January 2018: New Year, New Moon, New You
We live in a fast-paced world, and sometimes it's difficult to find time to slow down, set goals for yourself, and decide on the steps you need to take to get where you want to go. It's easy to get caught up in where life is taking us, instead of choosing our paths for ourselves with intention. But as always, we need only look to Nature for the reminder that there is a time for everything. The New Moon is one of Nature's constant reminders of our ability to make a new start. If you never had time to decide on your New Year's resolutions, or if you'd like to start enjoying the cycles and symbols of Nature to add more richness to your life, tonight is a wonderful time to set your intentions for 2018!
Even if you don't believe in astrology, the constellations and the ancient characters and stories they represent are such a wonderful way to give yourself the opportunity to focus on improvement on each area of your life at a specific time each year. Knowledge of these stories and symbols can also be reassuring: Humans have looked to the sky since their first steps on the Earth, and no matter how much time has passed since those first glances upward, the constellations and their symbolism have not lost relevance to our experience as wondering, thinking beings, hoping to find and to serve their purpose. No matter what we believe about where we come from and what we are meant to do, the night sky unites us, reminding us that our ancestors have experienced all these same themes in their lives as we are experiencing today, and that we can overcome these challenges as our ancestors have before us.
This year, the first New Moon is in the sign of Capricorn. Capricorn has always been a fascinating symbol to me, as it is represented by a creature that is half goat and half fish. Capricorn has been thus represented since the Middle Bronze Age, or around 2000 BC, making it one of the oldest mythological associations we know of today. Capricorn is considered an Earth sign, and fuses together symbols of intuition (fish) and ambition (goat), making it the sign of "making things happen", of manifestation, grounding, conservation and responsible use of resources, proactivity, and a mental state of calm. What a perfect symbol to reflect on to start of the year!
If you get a chance tonight or over the next few days, you can make use of this symbol in your life by reflecting on what you want to make happen this month, over the next 6 months, and for this year. Start by taking time to quiet your mind. Sipping some tea and taking deep breaths, meditation with quiet music, or laying on your bed and focusing on alternately contracting, then relaxing each of your muscles from the outermost parts of your body inward are all great ways to get your body and mind into a relaxed state. Once you feel calm, take time to assess yourself constructively and to write down the things you would like to improve. Here are some questions to get you started:
- What fears have been holding you back?
- What failures have you had that you need to forgive yourself for?
- Are there areas of your life that need healing, where you could benefit from forgiving another person for a time when they have failed you?
- Are there any bad habits you have that keep you from optimal health, such as an addiction to sugar or caffeine, negative self-talk, pressing the snooze button on your alarm, comparing yourself to others, or any other source of negativity that you can release?
- Are there any ways that you could improve your impact on the earth, such as reducing waste, reducing consumption of processed foods/reducing consumption of meats/dairy products that come from farms with questionable humaneness, recycling, composting, etc.?
Once you have your list, you can start writing down your corresponding goals. Start with a couple long-term goals for the year, and then write goals for this month that can act as "baby steps" toward what you really would like to accomplish. Many people find "I will" statements to be the most empowering, such as "I will focus on appreciating myself for my own strengths", instead of "I won't" statements, such as "I won't compare myself to others". This is because we visualize our statements as we write them, so when we read our positive statements, we visualize good things with our mind's eye: a more fulfilled future self. Focus on writing these statements down as positively as you can.
Last, go ahead and take the time to visualize yourself enjoying the benefits of these goals once accomplished, taking it all in and enjoying the feeling of the change like it's already happened. Alternatively, maybe you'd like to pray about your goals and give thanks for the strength you have to conquer the obstacles in your life. Then, hang up your goals somewhere you will see them often, so you can visualize and work toward your goals each day.
Keep your eyes on the sky and your feet on the ground, and best of luck!