Our little family headed to the beach on New Year’s Eve. The night before, we were lying in bed trying to figure out what we should do the next day to celebrate, and one very clear thought came to me:
“I want to go to the ocean tomorrow.”
So the next morning we bundled up, grabbed some coffee and headed for our favorite beach. Walked its length. Watched the waves swell and crash. Filled our lungs with the salty air. And simply recharged our souls for a little while.
Is it possible that the sea helps me to think more clearly? Because whenever I’m there, I get a sense that some of my own barriers fall away, and it’s almost as though I have a clearer connection to myself, and the The Universe, and to God (in whatever limited way that I have come to understand him). So the beach felt as though it would be the best spot for us to do some reflecting on the year behind us, and also to set some intentions for the coming year.
I know that 2016 has been an incredibly challenging year for lots of people — whether it be on a global or political level, or in a way that hits much closer to home. Personally, I have been (and continue to be!) just massively disgusted, demoralized and more than a little frightened by our current political state. But on a personal level, I had it pretty good this year – despite the usual ups and downs, I have absolutely no reason no complain about 2016.
That said, I spent some time at the beach that day asking for a bit of help in letting go of some of my old burdens. I thought about the big issues that continue to dig at me on an emotional level – mostly, the fear of not being good enough, and the fear of being forgotten or abandoned – and asked for guidance in learning how to turn down their frequency and volume in my head.
I also thought about my intentions for the coming year and some of the things I want to achieve. The ‘practical’ list required very little thought:
- Become a certified personal trainer
- Continue classes toward my MBA
- Do more coaching, facilitation and presenting than I did in 2016
- Work on building better relationships (with friends, family, and coworkers)
Those things were all in my head already, and they’re awesome, and I believe they’re achievable. But they also felt a bit, well … shallow. I kept digging.
And I just kept coming back to one thought, one feeling, one word.
I want more love. I want to share more love. I want my life to be about love, and I want my thoughts, words and actions to come from a place of love. I want to express love without fear or shame.
And most of all, I want to be a light in the world for the people I love.
That’s the root of everything else for me. It’s why I want to serve, and teach, and coach, and train – it’s why I want everything that I do to be about helping people to be their best and to do their best, and to live their truth, and to know that they are loved and valued and important. And that they deserve it.
Does this become quite personal for me? Yup. Does it come from a past in which I often felt unloved, unvalued, and unimportant? Probably. Is it reflective of my ongoing fight to treat myself with as much love as I aim to treat others? You bet it is.
So my intention for 2017 is simple: More Love. More love to help myself release some of my own burdens, and more love to help me achieve my goals that will ultimately help others.
What does more love look like?
It’s reaching out to a friend first, without worrying about who last contacted whom and without keeping score.
It’s assuming the best about others in situations where I might otherwise tell myself stories like “they don’t care about you” or “you are not wanted here.”
It’s making the time to listen when someone’s going through a tough time, and to ask thoughtful questions, and to remember, and to check-in.
It’s signing up for those last few MBA courses that I’ve been avoiding out of fear.
It’s about taking ownership of problems and solutions, rather than waiting or assuming that someone else will do so.
It’s about using what I’ve learned about health and fitness to help friends and clients to get in shape, or to achieve other specific goals (and about figuring out whether they need gentle encouragement or to get their asses beaten in order to get there).
It’s about jumping into my own awkward zone with teaching, presenting, and facilitating, with the assumption that the audiences will be open and receptive, and that I do, indeed, have something of value to offer.
It’s about sending more letters and thank-you notes. It’s about calling my Mom more.
It’s as simple as that.