Today is the eve of the Longest Night. Tomorrow we welcome the return of the light.
As we welcome this return we often take a look back at the past year. I often do this, more time on my birthday, but the longest night is another good place for this task.
When I review my year, I look at how am I different from the previous year. I mark my successes and the places where I’ve grown. Resolutions are overrated as I’ve stated in this post from last year. Goals are difficult also but I believe there are areas where we can look to see our triumphs and failures, and look at areas we may have room to grow.
This past year has been one of tremendous change for me and I have found five different areas that encompass the whole of my life. The following five areas are basic needs for every person and this is a good idea to look at each of these areas for ourselves:
Physical – In the early part of the year, I was practicing yoga on a regular basis. For months I haven’t attended classes. In the coming year, I plan to return to my regularly scheduled yoga classes. I have discovered that physical doesn’t mean some heavy-duty exercise regiment. It is movement plain and simple. Yoga does that for me.
Cognitive – I believe that when we stop learning our brains atrophy. For the past year, I have read several non-fiction books and discovered new fiction writers. TED talks is another “discovery” I’ve found. Anything that enhances your knowledge and thoughts is a positive thing.
Emotional – Okay, this is the hard one. Accepting emotions, all of them, not just the “good” ones, is a struggle. It is hard not to label emotions bad or good but accepting them just as they are without judgement takes patience and discipline. Writing morning pages helps me as does yoga. Finding your thing is important both for yourself, and for those around you.
Social – Sometimes social is easy. Connecting with people is the easy part. Finding people who feed you and not bring you down is the hard part. I have a difficult time not isolating myself because it is easy. Even the times I have to force myself to be social are important, I often surprise myself with how pleasant it is. It’s a lesson.
Spiritual – We are spiritual beings regardless of our beliefs, however, we need to cultivate our spirituality. Are there areas where you want to see change in this area of your life? My spirituality is a greatly neglected area and I intend to grow and explore my beliefs in the new year.
Many of these areas overlap. For instance, my yoga class is physical and it helps with my emotions. Spirituality and social needs can be met in the yoga class too. Meeting with fellow writers can help my social and cognitive needs.
It does take some creativity to meet each of these needs but taking care of ourselves is important.
Acknowledging the longest night and use the darkness to shed light on the corners of our lives is the greatest gift you can give yourself.