“Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do”
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I love the fresh start a new year offers. And for me, there is no better place to start the new year than by the sea. I find clarity at the water’s edge that only the combination of saltwater and sand seems to bring, and it’s, therefore, no surprise that my inspiration for this new year, and for this month’s topic, NEXT, was born in the salty waters of the Indian Ocean.
My family and I are incredibly blessed to live close to the ocean, and a lot of summer evenings are spent eating dinner on a blanket in the sand, watching the sun kiss the sea in the west. The colours are always changing and always surprising, and some days I’m sure that every shade is distinguishable in its momentary glow.
But have you ever taken a moment to turn around and face in the other direction, to face away from the sunset? To drink in the colours and the textures of the landscape behind you; the spinifex intertwined with dried seagrass, the shadows of the dunes- to see how the softening colours of last light touch everything in a completely different way than at any other time of day?
And have you ever taken a moment to close your eyes, still your heart, plant your bare feet in the sand, and to focus on simply being, right where you find yourself? To me, this scene provides the perfect formula for how I hope to enter into a new year, for how I hope to face twenty-eighteen, and for how I embrace all that comes NEXT. Because as I gaze into the unknown of what lies ahead, I recognise that NEXT should never exist without context.
A new year, a new phase, a new role or responsibility, a new commitment, should never be embarked upon without considering what’s behind us- the baggage we carry, the light and the joy, and the pain that might shape who we are today. And we shouldn’t be moving on to what comes next without considering where our past leaves us today, at this moment.
Have we dealt with past hurts enough to learn to love again?
Do we have enough compassion and forgiveness for ourselves, to step up into a new role that includes loving and forgiving others?
Are our bodies and minds physically strong enough to be signing up to that restrictive diet or strenuous exercise routine?
New Year’s resolutions can be motivating and inspiring, but they can also be generic and unspecific, causing us to heap unrealistic expectations onto our already heaped plates. And you probably don’t need me to tell you that these are the resolutions that aren’t sustainable, and won’t be sustained throughout a new year.
So this year, whatever your NEXT looks like, I encourage you, first of all, to be kind to yourself. Make it a part of your NEXT to really get to know who you are- what has shaped you, what has grown you, and where that leaves you today. Look upon the beauty of the horizon at sunset, in all its wonder and colour, and then turn around.
Look at the shape and the texture of the landscape around you; feel the wind against your skin and the earth beneath your feet. And only then, step with confidence and joy into what is to come, and it will embrace you- for it is where you were headed all along.
I live in the Perth hills, so when I turn around from the sunset on the horizon with its orange glow, I see the textured orange brick wall of the front of my house glowing bright from the orange sun around the shadow of my son sitting on my hip. I point it out to my little Dean and we wave to animate the visual aesthetics of our home passed down to us by my mother and his Grandma… whom we miss dearly and remember her love for her family and friends.