Tiny Steps toward Your Best New Year

“And now we welcome the new year.  Full of things that have never been.” –Rainer Maria Rilke

I love the thought of a new year, especially on December 31st, when I think of all I will accomplish now that the calendar page has turned.  Like many perfectionists (read borderline OCDs), however, if I don’t have a clean start on January 1st, I’d might as well forget it, or wait for another “clean start” at the six month point on June 1st, or even the following year.  But at this point of my life, I realize that I don’t have full years or even six month increments to waste waiting for a “clean start” that is nothing more than another unrealistic expectation keeping me from growing and changing in the ways I want to grow and change.

So yes, though I love the thought of a new year, I usually think in terms of a deficiency, another year gone and look at what I haven’t done. But today I am thinking of all the ways my life has changed  over the past twelve months. Think of it. How have you changed in thoughts, attitudes, an actions in the last year?  Hopefully the start of 2018 finds you in a place of positive change and of growth, but if not, no pressure.  Accepting where you are at the start could be the first gift you give yourself this year, and the first step toward a better year ahead.

And what of resolutions? One of my plans was to start publishing something, anything, every Monday morning.  Coincidentally, January 1st was a Monday… talk about a “clean start”!  What could be more perfect?

Notice what day it is?  Today is Friday, January 5th, and there’s no poetry or symmetry in that!  But one of my resolutions is to just work hard toward my goals each day.  I may have a lot of time or a little, but something is always better than nothing.

So with a year ahead “full of things that have never been,” I am going with the mantra of “something is better than nothing.”  By taking the tiniest of steps over the last year, I have found myself in a strong and truly happy place.  Where will more intentional, though possibly just as tiny, steps take me this year?  Where will they take you?

 

Five Lessons Learned in the Garden

Last year I moved into a new home.  As part of making it my own, I had several new flowerbeds dug, and this spring has been the time to fill them… a job I recently finished.  While I spent a lot of time and money on my garden this spring, it has all been worth it.  I love taking care of the plants, keeping the beds neat and weed-free, and trying to orchestrate the effects of which plants bloom when and where.  In turn, I am rewarded with a beautiful palette of colorful blooms (I hope) from spring into fall, and with the numerous lessons that gardening teaches each every day.  Here are five I will take with me this growing season:

  • “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”  –Audrey Hepburn     So often we don’t readily see or recognize the fruits of our efforts.  Gardening teaches us to be patient, to wait for the signs of new growth as plants take root and begin to thrive.  We learn that in time, our patience and care will pay off bountifully.
  • “The grass is greenest where you water it.” — Neil Barringham     Pay attention to your garden and care for it regularly, and it will grow lush and beautiful… as will your relationships and every area of your life.  It is as simple and as difficult as that.
  • “If you don’t like the way things are, change it!  You are not a tree.”   –Jim Rohn  One thing I’ve learned from gardening is that nothing is permanent.  Plants, like people  can be moved to a place that’s best for them and where they will thrive.  A garden is a great place to experiment and take risks, and so is life.
  • “Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”  –A.A. Milne    I tend to yank out plants I don’t recognize, but every so often I am surprised by something that I think is a weed, but is kind of pretty in a way, and I let it go, only to find out later that it is a flower I just didn’t know.  The problems we have often seem like weeds because we don’t recognize them as valuable, and we want to get rid of them as quickly as possible.  It is only later later that we realize just what they’ve contributed to our lives.
  • “Bloom where you are planted.”  — St. Francis de Sales   I am always amazed at how tenacious some plants are, defying all odds and growing from a crack in the sidewalk, under the shade of huge tree, or in the rockiest soil.  What an example for us… to take what we have been given and grow with it!

Today a New Sun Rises…

“Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.”            –Anne de Lenclos in Chicken Soup for the Women’s Soul

One thing I love about collecting quotes is that when I don’t have just the right words for something, someone else usually does.

Today I ran across this quote and these words captured the good mood I was in this morning, the energy I felt starting this new week, and that freshness you feel on a beautiful spring day when it is just good to be alive!

But these words went beyond just that simple, though very nice, feeling. This quote spoke to me today because it illustrates perfectly the hope that comes anytime we realize how infinite in possibility the universe is, and how infinite in possibility we are, too.

Today the sun rose for me, and it rose for you, too.  What is simpler and yet more profound than that?

Today, in honor of the sun rising and the many passions that make life a pretty wonderful journey, I begin.

Tomorrow the sun will rise again for me, and for you. It will also rise on days when we feel less cheerful and optimistic, when we feel unloved and unappreciated, scared for the future or unequipped to deal with daily challenges.  But when I am invited to cherish my passions, I am also invited to cherish myself.  And so are you.  Imperfect, but enough, you and your passions, and me and mine, are exactly what this universe needs.  And that reminds me of another of my favorite quotes:

“How cool is it that the same God that created mountains and oceans and galaxies looked at you and decided that the world needed one of  you, too.”        –Anonymous