new_health (2006-01)

Making Change

Cashing in on wintertime willpower

by Wendy C. Smith

I love New Year’s. It’s timed perfectly to give a sense of hope and cheer to the upcoming days. The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, is a week-and-a-half past. Winter itself is a week-and-a-half old. The holiday season is over. It’s time to start over.

It’s fitting that we begin in winter, in darkness heading toward the light. We spend the fall looking towards the holidays, and a lot of us commence reflecting upon the past year. Around Christmas, we start talking with our friends in wonder that another year has so quickly passed. And we vow that certain things will change. New Year’s is in the dead of winter, in the time of kidney energy and the rejuvenation of the will. What better time to make a resolution than now? What better time to plot our course and our core?

Last year, I wrote about the problem with making extreme or absolute resolutions, such as vowing to lose 10 pounds a month for a year. While the energy of the New Year makes us hopeful, we need to be realistic as well and kind enough to give ourselves the leeway to keep our resolutions. The energy of winter is that of our core and our will. The mythological energy is dreamtime, when the maiden descends to the underground to rest and dream of what life has to offer. The archetypal maiden is our youthful self, ever hopeful, ever conscious of what is out there in this world.

The energy of spring is of manifestation, and in spring the maiden ascends to a world bursting with life, wonder and dreams come true. Spending reflective time in the winter to reassess and reset goals and ambitions, only to bring them to life at a later date, is the earthly version of this lore.

It’s wise to be clear with dreamtime thinking. The universe is a very abundant place. And most of us have had the experience of knowing clearly and concisely what we wanted to happen and suddenly having it happen. The universe just needs to know what you want. Otherwise it just opens random doors and asks, “Is this what you want? Or is this what you want? Or maybe you want this?” For instance, a person might want a new job. She will find that there are multiple job opportunities all over the place, but nothing seems right. She might then find herself stuck and wondering if she is on any sort of path and what to do.

The universe doesn’t really want anyone to be stuck, and in its abundance will reward anyone who takes a defined, assertive step forward. If she clearly sees herself doing a particular thing and resolves to become or do that thing, she will find that not as many doors open, but the ones that do are more closely associated with her vision or maybe actually are her vision. Manifesting a resolution is easier if the result is defined.  

Winter, especially the New Year, is also the perfect time to reset direction and clarify where personal boundaries are and what is desired out of life. And by this, I mean the “big life” or the internal life, not the “lose 10 pounds” life. The difference between who we are and what we want can be blurry, but who we are is the essence that fuels what we ultimately get. It’s good to clearly define to ourselves: what we are and what we want to be at our core, as well as what we will put up with both in ourselves and in others.

To illustrate, if a person feels like he consistently gets taken advantage of, he probably is—though not through the fault of others. It’s usually because he has shaky or flexible boundaries, and others innately know this and push those boundaries. When that happens, a person can give away his power by not standing up for himself or what he believes. This is why it is important to know where our personal barriers stand. Where, for example, is the line between truth and lies or fairness and injustice? By defining these things for ourselves, a lot of the worry leaves everyday life because we have a good and solid understanding of our core and thus our will is free to express itself.

Our will is our power. We are so lucky to be able to assess ourselves and make adjustments concerning how we tread on this earth rather than blundering blindly from day to day. And New Year’s is the perfect time to shore up our boundaries and make decisions and resolutions about how we will treat the world and ask that it treat us. That’s a bit bigger than 10 pounds, but ultimately more important.