Photo by @natabene via Twenty20
A New Year, A Fresh Start
T-minus two days, 22 hours and counting until New Year’s Eve arrives.
It is the time of year when hope shimmers in its brightest form. It is a night of fantasized wonder where dreams and destiny collide with the mere chime of a clock.
In the days that follow, the faint rustles of paper and thoughts engaged in resolution making carry through the air. This age-old tradition sparks many commitments and sticky note mantras for fame, fortune, health, happiness, [fill in the blank]. Images of vision boards and year-to-come predictions litter social media.
"Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one."
~ Brad Paisley, Country singer and songwriter
Everything is fair game. For once again, minds are shrouded in anticipation of a fresh chance to hit the restart button.
But for me, I’m tired. My edges are shaded with soot like a used candle jar. I’m burnt from the collective happenings of the past two years. Delays and road blocks have hijacked my plans. Uncertainty has taken its toll on my resolve.
With my best laid intentions reduced to a wistful sigh, I wonder, “Should I dare to try again?”
My waning energy drags me down. Yet, I hesitate and shake off the thought. I know this grey cloud must not follow me into next week. I am making tremendous progress, and only with positivity will I manifest what is to come.
So, I reaffirm to myself not to fret over making [and breaking] new resolutions. Instead, I recall one poignant moment in my life.
My eyes fluttered open. The room was still. I had just awoken from the night’s sleep.
Daylight streamed in through a window painted daintily with lace-like snowflakes. The morning in all its grace welcomed me with glorious silence. No alarms or deadlines forced me from my slumber. No thoughts or commitments beckoned me from my bed.
Peace cradled my heart like a weighted blanket. I smiled.
I do not know how long I stayed in bed that morning. After many years, I only remember how refreshed and light I felt.
One should seek this type of moment as a daily experience. Yet, I seem consistently deprived of quality sleep. I am a creative entrepreneur after all. My mind constantly runs, interrupting my nights with solving and resolving problems and dreaming up worlds that can only exist in other dimensions.
I have read up on how to get a proper night’s sleep with hopes to reclaim this moment.
I have altered my work schedule. The business my husband and I are building allows us time to enjoy the mornings. I have spent real money on mattresses. Although, it may be time for a new investment. I have experimented with dark mode to reduce my blue light intake. Call me old school, but I struggle to adapt to that one.
The reality is no single action can bring that moment back. I exist as part of a complex system. No one has a map to help me navigate the maze of internal and external factors I personally face. I find only clues and remnants of success in others’ stories.
"Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river."
~ Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher and writer
My personal research for better sleep led me to the intriguing concept of Flow in mind body medicine. I spent time exploring studies and journal articles devoted to neuroscience, positive psychology, and its effects on creativity. Author Steven Kotler provides a good summary of resources on his site’s Frequently Asked Questions on Flow.
In pursuit of recapturing my moment, my attention landed on the Flow Cycle and its four identified stages – struggle, release, flow and recovery. What struck me as a personal revelation was how I regarded the recovery stage as an indulgence and not a necessity.
I was simply cherishing this one luxurious moment that good sleep brought.
Photo by @iryna.chubarova via Twenty20
This year, I will not make a new year’s resolution. I will embrace the truth of my research and demand recovery as a crucial component to my work. Matching my internal tempo to the moon’s sultry music, I will allow sleep to restore me. I will begin each new day with a fresh perspective and a rejuvenated sense of creativity.
Did I happen to mention that it is the middle of the night?
Time for the pen to hit the pillow. May you experience the rest and recovery you deserve and find opportunities to collaborate, innovate and create this new year.