Softening Into 2022
I saw a funny meme the other day that said, “Don’t say 2022 is your year. Enter slowly and quietly, and don’t touch anything!” 😄 Last year everyone said good riddance to 2020 with gusto, eager to leave the trying pandemic year behind. 2021 had such promise as a new beginning, only to disappoint with more challenges of a global magnitude. As we enter 2022, tired and wary, we’re again hoping for a new beginning.
But time is linear, not circular; there are technically no beginnings or endings, it just continues. So why are we fixated on this idea of time as cyclical? Why do we focus our energy and attention on the New Year as a time of transformation and change?
I believe the answer lies in our breath! Those of us who have practiced breathwork—paying focused attention to our inhales and exhales as a way to calm our busy minds and bring our focus to the present moment—recognize that within every breath there is a beginning and an ending. There is a beginning to every inhale and there is an end; there is a beginning to every exhale and there is an end. But after each inhale there is a pause before the exhale begins. And after each exhale there is a pause before the inhale begins. That’s where the magic lies!
In that pause there is a stillness where time stops momentarily. It’s as though we’re hovering in mid-air, not moving forward, not moving backward, we’re just still, and our minds are clear, for just a moment.
The New Year is that pause. It’s our moment to hover between our exhale of 2021 and our inhale of 2022. It’s our time to be still, for just a moment, and recognize what we’re carrying in our bodies as we move into our next breath. What feels stale and sour? What feels juicy and ripe?
As we pause at the end of our exhale of 2021, we can take a brief inventory of where we are, without judgement. Just notice. What feels heavy that we’d like to leave behind? What burden are we carrying that we’d like to let go of, or at least lighten a little? What feels exciting, like a tickle in the tummy when we’re anticipating something delightful?
Transitioning to your inhale of 2022, you can begin to shift your attention to the ripe and delicious places in your life where you’d like to focus your attention. That tickle in your tummy at thoughts of delightful things? I call that your Wiggle. It’s a message from your inner-most being letting you know where to focus your attention for the coming year. It's the path out of the heavy and into the light. It will guide you toward the fullest expression of yourself and it will help you guide those around you toward a more uplifting experience in 2022.
Sitting here in the space between 2021 and 2022, we can soften our experience by lingering in the pause, anticipating the life-affirming breath that will enliven us with vitality. We can sit quietly with our Wiggles, trusting them to lead the way. Then we can enter 2022 softly, and with a smile.
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