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Responding to the Pull and Push of the New Year with Compassion

We are hardly halfway through the first month of the New Year and I’m already feeling the push. It has been only a week since I’ve been ‘back in the saddle’, but it feels like it’s been oh so much longer. The return to work pace has ramped up so quickly. Yes I’m very committed to supporting the people that one by one cross my threshold. Yes it is such an honour to be a part of the transformative project that has just relaunched. Yes it’s lovely to be back into the fold of a beloved community, but the more I step in, the more I am approached to do one more thing. Yes I very much want to be at tomorrow evening’s faculty meeting…

I had imagined that the energy I harnessed from my extra-long and intentionally quiet post festive time would have sustained me for longer, but I feel so tired. I feel the pull to retreat  to my home, light the fire and candles, swaddle myself in my cozy pink blanket and sip tea with my golden girl at my feet. I would have thought that our cold and blustery hour long early morning beach walks would have invigorated me enough to sustain me through the days’ tasks and obligations, but as the light fades and the night draws in, my energy too fades.

So how did I respond to the push and the pull of the New Year and the deep in the heart of the winter season? I paused and came to stillness, placed a hand over my heart, and asked myself ‘What do I need, what do I really need?’ In reply I heard: ‘Acknowledge the struggle. Allow the push and the pull to coexist rather than compete. Allow space for both my desire to resume and to rest, to be out there and to be at home, to be engaged and to be quiet.’ And as I continued to tenderly listen for ‘What is best, what is really best?’ I felt a little more enlivened to take action. Given the fullness of my upcoming week’s schedule, I considered what must stay and what could possibly be deferred, delegated or deleted. I sought, created and highlighted the potential breathing spaces in between activities and committed to make the most of every moment to do not doing.

And I considered how I would best spend the evening. Yes there were a couple of things that needed to be done and I committed to doing them. But the rest of my to do list could really wait. And then I prepared and enjoyed a nourishing meal that brought me comfort. I changed into my cozy pjs and lit the fire and candles. I enjoyed my time with my golden girl and looked forward to face to face catch up with my daughter when she returned home. And I went to bed early with a good book. And as I turned out the light, I vowed to do my best to tend to what needs to be done while also tending to myself. Wishing you all that is best as the New Year continues to unfold.

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