2021…we all thought we’d seen the worst of the pandemic by the time this year rolled around didn’t we?
And to some extent we had…but 2021 has not been an easy ride, with restrictions continuing way longer than any of us imagined, more cancelled plans, disrupted lives, and uncertainty a constant feature of our day-to-day experience.
The impact of the pandemic will have been different for each of us. But even for those of us who have been relatively unscathed by the worst of its effects, the chronic level of stress, uncertainty and anxiety we are still living through is unprecedented in our lifetimes.
What were the brightest moments of 2021 for you? For me, like many of us I suspect, it’s been the things we always used to take for granted – opportunities to meet face-to-face with friends and family, hugs, and the ability to celebrate special occasions together and cry on each other’s shoulders.
2021 for me was the culmination and aftermath of several years of significant and difficult life events. It’s been a lot to deal with. And when I think of the word that sums up my year…it’s got to be “healing”. I’m certainly not healed…there’s a way to go…but I’m so much further down that road than I was 12 months ago. And that is not just because of the passage of time, but because of intentional decision making about how I use my time, resources and energy.
I was learning a little about Ayurvedic principles recently and about the importance of digestion for wellbeing. But digestion in Ayurvedic terms does not just mean how we digest food, but also how we digest life and our experiences. To be well, we need to process both our food and our experiences, absorb all the available nourishment, and let go of what is not needed. So it’s interesting that this year I have had support from a somatic therapist, a coach, and a nutritionist for a holistic body-mind approach to healing, with a focus on both emotional and physical digestion. This support has sat alongside my yoga and meditation practice, rest, time with family, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, being in the great outdoors, time to myself, and a healthy dose of Netflix. I have also found it helpful to mark the passage of time through little ceremonies, celebrations and observations to help me notice my progress as I navigate life changes and difficult experiences.
Healing also continues to be a theme in my yoga teaching – my clients tend to come to me for support with healing in one way or another and I feel so lucky to be working with them in this way. Supporting people in their healing journey can mean giving long-term support for a gradual return to health and vitality, helping people to recognise what they need on any given day, finding ways to make yoga accessible to each person, or helping someone to live with physical limitations with a little more ease.
In the spirit of ceremony as we transition between years, taking time to reflect on the past year can help us to learn from our experiences, feel gratitude for what has been, and mark the passage of time so it doesn’t feel so much like time is disappearing into a black hole. So, why not take some time to process and digest your experience of 2021 – absorb what you can and let go of the rest. This creates space for something new as the new year rolls on through and we welcome 2022.
As you create this space for the new year, see what word or theme present itself as a guide for the year ahead. You can read about different ways to do this in my posts from previous years, but there is no single set way – you could sit quietly in meditation and see what floats into your awareness, but equally you could just wake up on any day in January and pick a word. Notice how it feels in your body when you imagine stepping into that word. Then keep coming back to it as you navigate the experiences of 2022 and as you make decisions both large and small – and see how your theme can shape your year in unexpected ways.
2022 feels like it has the potential for more hope…but all we can do is live moment by moment and see what unfolds.
I wish you health, hope and happiness in 2022 – from my heart to yours,
P.S. For more inspiration and ideas for choosing a theme, here are my previous New Year blog posts: