An ode to starting

…again, over, or at all.

Everything you need is within you. To do whatever it is you need to do, want to do, dream of one day considering to start to do. At every turn, the world wants to have your back. Just do it, they say. Seize the day, they say. Do it for yourself, they say–an overused sentiment in the context of quick affect and insta-worthy mood boosts–but truly, the heart the of the matter–do it for your SELF.

Some part of you–the inner child, the visionary adult, the you that comes out to breathe when no one is looking–is craving this venture, this next step. It wants it for you, and to deny yourself the opportunity to express this need and give your vision an honest shot is censorship. It is lying by omission. It is telling yourself, “My reasons- (which, are for others’ sake, by the way. You know what you want to do)-matter more to me than the essence of who I am, than my individual and unique self’s perception of and response to my time in this world.”

You are worthy. Of your dream. Of your own positive opinion. Of the courage to try. You are enough.

So breathe life into that neglected part of yourself, and begin. Anew, once again, or just for the first time. That part is up to you.

-l.s

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Every Day is a New Year

 

It’s okay to arise groggily from a comforter cave sometime around noon on January 1st, 20AnyYear, without the presence of mind to choose between coffee or tea, much less an infinite array of goals to carry you loftily throughout the next 365 days into the “when I finally get/have/accrue/quit” version of your idealized self.

Besides, you’ve just lived through–and let go of–another calendar year full of bills, celebrations, deadlines, holidays, obligations, victories, and emotional highs and lows. And unless you’re in Hawaii (can I use your guest room?), it’s probably cold outside.

So take a breath. Go back to bed. You have time. Unless you have cats, or small children, which demand food and attention at the same time every morning come rain, shine, or apocalypse.

What I mean is this: there is no magic attached to the arbitrary date of New year’s Day. At any point in time, the Earth has completed a full revolution from where it was relative to the sun a year ago. There are countless moments throughout any day to resolve and begin anew. The only fixed points you are bound to in your life are, essentially, your birth and death. Everything in between in largely up to you, whether you bring it into being or it happens to you and your choice lies in how to react.

Everything you need to make it through another day, or another year–from any point–is already within you. It’s what granted you the opportunity to share this space and time with everything else calling our world home. You don’t need to kickstart 5 goals on your first day back to work while trying to remember to write “2018” instead of “2017” on all your documents until sometime in mid-February. You can, and if that is your process and you want the energy surrounding New Year’s Eve and New year’s Day to propel you into action, then go for it! I’ll get out of your way. (I personally love the fireworks! They dazzle my wonder-seeking heart for all eternity).

But if you’re not sure what goals to set for yourself right now, that’s okay. If you want to give yourself time to ease into things, that’s okay.  You can decide on January 1st, January 13th, or on a random Tuesday at 3 PM that you’re ready. Because you won’t be ready for any change until you decide you are, and it doesn’t have to fit into anybody else’s schedule.

Real change begins the moment you want it to.

Happy New Year.

–l.s

Gratitude When Gratitude Feels Challenging

The season of giving thanks is not always easy. As is the case with several aspects of Western culture, unhealthy emphasis is placed on externalizing emotions during the holiday season, on making sure you feel your joy down to the depths of your consumerist core, as well as making sure everyone around you and on social media knows just how elated you are to be alive.

I am happy. Look how thankful I am. I am glowing with gratitude I will eat as I have never eaten before, I will gift, I will go, I will see, I will do. 

But what about “I will be”? What about the simple, quiet warmth of knowing your place in the world, of knowing yourself, of self-care, of the joy in small moments? Of not forcing joy, but of letting it rise and fall within you from a natural source like every other emotion one experiences? Of simply being?

Problems are borne of perspective, and everyone likely has something to be thankful for. I hope they do. However, the manufactured energy of the holidays–often occurring during the colder parts of the year in the northern hemisphere, when lots of other life winds down, conserves energy, and sleeps–invite stress and often, comparison and wanting. Which are, ironically, the opposites of true thankfulness.This begins early in life with children for whom the holidays are centered around gifts or lack thereof and continues in adulthood, though with different manifestations–time off, money to travel, the state of the home, appearances and financial pressures. In the event that nothing has happened to you or improved for you or that life has taken an unexpected turn and you don’t feel abundantly thankful, what does that mean regarding your ability to be festive?

Don’t force it. It will feel fake, because it is, and like all cheap shit, it won’t last. Despite what the culture tells you, gratitude cannot be measured.

One may posit gratitude as: a cultivation of reflection, of being truly thankful for the rhythm of your life and embracing your natural ups and downs as indicators that you are indeed alive, that you have earned the right to be amongst all things, and that points of pain can be opportunities to deepen your relationship with your self. Not relative to others, because that invalidates feelings the world over, but relative to you. 

So take some time. Feel what you feel. And most of all, thank yourself for it.

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Welcome to Love(dot)Self!

Self-love is a journey. This sentiment has been expressed before, but it is not without merit. The act–the art–of loving oneself is constantly evolving, adapting–it is a practice. Mental and emotional wellness are not a full stop, but a pathway. It is not one I could have found and started down without a little inspiration. It’s a favor I’d like to return. And so, here we are.

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