Softly, Softly …. into the New Year

Some of you may have started 2022 feeling somewhat weary and even unsure of your resolutions for the year. And that’s ok.

The other day, while out walking the dogs with my dear friend Carolyn, we talked about how we can feel so pressurised to start the New Year with hard resolve and intentions about how we’re going to do things differently. We lean in with have to do’s, should do’s, must do’s, all of which are tinged with a fair dollop of shame.

Is this what we really want to do? Is it what we deserve after these tough last two years that have left many of us feeling more than a little tired and jaded?

Can we agree that we’re not the same people we were two years ago and that maybe the same carrot/stick approach just isn’t going to work this time? We need to recognize, accept and embrace these changes in ourselves.

This isn’t to say that if you’ve started your year with some determination to make positive changes – dry January, start a meditation practice, train for a marathon, whatever it might be, go for it! But I’m wondering if we can choose a path less travelled in our journey to our goals? Can we allow ourselves to move with some softness? I don’t know anyone who isn’t feeling more sensitive and sensitised to the world. We’ve been cocooned in the relative safety of our homes (although it might have felt like a different kind of battle zone at times) but we’ve had less time out there. And this changes us. It changes our neurological pathways. It changes our 70 odd trillion cells.

So what does ‘softness’ actually mean? I’m not talking about giving up, stagnating in apathy and doing nothing but rather, choosing a subtly different mental stance in which we become aware of our patterns of self-talk and shaming and choose whether we want to continue with this pattern of dialogue or whether we’re ready to put the beating stick down. Be kinder and more forgiving to ourselves.

I can’t tell you exactly how to look after yourself but for me the journey has started – mostly because I got a bit of a kick up the backside just before the New Year in which a series of detailed metabolic tests revealed the extent of my tiredness. It’s time to do things differently Nerina! It’s time to be different.

So, I’m exploring softness and what it means to me and I’m learning more about this every day and we’re less than two weeks into 2022! I’m excited as I start to feel the shifts in my energy already. Creativity is starting to stir and I’m feeling some whispers of excitement at the prospect of a trip to see my 85yr old mother in Guyana for the first time in two years. This would normally hold some trepidation for me as I’m essentially visiting a care home for two weeks but I’m going with some softness towards myself and thinking about how this might be a restorative experience rather than a drain as it has been in the past.

I invite you to think about what softness means to you. Maybe you might start by paying attention to the leaned in language of the must do’s, should do’s, have to do’s that immediately catapult you into living life via an adrenaline and cortisol driven sympathetic nervous system. Maybe you might then choose to relax your jaw, drop your shoulders, take a deep breath into your belly, relax your grip on whatever have-to-do you’re holding on to in that moment – and then do what you what you were going to do anyway. But without the perfectionistic, fear fuelled, over-efforting stance that we’ve become so used to operating in.

Time to do life differently.

But softly softly….no need to push.

And maybe you’ll even sleep better too.

Yours in amazing health and energy for 2022 and beyond!

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