This holiday season let us celebrate the abundance of things that we can be grateful for in our lives. No matter what is stressing us out, we can choose happiness. We can choose to stop and look around to assess how blessed we are. We have the power to chose how we think and view the world. Mastering our mindset can be one of the hardest we embark, but I do see the value of shifting towards optimism.

So many people in America, after an insane election season, are happy to put 2016 behind us, only to look ahead with a range of emotions from excitement to begin anew to anger and fear. What changes are before us and what does that mean for ourselves, our families, our communities, our lives?

Photo credit: Ben Kimball

Photo credit: Ben Kimball

I find myself, once again straddling two worlds of race and unique perspectives, grateful to live a multi-cultural life in Brooklyn and to witness a wide array of world views. This year, at our annual holiday cookie swap party, the female powerhouses couldn't be from more different walks of life and there we are debating over politics, education, race and more. (Yes, some of us mama's pride ourselves on baking the best, most ornate holiday cookies and then swap them over wine and conversation, while the kiddies run around.)  This meeting of the minds is what is necessary for positive and real conversation. I have been finding myself in a lot of these circles lately. If we want to be the change and to shift our personal lives for the better, getting clarity on what we want and how we plan to take action is the first step. Being honest with ourselves and others is always the first step.

At the annual “Call to Healing” event hosted by Love Circle Sangha, a Buddhist meditation community of mine, the Dharma talk by Lama Rod Owens really reinforced for me how much fear we are all living with and how to bear witness and then transform that fear. The first step is to actually call it out. While listening, it hit me that many of my past actions in daily life are based on unrealistic fear! Much of the same with my coaching clients and friends. Do this or something negative may happen. Do that to avoid feeling this. It's insanity. So many people have full lives, yet often fake the funk, just to avoid fear of countless things we need not be fearful of.

I happen to be a risk-taker, which has many pros and cons, and sometimes I wish I wasn't. Yet, the risk-takers and the risk-averse often grapple with fear of change or self-doubt. My job as a transformational coach is to witness and then support in releasing the fear and shedding light to the inner brilliance just waiting to blind everyone in it's wake.  Yet I must walk the walk and talk the talk. I have to bust through my own blocks in order to do my best work. Every day, I'm on the path. One teaching I heard and implement is to fill this subconscious worrying with a fantastic simple phrase....”Assume the best.”  Now, my mother informed me that "worrying" was a trait passed down from generations in my family. Great! Releasing worry has often been a challenge, especially as a recovering perfectionist. I don't think I ever simply "assumed the best."  As soon as see that slippery slope, I simply stop the negative brain space and state,  “Assume the best.” It totally helps shift the mood on that train of thought. But the trick is not just thinking it...but actually FEELING it. Getting in touch with our bodies and how we are feeling is the key towards manifesting our intentions and feeling better about our decisions and lives.

I'm choosing to feel positive about 2017. There is a lot of work to do. I'm ready.

Three Steps towards Clarity to Start the New Year Off Right....

  1. Take some time to review the past year. Reminisce by looking through pictures of 2016, your calendar, journal, whatever. Take it month by month. You'll notice the ups and downs. Gentle reminder: Celebrate the small stuff.  Face facts about how you could improve or make adjustments after lessons learned.

  2. Set an intention for 2017. One word. - Chose this one word wisely. Then keep it top of mind throughout the year. Write it. Say it aloud. Live it. This practice was quite inspirational for me. For 2016, my intention was “Effective.” Throughout the year I can't tell you how many times a different client described my work with them as being “Effective.” I was actually shocked, when I would hear someone use that exact word to describe their experience with me. But a second later I would realize that there was no need to be surprised at all. My intention all year was to be “effective,” so be it.

  3.  Take action on our intention. Jot down three action steps you can take if you are to live out your intention for 2017? Once you are clear on an action. Set a date and time to actually set it in motion. Use imagery to sink in your vision. This is the hard work, but trust that you will happy. Like my spiritual advisor broke it down so simply for me....two key questions...What do I want? How am I going to get it?

Here's to stepping into a fearless 2017!

A beautiful dive into the New Year.  Photo credit: stylishgypsy.tumblr

A beautiful dive into the New Year.  Photo credit: stylishgypsy.tumblr