Long time, no see!*
Traditionally, we all want to make big sweeping changes in January. Out with the old, in with the new–so you toss out all the pasta and the cookies and resolve to work out four times a week and walk 500 miles per month. Anyone who belongs to a gym dreads the January crowds and endures, knowing everything will be back to normal by February at the latest.
One of my spiritual teachers is a Native American healer who advised us to observe nature and follow the wisdom of the natural cycles. In winter, the daylight hours are short, which means we should be sleeping more, resting more, storing up energy for the coming spring. Because of that natural cycle, it’s quite difficult to actually make big sweeping changes in January. We want to rest, and we should rest.
This was never an easy thing for me to hear. I’m a resolutions kind of gal–make plans, set goals, work hard, that’s me. I like having lists and goals and direction. But I do believe in the wisdom of nature. I do believe in the wisdom of the body and the cycles of the year, and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how to make small, easy changes. Here are a few I’ve come up with for myself.
1. Sleep more, just until spring. I’m going to aim for a whopping ten hours, because I’ve noticed that my joints feel better, my skin looks clearer, and I’m much more productive when I actually sleep that much. It’s a lot, I know. In America, that’s kind of a lazy amount of sleeping, but I don’t care. My body likes it. In truth, I probably only sleep around 8 1/2 to 9, because I take a book to bed with me and read for a long time before I sleep.
2. Swim more. I keep saying I’m going to blog about my experiences with swimming and haven’t done it. This is another teaser. I like swimming and it has given Christopher Robin impressive muscles in his chest and shoulders. It doesn’t hurt my knees and feet. It makes me sleep like a lazy log. More swimming. Eventually, someday, I’d like to be able to swim a leisurely mile without stopping.
3. Be consistent with my little changes. Consistency was a word that showed up for me at the end of last year, and it’s been helpful. Every long time writer knows that showing up is the real battle, not the actual writing. We learn, early on, to show up and write even when it’s not exactly the thing we’d choose to do right that minute. Same thing with good habits. I might not want to haul myself out in the wind to walk the dog, but I’ve promised myself to be consistent, so I do.
4. Do more of the things I love. We went snowshoeing in Breckenridge last week and I had one of the best days I’ve had in ages (even though I was coughing through my scarf much of the time). I love hiking and snowshoeing and I haven’t been doing enough of them. I’m going to add in a really good hike or snowshoeing day at least once a month, more when summer comes.
5. Be loving toward my tender, lovely body. Feed it as if it were my toddler grandchild–good food, healthy food, nourishing food, and a few little treats. I sometimes give up wine and beer for January or February, and I’m doing that this month. Clean eating and drinking.
That’s it for my resolves for this month. This year, I’m trying something new by taking the seasons one at a time, seeing how it goes, listening, and making the next ones.
Can you come up with a few minor things to try this month? Maybe adding something like sleep or some new sweet habit that makes you feel happy?
*Sorry to be so absent. I was knocked absolutely sideways by a flu that has been very hard to kick, followed by the Christmas joy/madness. Just now getting back on my feet. Promise to be here every other week for the coming season.