For this New Year, I wish you good health and happiness in all ways … and just the right balance between the easy groove of old habits and the invigorating excitement of new experiments!
It was certainly a very interesting experience, the longest I have had to face since I moved to the Laurentians seven and a half years ago. I enjoyed the sense of adventure, and I had some brilliant and some not so bright ideas about how to deal with the various challenges along the way. I also realized just how much time and energy are spent on the essentials of life when we have to make do without the creature comforts that we usually take for granted.
So here is what occurs to me in reflecting about this experience: we don’t really need emergency situations to take us out of our usual habits, and we might want to consider which ones really serve us well before we get back into them. Routines certainly make our lives easier, and they create a comfortable predictability. But they also restrict and limit us in the range of what we do. For example, we reach out more to others than we usually do in emergency situations, both to help and to ask for help. Isn’t that a good thing? Wouldn’t we do well to continue doing so a bit more than we tend to do under more ‘normal’ circumstances?
And how about being a bit more adventurous in general, just to introduce some unusual colors into our more habitual everyday color scheme? How about taking a gentle yoga class if you’re the tough gym type, or doing a creative arts activity if you’re the practical type, and vice versa? How about going to bed early if you’re a late night bird, or getting up early if you tend to sleep in? The gift of extra-ordinary – that is, out of the ordinary – situations is the unusual things they introduce us to, and this can stimulate us in all sorts of new ways.
Life is a balancing act between too much and not enough stimulation. Too much of it is taxing and tiring, not enough leads to stagnation. For most of us, especially as we grow older and more set in our habits, going stale is the more likely danger! So it could be very helpful to offer ourselves some new challenges. Not because we have to, but because we’ll come more alive and grow in new directions as we meet them. For this New Year, then, I wish you good health and happiness in all ways … and just the right balance between the easy groove of old habits and the invigorating excitement of new experiments!