“If your mind carries a heavy burden of past, you will experience more of the same. The past perpetuates itself through lack of presence. The quality of your consciousness at this moment shapes the future.” Eckhart Tolle
When I look back at 2016, a word that seemed to paint the year best was ‘heavy’. I carried a heaviness from my husband’s heart attack on my shoulders, my head and my heart. At times it felt as if I was wearing a cloak of lead that I could not shake. No matter how many times I tried to take steps forward and into the light, this heavy cloak would pull me back into my abyss of worry.
My mind was constantly wandering and worrying. Instead of enjoying an impromptu living room dance party with my kids, I would start thinking of my laundry waiting to be folded, phone call/text needing to be returned, really everything I needed to do other than enjoy that moment of joy with my children. My patience grew thin and my voice became louder and heavier. I was not the mother or wife I felt I should have been. Even thinking about these things makes my shoulders slump forward and my stomach tighten. I can feel the cloak of worry returning, however I am using mindfulness and my 2017 theme to keep those feelings of heaviness at bay.
The word ‘light’ is the theme I am manifesting and working towards in the new year. Just simply saying the word ‘light’ a few times in a row makes me feel better and lighter (try it! See if it does the same for you. It may be a placebo effect for me haha!!).
When I say ‘light’ I think of a lot of areas in my life where I want to achieve this lightness.
Physical heaviness in terms of clutter: I want to shed the heavy cloak and in order to do so, I need to purge quite a bit. I need to remove the physical clutter in my house. If there are less toys, less clothes, less STUFF…I will be picking up less, washing less, organizing less. I will have more time freed up and less to worry about.
Mental heaviness: I also need to purge the negativity that is in my mind. A lot of the negativity comes from my need for perfection. By letting go of this need and negative self-talk I realize that I am enough. I make mistakes (a lot of them!) and that is OKAY! Accepting this shows my children that we do not expect them (nor do we want them) to be perfect. Nothing feels as freeing as my letting go of this expectation I had of myself. I had no idea how much it was weighing me down.
External distractions: Distractions tend to make those feelings of heaviness reappear. An ill-timed distraction throws off my practices in consciousness and presence. Since the end of last year I have been working on minimizing distractions by tuning out television, phone and social media. When we are home, we usually turn on music and I put my phone on silent. It is an ongoing goal to minimize my own screen time. While I love scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, it isn’t conducive to my working on being more present. I try to check my phone or go online during times when I am alone. Not only has this made me feel lighter, but it has improved the behavior of my children. They do not feel like they are competing for my attention when my phone rings or alerts to a text.
Lighter tone: One of the negative aspects I have noticed with these heavy feelings is that my tone has become heavier, louder, more harsh. My patience has worn thin and my words have grown thick. The people that bore the brunt of this were my husband and children. Every day, I am working on softening my tone and fattening up my patience. This has been the toughest of challenges for me, but I am determined to lighten my tone with the ones I love.
Spread the light: My goal for the year is to spread the light and love as much as I can to people I know and to strangers. It takes very little to spread kindness and yet makes such a huge difference in the world. This is probably my favorite focus for the year as my children are watching and learning. I hope that they will spread the light at the park, in the classrooms and beyond.
In order to achieve this lightness, I am making some changes that are long overdue. I hope to share more of my journey with you as the year progresses. What is your word for 2017?