Now is the perfect time to renew your New Year’s goals. How are your resolutions coming? I know how it is. We start the year invigorated and resolved. This is the year. The year we will lose weight, the year we will eat healthier, the year we will be a more mindful and present parent. And yet, before January is over, we have fallen short of our intentions so many times that we give up in discouragement.
Recent studies have shown that the more we take the time to reflect on our goals and write them down, the more likely we are to accomplish them.
It dawned on me recently that we are just about half way through the year, the perfect time for a little reflection. It’s a time to regroup and refocus on my dreams and goals. Even if you’ve fallen off track, there are still six glorious months ahead of us. More than one hundred and eighty clean slates left.
In January, I attended a workshop taught by my mentor Anne Mascelli. Annie gave us miniature journals made of Italian papers that she had hand sewn together herself. We wrote our goals and dreams for the year in our little journals, the things we wanted to let go of, as well as an affirmation we created around our goal. All year I have been carrying it around in my purse as a reminder of where I want to be heading.
I just spent the last week at the ocean with family. The ocean feels sacred to me. Maybe it’s simply being five stories high in a condo, but there’s something about the shore that makes me feel closer to the heavens. I feel more connected to loved ones that have gone before me. I simply can’t look at a seagull without thinking of my dear father who died when he was only 49 years old. He loved to feed the gulls french fries and we both shared the bond of being pooped on by them!
The day before we left for our trip, my sea glass locket (which I consider a secret sort of portable altar) arrived in the mail.
This locket is of part of a handmade jewelry collection by Liz Lamoreux. Below are some words from an essay of Liz’s which inspired this collection:
I stand with my toes sinking into the sand with my senses enveloped by the push and the pull of the crashing waves in front of me…
come to the sea to let go of what no longer serves me as I ask her to take pieces of grief and all that will not be out with the tide…imagine all of it tumbling with shell fragments and driftwood until it entwines with the seaweed that sways farther than I can see.
I come to the sea to remember me”…Liz
The past few years have been full of joy watching my daughter grow older, but they have also been years of loss. Loss of loved ones, both living and dead, loss of a beloved grandparent, of a childhood home and of family. There’s also been the struggle of trying to add another addition to our family. I’ve felt out of sync and disconnected from myself.
During the week of my vacation, I pulled out my mini journal to review my progress for the year, my dreams and hopes and losses.
I gathered some seashells and wrote my goals on them, the same ones I wrote in my journal in January.
I also wrote down “all the pieces of grief and all that will not be” on more shells and scooped them into my pocket.
Early on the last morning of our trip, I made a solitary walk down to the ocean. I sank my feet into the sand, letting the cool water wash over my toes. Clutching my altar locket that was hanging around my neck, I read Liz’s words:
I come to the sea to let go of what no longer serves me…
take the pieces of grief…
and all that will not be…
I come to the sea to remember me…
I tossed the shells into the ocean and watched them wash away. The sound of the waves roared like the beat of a drum in my ears. I felt a lightening of the weight on my shoulders, a renewed sense of hope.
There is a reason people have been drawn to water for thousands of years. Although I was raised Catholic, it’s all holy water to me.
On my walk back, tears filled my eyes for all of the loss of the last year and a half. With my vision blurred, I almost walked straight into a seagull that was right in front of my path. That seagull walked with me the whole way back to the boardwalk, reminding me we are not as alone as we think we are.
What were your New Years goals and dreams? Whatever your progress has been so far, don’t give up! Remember what Maria Rainer Rilke said in Letters to a Young Poet:
Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.
Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers. -Rainer Maria Rilke
I encourage you to time today for a mid-year renewal of your goals. To help you, I’ve designed a free printable for your ritual with Liz’s beautiful essay on it. Even if you don’t live near the ocean, plan a visit to a creek or pond. Another option would be to write your intentions on a piece of paper and release them into a bonfire.
This is your best year yet. One step at a time, one choice at a time, you CAN do this! I believe in you.
May you one day wake to find you are living in the answers.