Wishing You A Wholehearted New Year!
I’m going to break from the traditional Happy New Year salutation this year and, instead, wish you a Wholehearted New Year! Why? Because life is not about being forever happy, it is about becoming more whole.
Of course I want you to be happy too, but I believe that it’s just not realistic to think that we can feel happy all the time, much less for an entire year. The number of books on happiness crowding bookstore shelves and bestseller lists and the growing reliance on substances to dull ‘unhappy’ emotions reflects our cultural obsession with happiness. We’ve been told to believe that living in a state of perpetual happiness is a standard we should aspire to. More so, that if we’re not feeling happy then either we’re clearly doing something wrong, or someone else is. Neither is true. Both do us a profound disservice and leave us victims of what I see as a ‘happiness illusion.’
Don’t get me wrong. I love feeling happy and enjoy moments of happiness on a regular basis. But we human beings live along a spectrum of emotions as diverse as all the shades in a rainbow. To wish only to feel ‘happy’ would be to deprive us of the full human experience, living only on a very superficial level, and unable to infuse the tapestry of our lives with the contrasts of human experience that make it truly meaningful.
Wholehearted living is ultimately about opening your arms wide to life and to love; it’s diving deeply into life rather than sitting safely by the edge watching it pass by. It’s making yourself vulnerable to what you fear knowing that only when you dare to brave the possibility of loss and heartache, disappointment and failure, rejection and falling short, that you can ever savour the richness of joy and connection, accomplishment and genuine intimacy.
So as you think about all that you aspire to achieve, change and manage in the year ahead, I invite you to invest a few minutes to reflect on the questions below. I also encourage you to write or print them out and put them somewhere you will see them often over 2014. While your answers may overlap or change over time, they will always call forth your courage and invite you to live your best – and most wholehearted – life.
- If I wasn’t afraid of what anyone thought – whether of criticism or rejection or losing face – what would I do differently in 2014?
- Where do I need to risk the possibility of failing, looking foolish or falling short in order to create a future that truly inspires me?
- If I decided to trust in myself, that whatever happened, I could handle it, what changes would I make and what chances would I take?
- Where is sticking with the status quo – choosing the path of least resistance and greatest emotional safety – holding me back in my work, love or life?
- If I was being the (add your own adjectives here… e.g. loving, generous, brave, kind, passionate… ) person I aspire to be in the world, what would I start doing and what would I stop doing?
The word courage comes from the French ‘cor’ meaning heart. So as I wish you a Wholehearted New Year, I also wish you a year ahead in which engage more courageously in conversation with those around you, trade the safety of your comfort zone for something more important, and to focus your time and talents on what inspires you, rather than on what scares you.
You have everything you need inside you to live wholeheartedly every day of the year ahead (and far beyond!). I wish you just that.