Ancient Romans named the month of January for Janus, their god of gates, doors and beginnings. Always pictured with two faces—one looking toward the future, the other back at the past—Janus is a fitting symbol for the turning of a new year.
As we step through the doorway from one year to the next, it’s natural to do as Janus does: look back and ahead. And this year, instead of just reflecting on the past year or making New Year’s resolutions, consider using this first part of the year to take stock of your life.
Who are you? What do you believe? What do you really need?
When we discover who we really are, we stop living on auto-pilot and start to live with intention, focus and purpose. Our choices become clearer. We begin to make active choices in our life, instead of making excuses or passively living with the status quo.
Here are a few questions to get you started. Have a journal or some way to record your thoughts. (Writing by hand keeps you in touch with your breath and your heart.)
• What is aching to be expressed?
• What needs healing
• What unique gifts, talents and skills do you bring to the world? How are you using them
• Who do you need to forgive? How about yourself?
• What beliefs are holding you back or getting in your way?
• What can you let go of in your life?
• What makes you happy?
Consider the vital information that other “parts” of yourself are giving you. When you use only your head, your experience of yourself and the world is more limited.
• What is your body telling you? When someone yells at you, does your stomach tie up in knots? Do your shoulders stiffen when you’ve been too focused on fulfilling others’ needs and ignoring your own? Notice the messages your body is giving you.
• Check in with your heart. The heart is the home of what is most alive in us. What does your heart have to say about the work you do? About how you spend your days? Does it need more play time? What, according to your heart, really matters?
• Listen to your intuition, your “gut.” Your intuition speaks volumes, and often gets ignored. What is this voice saying now?
Notice what you already have that is working. Acknowledge and give thanks for the gifts and the beauty and the miracles that are in your life right now. Write them down.
It is time to be honest about who you really are. Encouraging those unlived parts of ourselves to emerge can provide an exhilarating sense of discovery and optimism for the New Year and beyond.