Monday’s Meditation: On Why You’re Exempt From January Stress

January 9, 2017

Got new year's stress? Give this a read (if not for the punch line, alone!).

Despite the blank slate that is supposedly a new year, there’s a harried, frenetic tone in the air. Do you feel it, too?

Resolutions and intentions are spoken, take flight, and then whirr through the air like helicopters from the trees.

The magazines feature headlines about how to be the new and improved you, though now, at least, they’re cloaked in a more holistic packaging (a happy sign of the times).

People are beginning new routines; they’re setting their alarms earlier and staying at the office later; they’re days into fitness programs, and they’re already tracking their progress on the march toward the fulfillment of their goals for 2017.

Everyone is busy buzzing. Reflecting on what just was. Labeling their mistakes and missteps. Vowing to be better.

Counterintuitively, all this talk about positive improvement can create an atmosphere that’s ripe for comparison. And nothing cripples us more than comparing ourselves to others.

It can be tempting to overhear another’s goals and feel anxiety about the ones you have for yourself. It can be all too easy to be swayed by outside forces, to feel as though you’re already falling behind, or to take on commitments that aren’t true priorities. The awareness that everyone around you seems to be invested at changing themselves and their lives can be unsettling, even for those who are masters at consistency.

Except, like everyone else, you are imbued with the entire universe: celestial bodies and ocean currents and the melting snow. Like the world, you are governed by an internal, natural rhythm, one that intuitively knows when the time is ripe for change, where you are on your path, and what a full life looks like for you.

If the wisdom of your authentic self–the one that exists beyond obligation and fear and self-consciousness–is urging you to place stakes in 2017, to aim far and wide and name right now the spot you intend to reach, by all means, join in.

If the cultural practice of shaping our lives according to the calendar year for whatever reason isn’t speaking to you, well, today I get to be the one that reminds you of this good news: this isn’t acting; you don’t have to do it on cue.



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