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Happy New Year??? by Elaine Bellenoit

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone! I feel I'm expected to deliver this typical sentiment, but I find myself a little grumpy. What do you mean, have faith that the new year will be any different than the last? What does a new year mean anyway? The movement of a clock’s second hand from one small dot to the next.

While I really do wish everyone a joyful, fulfilling, prosperous year full of learning, there is, at least for me, an unfortunate cliché to the words and the hopeful resolutions that we make each year. The new year promises us hope for change, a chance to improve and grow. But sometimes life just gets us down.

It can be difficult to be positive, to have a vision of the future that includes laughter, hope, people coming together, and positive things when suffering and division exist as well. It’s complicated. We are so used to categorizing things into black and white, into good or bad. The existence of suffering is hard to reconcile with joy and other positive emotions.

But as humans, we cannot escape feeling emotions. It is in our nature, and everyday events are constantly provoking us to feel. However, letting ourselves experience painful or complicated emotions can be hard. We tend to ignore the unpleasant ones, and in doing so, we numb the pleasant ones as well. We shove our feelings down and sometimes steel ourselves by expecting the worst.

So why should we hope for change and positivity in the New Year, and not get discouraged by our fear or the sad things around us? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want another empty celebration or tired resolution rife with unrealistic expectations - just to be disappointed with myself later.

And so instead - I wish that in this New Year, we are present for all the emotions and that we have more compassion for ourselves and others. It can be hard to be positive, and yet existing at the same time as sadness and ugliness is kindness and beauty.

This New Year, I wish us all the courage to speak our truths, to let the emotions flow, and to take small steps towards our goals because in each moment we truly have a choice. Let’s embrace and work on the sadness. And let’s also embrace abundance, magnificence, and grace. Let’s break out of the clichés by using different vocabulary, by stepping out of our comfort zone, with courage and self-compassion, one step at a time. Don't forget to celebrate the accomplishments (no matter how small) and don't forget to ask for help! You've got people around you who care and you can help them too.

Reach for the positive. Give the Universe a fist bump, or shake its hand. Together, we've got this!

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