This morning I’ve switched the dial on Google play from my regular – moody and mellow – music channels to something called “Handclapping & Footstomping”. After three nights in a row where my sleep wasn’t the best, I need something to pep me up a bit and this seems to be doing it. I’m counting down until work holidays which start for me next Thursday – not because I’m that interested in the Christmas season, but because I’m at the point in the year where I’m pretty disinterested in work. Bottomline – it’s break time and I need a few sleeping in days. I’ll have twelve of those between the 22nd and the 3rd and I can hardly wait – especially since Brian and I are now on island(s) together until the new year. There’s been a lot of time alone on the dark island recently, owing to weird work schedules on both our parts, and I’m ready for some steady company now.
As we near the end of December, I find myself marveling at the fact that a year ago this month – we still had no idea that we were moving town and house. It was a decision that didn’t come until the end of February- and yet it seems like years since we set our sights on this island. I suppose that’s because we have planned for somewhere rural ever since we first met nine years ago – and we were just waiting for the right time and place to occur to us. The fundamentals of change are like that, aren’t they? You float along thinking about things for a long time and then suddenly the opportunity appears and the change seems to happen overnight. It’s a bit like how my (amazing) yoga teacher moves us slowly, slowly into position, and then with a quick snap at the end we are into the final twist/bend/contortion….. I call it sneaky teaching because you don’t know where you are going as you inch along, you aren’t convinced you are ever going to get anywhere, and then suddenly! You are in a totally new-to-you place!
Which really just suggests that so much of what gets us ready to do anything is happening on a semi or subconscious level – which is something worth remembering when we feel stuck in a rut and like we aren’t doing enough to change that. Of course, there are times when action is obvious and necessary – but sometimes all we can do is have an idea about where we are going, and otherwise wait until we get there, or until circumstances around us change to provide an opening (that we have mentally prepared ourselves to slip through).
Last year at this time I did the Year Compass and although I don’t have a copy of it now (their online tool has disappeared), I know that my key words for 2016 were Move, Mobilize, Motivate – because our routine in the city had become a bit stultifying and I was ready for something new to happen. By the time I chose those keywords, I was clearly already one foot out of the city (and was also planning to purchase a decent bicycle), but I had no idea that we would so decisively jump that hurdle less than twelve weeks later by putting our house on the market.
Which is why I’m a convert to doing an annual planning/visioning process for myself. Even when we don’t know what we are planning for – revisiting feelings, values, and how we spend our time – in some kind of structured way, helps us nail down the essence of who we are and what we deeply want/need (as opposed to what we think we want or need). It’s basically like arming ourselves for change – so that when it comes knocking at your door, or when you need to manifest something new – you have the basis on which to make decisions already sitting in your subconscious and ready to help answer the question that will arise. Don’t get me wrong, when I am deeply in a rut, I see the appeal of change for the sake of change – but given that none of us have that much extra energy to spare, it seems like a bit of future planning can help us move consistent with our values and our life path, as opposed to zig-zagging from one road to the next.
Although I haven’t finished my compass document yet, I think this year is going to be less focused on movement, and more on contemplative community and practice. That’s the deep need I’m feeling after three restless nights and a recently erratic schedule – but I’ll have to wait and see what comes up when I start digging in and looking at myself for another year forward.