As we near the start of the new year and reflect on this last year, I think it’s easy for most of us to say, 2020 was a big year!
So much has happened both collectively out in the world, and individually.
2020 was a big year for unexpected challenges, change, loss, grief, uncertainty, transformation and adaptation.
What were the biggest challenges for you this year?
- Loss of income, your business or livelihood.
- Isolation from family and friends.
- Fear and uncertainty of what’s to come.
- Loss of your familiar sense of connection.
- Not being able to see each other’s smile.
Or maybe it’s a little of all? Or a lot of everything!
These are just a few possible examples of things you might have gone through, but there could have been many other things for you.
It’s ok if you went through phases of incredible stress, anxiety, depression, anger or overwhelm in response to everything that happened throughout 2020… and it’s quite possible you’re still going through it now. Change can be uncomfortable.
While we’re all faced with unexpected challenges throughout our life at various times, 2020 might feel like a lifetime of challenges was concentrated into one year.
Please remember, you’re not alone!
While the stress and emotions that often come with challenge and change can make you feel isolated and alone, much of humanity has also been going through it with you.
There’s a powerful opportunity right now, to take a moment and give a thought to all the other people who have been struggling in their own way this last year.
This is not to discount your own struggles. It’s a simple practice in connecting with your heart, by empathizing with your fellow humans and feeling the underlying togetherness we share… and as a by-product, it might just help you change your relationship to what you might call your struggles.
As we come close to the new year and take some time to reflect. How do feel you managed to navigate 2020?
Was it stressful for you?
Did you adapt smoothly?
Did you adapt resistantly and painfully?
What did you learn?
Where did you grow?
Are you holding resentment and anger towards the unexpected changes that were forced upon you?
Are them some areas of your life where you grew? Areas of growth that might not have happened if the events of 2020 didn’t happen?
Sometimes we don’t understand the silver linings during the time of stressful change until later when we look back. The wisdom of hindsight can do wonders for bringing some peace to our heart and mind when we reflect on what we’ve been through and where we are now.
We have a broader perspective to put our life events into context.
Stepping into 2021
Going forward into the New Year, it’s likely that 2021 is going to be another year of uncertainty. But uncertainty doesn’t have to mean “bad”. Uncertain just means we don’t know what will come.
The unknown can be scary but it’s also a place of incredible possibilities.
So, how do we ensure we can be in an open and receptive state of mind to these incredible possibilities, and not be consumed by fear of the unknown?
Stillness and heart.
When we have more stillness inside us, we don’t get caught up in the emotional reactions, stories and dramas and of life. Stillness gives us an inner foundation of stability… and stability brings clarity.
As opposed to the expression: Overthinking is the art of creating problems that don’t exist.
Imagine a perfectly still lake. You can see a perfectly clear reflection of the surrounding landscapes. The stillness of the water brings stability to the reflection, providing a clear vision of the landscapes.
If the water loses its stillness, it also loses its clarity. There’s no stability for the reflection and we lose the clear vision of the surrounding landscapes.
The same principle it true for our mind. The turbulence of the water is a metaphor for the turbulence of our mind. If you take a moment now to reflect on times when your mind has been turbulent, you’ll recognize it’s much harder to be open to new possibilities… right?
When our mind is turbulent, it’s easy to create problems that don’t exist – complicating our life by creating more stress and anxiety.
Stillness brings stability and clarity to our mind. It helps us see new opportunities and possibilities with clarity… which in turn helps us navigate and adapt to the challenging events of our life.
But stillness does even more than bring stability and clarity. When we connect to more stillness inside us, we also connect to our heart in a stable and grounded way. Stillness provides a stable and safe foundation for our heart to express itself into the world.
We need stillness to get in touch with the depth of our heart.
There’s a very intimate relationship between our heart and stillness, because it’s our heart that knows stillness. As we anchor more stillness inside us, we anchor more deeply into our heart.
And the more we connect with our heart, the more we connect to deeper levels of stillness. A virtuous cycle!
So, I say, let’s make 2021 the year of heart!