December 31st, 2018
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beach candle

If it is dark outside when I wake up, I will light a candle, close my eyes and slowly gather my thoughts before the day gets away from me.

There is something about the quiet of the morning that I cherish.  The day is still fresh and lighting a candle in the dark fills me with hope.

It fills me with the notion that today is full of possibilities and I can feel whole and valued.

It reinforces the idea that yesterday is past and today is a fresh start.

It is uplifting to feel the warmth and light from the candle as it creates an atmosphere of calm.

Finding calm is not something I take for granted.  We live in unpredictable times and sometimes it feels as though our sensibilities and values are being jerked around, creating feelings of stress and vulnerability that are hard to shake.

Today, on the last day of 2018, as the calendar moves us towards the beginning of a New Year, we yearn for better times.

I hold on to the idea that each of us in our own way can make a difference for good in our communities and then in the world at large.

Some days I begin the day overflowing with creativity and super positive feelings ready to take on whatever comes my way.  And then too much, way too much, comes my way and it falls apart.

I fail.  My cranky energy takes over and my good intentions don’t last more than the morning.

But then I have to remind myself that it’s okay.  We all fail.  And then we begin again.

Maybe this time we tackle things differently, maybe a little slower, breaking it down so it’s not so overwhelming.

I try to remember that feeling of hope and promise I felt at the beginning of the day and then push forward, striving to improve.

Busy schedules probably became busier during the holidays and I think at this point we should all give ourselves a pat on the back for handling the preparations, the conversations and the celebrations.

It’s a tricky but important time of the year.  Lots of people, lots of parties, lots of food, lots of fun but also lots of emotions.

Personally, I feel I need all the help I can get to navigate all the emotional ups and downs of the season: memories triggered by seasonal music, chock a block decorations everywhere and holiday traditions that remind me of people no longer in my life.

It’s a lot.

The holiday season can be challenging and that is why I try to use my mornings to take a moment to pray for grace, strength and flexibility.  All of us need time to recharge our batteries.  Practicing self-care is investing in yourself.  Taking a walk, listening to relaxing music or keeping a journal are all activities that help you lose track of time and help you work through negative emotions.

I have learned the hard way that if I don’t try to take some time for myself that I will end up totally frazzled and stressed out.  That’s not a good thing for me or for the people around me.

Yes, I will have problems and yes, there will be pain but that is the way life goes.  Wallowing in our problems or our pain will keep us stuck.  We have to seek solutions by confronting what is going on.  We need to focus on the good things in our lives.  We need to take care of ourselves so we can grow and become resilient.

Let’s join together and embrace the New Year.  It has been a roller coaster of a year for me and I’m sure you have stories to tell about what happened to you in 2018.

I wish you, your families and friends buckets of happiness, health, peace and most of all, love.

Happy New Year!

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