For someone in the “Transformation Business” you’d think I would love all the new year energy and re-invention buzz. Surely it’s the perfect time to sell someone on being a whole new version of themselves and what better way to accomplish that than by working with me, buying my program, my product – ta-dah!. Maybe I’m the worst business person ever but frankly I’m not into that, like at all.
I like to take January pretty s-l-o-w. Many’s the time I’ve gone at it all gung-ho with oodles of “this time it’ll be different” energy. I’d get off the starting blocks at breakneck speed only to realize that I was in fact on an ultra-marathon course and was going to hit the wall at like mile six. F-uuu-ck! My Januarys were the lived embodiment of conditional worth:
- If I lose 10lbs, I’ll be enough
- If I take this new course then I’ll accomplish X,Y,Z and therefore be enough
- If I train every single day then I will be the strongest fastest, leanest, version of me (yay!) and then obviously be enough
- If I get up at 5am, meditate, run outside for at least 30 minutes, journal, read my goals, oops forgot about the ice bath, walk in the woods (sorry “forest bathe”), become a vegan and whatever else is on the current list of Shoulds then I’m be enough – I mean bloody exhausted, but somehow enough, right?
Hustle Culture Is Toxic
So these days I ignore the hype of hustle culture and instead bring clear intention to this transition. I just do a few small things to signal the transition. I clear out my physical space a little, letting go of any old clothes that are cluttering my closet. I audit my paperwork and yes, I do check in on my overarching life intentions and what goals will serve them over the coming year.
I set an intention for how I want to feel in this transition time and that is peaceful. I am no longer on a mission to fix myself. I think there’s a big difference between the energy of accessing more of your potential and the energy of fixing yourself and making yourself better.
The first is positively charged with a sense of:
I wonder what’s possible for me. I’m curious, open and ready to expand into more of who I truly am
The second is charged with a lot of “not good enough” energy:
I will prove to myself and others that I can do and hence be these things and I will be unrelenting in my self-discipline and have rules and rituals that I must follow to ensure this happens, finally!
Which feels more attractive and compelling to you? What energy do you feel would support you over the long term?
I’m with Option One. Personally I think Option Two is an attempt to sprint an ultra and good luck to you if that’s your choice, but I’m not signing up for that.
How Do I Slow Down?
So what does my s-l-o-w January look like? Well, it involves a lot of writing as I’m immersed in book number two and also, somewhat unusually, it involves a lot of silence. This part, I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about. As part of my own on-going journey of personal growth and development, I made a decision last year to deepen my learning and train as a mindfulness and meditation teacher. Now there are lots of places you can train for this but I like to be very thorough and train with the best.
I have chosen to take a two-year journey (s-l-o-w!) under the master guidance of Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. You have to apply for the training and there are a number of prerequisites. The most challenging of the prerequisites is a seven-day silent retreat. I was accepted to the program in the Fall of last year and scheduled my retreat for late January.
Talk about s-l-o-w! I will have no access to any of my typical distractors; no email, no social media, and no Netflix. What’s a girl to do without access to her favorite K-Drama shows I ask you?! Meditate and be mindful is the answer I suspect.
It will be a solo retreat as it’s a virtual retreat. Initially I was going to move out and head up to beautiful Taos, but the accommodation I’d hoped for was not available. The back-up plan is now in place. My husband is going to take the kids to my mother-in-law’s house for the week. This is a fact my children are not yet aware of. That may be an interesting conversation in the coming days.
“Noble Silence” – It’s a strange prospect to contemplate and yet I’m excited to take this opportunity and this next step inward. The more I learn, the more work I do with myself and others, the more I have come to recognize that the deep inner work is where the treasure truly lies.
It has seemed counterintuitive to me to slow down when I want to make progress. All the cultural signals I receive are that I must work harder, faster, and god dammit just do more, and more, and endlessly more.
It feels somewhat rebellious to turn away from that.
I choose something else and it will start with noble silence.
All of this was born from a deep intention that I want to experience more peace and power in my life. So this “rebel” will go silent from the evening of January 22nd for 7 days . Then I will re-emerge and share some insights with you. Whatever January looks like for you I wish you peace, courage and self-compassion on your path ahead.
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