A monthly newsletter to support and inspire your Heartspoken life. January's theme is “Beginning Again.” [Reading time under 4 minutes]
January 19, 2019
What's going on at Riverwood
December evaporated in a haze of happy Christmas preparation, with grown children and their families—and our two precious grandsons— visiting for almost two weeks, and, unfortunately, a fair amount of germ sharing. I'm still crawling out from under.
There's a winter storm moving in here in the Shenandoah Valley, and I've been watching the temperature fall this evening. The sound of raindrops on the vinyl siding outside my office window will soon become a pecking sound as it begins to freeze. An arctic air mass with lots of wind is supposed to make the temperatures plummet by Monday, with wind chills of below zero, so we're planning to hunker down, enjoy our new fireplace, and hope the electricity doesn't go out.
The birds are crowding the feeders, and here's a picture of the deer discovering the corn we threw out for the squirrels, crows, and bluejays.
What's going on in your part of the world? Send me a photo and I'll post it to the Heartspoken Facebook page.
✧ NORTH—Faith: Less may be more
The Forward Day by Day devotion for this morning really got me thinking about my propensity for striving to learn more and do more. “To be really who we are, we need to subtract from ourselves, not add. Our true self is to get rid of whatever we have piled on ourselves that gets in the way.” By subtracting, we make space in our heads and in our hearts for God. Taking action without hearing God's still small voice first is likely to be false striving.
✧ SOUTH—Connection: Where are you called to begin again?
One of the most thought-provoking podcasts I listen to is the monthly “Growing Edge” podcast featuring Carrie Newcomer and Parker Palmer. In Episode #6 “Begin Again,” they remind us that January takes its name from the Roman god Janus, the god of gateways and beginnings. Their Question of the Month is: “Where are you feeling called to begin again? Are there areas of your life and work where you're feeling stuck, where would it be life-giving for you—and maybe for others—to gather up what you've learned and make a fresh start?” I encourage you to sit with that question, especially as it relates to the relationships in your life.
✧ EAST—Self-Awareness: Own your goals for 2019
I'm not a fan of New Year's Resolutions, but I absolutely love reading about different ways to put last year to bed and prepare mentally and spiritually for the new year. One advantage of getting older is knowing that MY goals are just that: mine. They might be entirely wrong for you and yours might be for me. Whatever you decide you want to strive for in 2019, own it. And if you need some accountability, let me know and I'll check in with you later in the year. Here are three of my favorite planning tactics for the new year:
• Three words/phrases for the year that create a simple, easy-to-remember guide and filter for making decisions and choosing activities throughout the year. If what you're considering doesn't flow easily through your three words/phrases, don't do it. My three for 2019 are: 1) Make space; 2) Be discerning; and 3) Take action.
• Gretchen Rubin's “19 for 2019:” Make a list that combines some easy-to finish tasks along with some that are a stretch and pull you out of your comfort zone. I've just posted “My 19 for 2019 List” on the Heartspoken blog.
• Chris Guillebeau's Annual Review. His process includes looking back on the past year and asking yourself what went well and what didn't go well. Your answers can inform your planning for 2019. His post is thought-provoking and can be easily adapted or streamlined to your own system.
✧ WEST—Nature: Winter is a time to go deep
Winter in many parts of the world can be cold and dreary, with fewer hours of daylight and more hours of darkness. If you're feeling restless or unhappy, look to the natural world for winter-coping tips. Living things may hibernate or go dormant. Amphibians dig deep into the mud. Plants die above ground while their bulbs or seeds await spring below the earth's surface. If you're dealing with wintertime blues, “going deep” may involve a good dose of self-care and pampering, and perhaps some journaling.
From Heartspoken's archives, I found this post with ideas, suggestions, and resources for dealing with a winter season in your soul (which can occur any time of year), “Are You Freezing In The Midst Of A Spiritual Winter?”
What I'm loving right now: The Daily Stoic
Who knew the ancient philosophy of Stoicism could be so fresh, contemporary, and marvelously useful? My understanding of the word “stoic” had colored my appreciation for the whole philosophy, and I'm delighted to find I was wrong. The daily entries in this book by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman are easy to read, each including a quote from one of the Stoic philosophers along with a reflection by the authors to apply it to our lives today. The early Stoics were pre-Christian, but their principles on the art of living are common to all the world's great religions. It's a book I've been needing for a long time. Highly recommended.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” ~ Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher
Happy New Year!
I've just posted our family's favorite pickle recipe for “Recycled Pickle.” We love it on sandwiches and hamburgers, and since it starts with store-bought pickles instead of fresh cucumbers, you can make it any time of year. Please share your favorite recipe on the Heartspoken Facebook page.
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“And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that never were.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
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See you in February when our focus will be love.
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