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A New Year Welcome

A New Year Welcome

By Jessica King


Happy New Year!  The new year seems to be this symbolic time to reflect on the past and look with hope to the future.  I think we all find hope in it, because it seems like we can wash away all the “yuck” from the prior year and start fresh.  Whether this is actually true or not, is very debatable, BUT, we seem to all do it!


As I reflect for myself and Stillpoint, I am filled with joy.  And, this joy is not because everything has been rainbows and unicorns over here!  I can reflect and feel joy, because there has been so much difficulty. The difficulty and suffering creates a deep space to allow joy in when I am present.  In this blog post, I hope to explain this and leave some food for thought as you reflect and plan for the new year.


I think I may just start by saying – life is hard.  It just is.  As humans we come up with clever colloquialisms, try to hold fast to the moral lessons of folk tales, and believe in fairy tale endings.  This is all in an effort to cope with the inevitable pain that is life.  That is the hard truth.   Most things happen to us, and we have no control over them.  And, most solutions to our problems are not just within us, but rather a network of systemic and environmental influences.  How is that for an upbeat new year’s spirit?!  I say this not to discourage you from living a full life and striving for your dreams, but to empower you and your dreams even in the midst of hardship and suffering.  I say this to validate your experience.  I say this to let us all off the hook from thinking we have to be all the things, all the time, for all the people, and do it with a smile on our face and gratitude in our heart.  It is just not possible.  Knowing that it is not possible and believing that as a truth, can set you free – free from unbearable and unrealistic expectations of what we should be.  


So how do we start really living like we understand that most things are out of our control and we have limited agency for change?  The only way I know how is with radical acceptance and with the practice of finding presence in small moments.  Most of the time we spend many minutes a day thinking of the past or contemplating the future.  This is actually part of the suffering experience.  BUT, there are small windows of time when we are able to grab onto the exact moment in which you are in now.  Those moments may be painful or they may be neutral or mundane or they may be exciting (That is the part we cannot control).  But, in the moments where we are completely present with what is, we have the ability to choose.  We have the ability to choose where we place our attention.  We have the ability to choose how we spend our time.  This is the space in which we can appropriately set boundaries, ask for what we need, accept help from others, and live inside our chosen values.  Making those choices does not always bring happiness immediately.  Sometimes those choices are so painful that they leave imprints and gaping holes inside, but that is the space that is needed to let the joy move in.


So, my intention for this new year is to be open to “the moments”; to trust myself to make the right choice; to always choose myself; to have discernment; and, to lean into connection whenever possible.  Because life is hard and it is painful AND we deserve to fill the space with joy whenever we can and in whatever moment we can find it.  



Finding presence and learning to set boundaries is NOT EASY!  At Stillpoint, we have therapists to help you discover your values, learn how to set boundaries, and support you through painful times.  We also offer groups and classes that teach skills and create community.  Our upcoming guided group meditation can help you practice finding presence in your everyday life.  Check out our offerings and let us know if there are other ways we can help support you!