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#NewYearGoals

Updated: Jan 9

Hello!


Wow, the first week of 2021 has been a bit of a doozy. With another national lockdown here in the U.K. which means schools are closed, I, like millions of parents across the country (and around the world), are grappling with homeschooling. And for a mother of a kid who is super outgoing, who loves seeing his buddies, who is excited about going to school every day, and who soaks up knowledge like a sponge, this is tough. I mean I’m not the most creative person (arts and crafts are not a strong suit), nor am I the most patient person (and that’s putting it lightly), this is a challenge. But I’m willing to ingest the medicine I often prescribe in The Citrine Room--which is to take each moment as it comes and not put the pressure on myself to be perfect. Being perfect or striving to be perfect is a theme that often comes up this time of year--to make resolutions, to change something about ourselves, to be more productive, to not "waste" time, to, invariably, want this year to be the year when we become the best version of ourselves. Unfortunately for so many of us, that definition of "best version" often means decrying the current version. As if who we are right now isn't good enough. With the countless 'New Year Diets', 'New Year Exercises', gym memberships (although this year it's more of an online subscription to classes), and 'mindful' approaches to how we should be this year, it's all a bit much. If you know me, you know I am all for our continuous journey to self-awareness. I am constantly espousing the benefits of asking ourselves the questions that delve into why we are the way we are and being courageous in finding the answers that will help us move past our baggage and trauma in order for us to truly live the life that will bring us more joy than sadness. But that doesn't happen in a month, 6 months, or even a year. I am still in the early stages of that part of my evolution. I didn't even start asking those questions of myself until I was in my mid 30s. I am now in that place in my life where I see that if it wasn't for the frustrations, the anger, the disillusionment, the feelings of being a failure, the habitual "wrong"choices, I would never have reached a point where I felt I had to take back control of my life and stop asking why were things happening to me and start asking what was doing to keep bringing the chaos into my life. Now that I am approaching my late 40s, I am getting more comfortable with myself, I am able to see my patterns, and I have solid boundaries around me--something that was always very porous before. It is when we accept that all our experiences, the challenging and the easy, are signposts, crumbs on the ground, notches on trees, as we walk through life, when we begin to understand that there are no quick fixes; that we shouldn't be about negating who we were or have been. We instead, begin seeing those parts of ourselves as weights we could use to build a stronger being. And it takes time. Just as we don't get in shape (the best shape for us that is) overnight, just as it takes commitment and sometimes gruelling moments, it all takes time. And when we truly accept that there are no quick fixes, we are kinder to ourselves, we celebrate the mini wins--whether it's going out for a run on a cold snowy day when we would rather be in bed or in front of the tv, or whether it is choosing to do a 10 minute yoga class as opposed to the usual 60 minutes, or even recognising when someone's hurtful words are more about them than they are about us. It's as the amazing women who were featured in Cosmpolitan's January issue who all are part of the "body neutrality movement" where they focus more on what our body can do rather than how it looks. They've all been through the emotional ringer and have come out the other side kinder. To themselves. Accepting that "wellness isn't one size fits all." Having body neutrality is a powerful way to be. After all, how we see our bodies, how we treat our bodies is how we see and treat ourselves in all other areas of our life. Whenever I am down on myself, I remind myself that my body is designed to hold me up, literally, figuratively, and spiritually. My body is an amazing machine in which its inner workings was designed to heal itself if we give it the best chance possible. And that means treating it with respect, care, love, and kindness. I remind myself of the times my body helped me achieve so many things from enduring a 90 minute hot yoga class 3 times a week to doing something incredibly natural but miraculous at the same time--creating life. I sometimes feel so weighted down by that guilt for not performing at my optimum level every single day in every facet of my life--whether it is as a mother, a wife, a daughter, as a professional, or even just as a person. But what this first week of 2021 has taught me is that the guilt should only be allowed in for a take away coffee, not a full meal. Accept that feeling and then move on. Breathe it in and then let it go. Because frankly, that guilt is toxic. It's what diet and exercise industries feed off on. Our guilt for not being better, for not looking a certain way, for not being good enough, for not being enough. One of my favourite writers, Iain S. Thomas writes, "You are allowed to feel everything you feel. This sounds obvious but many of us have been told we’re not allowed to feel the things we’re feel. We’re not allowed to get angry when bad things happen, or sad when sad things happen, or for some of us, even happy when things are good. The sooner you allow yourself the space and the acceptance to feel whatever it is you need to, the sooner it will pass and you can move on something else. The longer you fight it, the longer you will fight. The world is a bit crazy right now. Make it easier on yourself by giving yourself permission to deal with it however you need to." I believe our job in this life is to keep learning about ourselves. It isn't naval gazing, it's understanding who we are. When we understand who we are and the effort it takes to keep moving forward, we have more compassion for ourselves. And when we have more compassion for ourselves, we have more compassion for others. I was pleased to see that Self Magazine is taking this approach to redefining how they as an organisation looks at wellness and in turn how they will then be approaching that topic in their stories. As the Editor in Chief Carolyn Kylstra writes, "SELF is redefining wellness. Because the truth is that even when it comes to our physical and emotional health, we often don’t allow for the fact that being healthy looks different for different people. And because wellness also means looking past ourselves...Because we’re all connected and we’re all in this together, yes, of course. But also because you can’t outrun poisonous air or dirty water. No amount of meditation will help if you can’t afford your medication. And there’s no point in counting your macros when you don’t know when your next meal is going to be—to name just a few examples." We have had a challenging time the past 10 months. Every one of us (well, except Jeff Bezos but that's a whole other blog post for another time). The news isn't great (from America with the attack on the US Capitol, India with the government's unjust farming laws resulting in the largest protest in the world, and so on..). From extended lockdowns, new variants of the virus, politics, injustice, you name it. What has helped me so far is being in nature, having an outlet that also helps me focus which is my yoga, and reading intelligent, beautifully written stories and articles (some of which you will find this week in #Repost). These expand the way I think, bring me perspective. After all, isn't that what helps us put one foot in front of the other--perspective? So please do keep that in mind whenever you feel that pressure or guilt creeping up for being who you are, for not being what someone else expects you to be. Every part of us has value and should be recognised as an important part of our journey. What we may feel is a flaw, is actually a unique opportunity to accept, grow, and love ourself. So if you have goals this year by all means please remember to keep in mind you're not starting from scratch. You're bringing along with you all that have you have already learned about yourself and that counts for something. You're not a person that needs to be fixed. You're a person who is ready to grow further into your true self. As I told my 5 year old this morning as we practiced his handwriting: there will be good days and some not so good days. As long as we did our best, and that means the best as defined by us, challenged ourselves a little bit every day, or alternatively, listened to our bodies and gave it what it needs (and that could be rest and nourishment), then it's all good (she tells herself after a frustrating morning trying to teach her child addition & subtraction). Monita xo

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