How do you feel about resolutions? I like to choose a theme on New Years Day instead, to guide me through and shape the year ahead.
I find this tradition so much more fulfilling and positive and the typical New Years resolutions that often stem from a sense of not being good enough.
However, unusually, I struggled to find my theme for 2018. I think I chose “appreciation” but it didn’t quite feel right. Instead my theme found me sometime in the first few months of the year as life threw some significant things my way: “this too shall pass”.
- Before January came to a close, our much-loved and doted-upon cat, Arthur, suddenly developed pancreatitis and passed away.
- At the beginning of March, my dad passed away from heart failure just weeks before his first grandchild was due to be born.
- At 38 weeks pregnant we made the long journey from Surrey to West Wales for the funeral (hospital bag and car seat in tow, just in case), with the rest of my dear family rallying round to enable me to be there to say goodbye.
- And in early April my daughter arrived in the world (albeit in a pretty difficult fashion) bringing some much needed light to a rough start to the year.
- Then came the “fourth trimester” transition to motherhood, with all the wonder, exhaustion, love, and anxiety that entails, alongside the physical recovery from pregnancy and giving birth.
So let’s just say the first few months of 2018 were a maelstrom of emotions, light and dark, loss and love.
As I settled into motherhood, each day was different – fun, exhausting, exasperating, wonderful, scary, impossible, cosy, lonely, joyful, calm, the best, and the worst. Through it all my daughter was growing and changing so fast. And with each growth spurt and developmental leap there was both excitement and loss: excitement at watching her become herself, and loss of the babyhood stages that had gone before.
“This too shall pass” became my mantra. Reminding me that the difficult days will pass. But so will the good ones. Reminding me to hold my loved ones close. Reminding me to be present, as much as I can, for these moments, days, weeks and months at home with my little one in the knowledge that these times will pass in the blink of an eye.
“The days are long but the years are short”, as they say.
Yoga-wise I started the year by squeezing in two wonderfully nourishing and inspiring trainings before my baby’s arrival: a 2-day Yoga Nidra immersion with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, and a 5-day training on Yoga for Anxiety and Depression with Lisa Kaley-Isley. And pregnancy yoga and hypnobirthing classes provided much needed relaxation in the final few months of my pregnancy.
Otherwise, my yoga practice has been there in the background for me this year. Taking short opportunities for asana practice, being present, letting my breath help me heal, and being mindful of the beauty of nature every day. And remembering that this phase of my yoga practice is what it needs to be for now (slow, modified, mainly floor-based)…and this too shall pass as my practice continues to evolve. Meanwhile, teaching my dear private clients again over the last few months has been a pleasure, supporting them to find more ease in body and mind.
As the year comes to a close after celebrating our first Christmas with our daughter…and without my Dad…I wonder what the new year will bring. I know it will include a return to work and new adventures in parenthood, and hope it will include a house move, and a bit more yoga. And I wonder what theme will arise to guide me through it all.
If you’d like to try choosing a theme for your year I’d suggest taking some time on New Year’s Day to see what words or phrases emerge. Try not to overthink it, just trust that whatever comes up is there for a reason. And then keep bringing your theme to mind whenever you have decisions to make, challenges to overcome or new experiences to navigate, and see how it might guide you.
For more ideas about how choosing a theme for your year, see my previous New Years posts:
Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year and the strength to move through any difficulties that come your way.