Reflection, Introspection, and Moving On

The year 2020 brings us a new year and a new decade. The closing year, 2019, and the 2010 decade brought triumphs, challenges, reasons to celebrate, and experiences of emotional upheaval. We may be glad to see 2019 go, or we may wish it could last a few more months. Either way, we all have our own perspective and feelings about the inevitable passing of a year and the opening of a new one.

A tradition of greeting the new year involves writing resolutions about what we want our future to look like. Too often, resolutions fizzle out in a short period. Resolutions tend to be rigid and confining, so we beat ourselves up when we do not reach our goal or measure up to our ambition. We feel guilty for having been unsuccessful, often after repeated attempts. After all, we announced our resolutions with determination and conviction. My experience with resolutions for the new year involved looking at my life and making lofty declarations for improvement. I spent little time looking at what I really needed and wanted or ways to bring my desires to fruition.

I propose reframing resolutions as hopes and intentions. This approach calls for the thoughtfulness of reflection and the honesty of introspection.

Hope is a deep sense that our dreams, desires, and wishes might come to fruition. Hope is born of a yearning of a desired outcome, often with a spiritual basis. The end result is vivid in our mind. We have a visceral response to thinking about our goal.

Intentions require thoughtfulness born of reflection and introspection. We take a realistic view of our intention. We think about its importance. We consider our time, ability, equipment, fortitude, stick-to-itiveness, resources, and support. We see the importance of a plan. Intentions differ from resolutions in that they well up from deep within us and offer us flexibility. Intentions afford us the freedom to modify our course if necessary.

Reflection reviews where we have been and assesses the way the events of our life unfolded. Look into your heart and find the denied or neglected places, the tender places, the desperate places, the raw places. Think of balm to heal those. See my article in last month’s newsletter, “2019 Holiday Survival Guide” for ideas to soothe the jangles and set you on the path of healing. I journal daily and see my counselor regularly. We can use our reflection time to re-celebrate the joys and triumphs of 2019. We can revisit the challenges and painful experiences with fresh eyes. We may need to reach out for help. Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center has clinicians and spiritual directors to support you. Get started here.

Introspection is a deep search within to harvest the golden nuggets of strength, courage, resilience, and wisdom.

The passing of years offers a natural way of moving on to the next season of our life. We expand our introspection to determine where we want to go from here. We appraise options and possibilities. We look for ways to enrich our lives and empower ourselves. We set intentions and develop plans to attain them. We look to the new year with expectancy and gratitude for having traversed another year of life. We may have no clear answers to our deep, passionate questions. Offer gratitude for what did and did not happen in 2019.

Moving on requires us to let go of elements in our life that no longer serve us so we can live with more joy and meaning and peace. We may need to discard no-longer-useful items in our closet. Or, we may need to cut ties with people or situations that do not support us. This is a good time to review habits and behaviors that hinder us. We look for people who can help us with guidance, feedback, support, and encouragement.

Here are some steps for realizing hope and healing in 2020:

  • Review your life in 2019 and find out what brought you joy and peace, what brought you emotional pain, what went undone. Write a list.
  • Look within to see what you want to expand, reduce, or continue and what you want to bring into your life. List them.
  • Make a list of your intentions for 2020. Take an honest look at what you need to accomplish each one.
  • Choose 1-3 intentions and develop a timeline or strategy for approaching each one; be specific and detailed; write them on a calendar.
  • Put your list where you have easy access.
  • Do one small activity related to your intentions as often as possible.
  • Create checkpoints for reviewing your progress and direction.

My intentions for 2020 include:

  • Share my sacred gifts with as many people as possible.
  • Approach all of life as a great learning opportunity, in curiosity, wonder, awe, and respect.
  • Receive life’s lessons in joy and appreciation and expand my practice of gratitude.
  • Learn to surrender in joyful anticipation and expectancy.
  • Release in joy and peace those elements of my life that cause me uncertainty and hurt.

Whether you are facing 2020 with excitement or with trepidation, may every day in the new decade offer you joy for the wonder of life, light for your visions, support for your healing journey, and strength for your challenging times. I appreciate the opportunity to share in your journey.

With Much Gratitude.
– Billie

Billie Wade, writer

To read more about Billie and her articles, click HERE.

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