowledge what you want more of so that you can figure out the steps that you need to take, taking time to celebrate your strengths and the areas that you want to strengthen, may help you stretch towards the light that illuminates each of your days.

"Hope happens when we set goals, have the tenacity and perseverance to pursue those goals, and believe in our own abilities to act."
- Brene Brown

As we come to the end of the least light filled days of the year, and move towards each day filled with a few more minutes of light, I am hoping for each of you a growing sense of light, emboldened by hope, love, joy, peace, healing and gratefulness. May you find your flame growing brighter each day.

Are you interested in a jump start to successful change in 2017? Do you want help deciding and taking steps toward achievable goals? Do you want to feel better? Do you want to increase the richness in your life? If so, contact me to learn about a special offer available through March.

With love and light,
Liz