Posted on December 31, 2021

On Focusing on Gratitude Rather than New Year's Resolutions


Reflections from Relaxscape on NYE 2021

I can wish you Happy New Year
But it’s not mine to give you.
I can wish you peace and health,
A year of success and wealth,
Wish your family well too,
Everyone that you hold dear.
I can wish away your fear,
But it’s not for me to do.

I wish you wisdom to see that
A New Year is just a new
Day, just another moment In time, a yearly event
That ladens pressure on you
To make you think you’re too fat,
Or else don’t come up to scratch,
Need to change, but in whose view?

I wish you the courage to trust
That you are doing just fine
That we’re all doing our best
Now, always, however stressed.
That if we try to define Success, perfection we just
Lose ourselves, and that we must
Know, learn, where to draw the line.

I wish you the strength to let go
Of the notion that normal
Is something to go back to,
To understand that for you
To enjoy your life means all
That is past, any sorrow
Must be released, so you flow
Freely with change, not in thrall.

I wish you well, I wish you whole,
But I can only do this
By walking alongside as
You work out your path, what has
To give way, what gives you bliss,
How to listen to your soul.
I can be here to console,
When you stare at the abyss.

I wish for you all this and more.
But it’s yours to make it so.
It’s for you to decide how
You shape your life, to allow
Your hopes and your dreams to grow
Real and strong, to live before
It’s too late, to enjoy your
Year, in the best way you know.

Misty December sunrise at Relaxscape in Cardal, Tomar

At this no-man’s land between Christmas and New Year, I see people saying they don’t know what to make of it, that’s it’s dead time, the slow deflating balloon after the celebrations of Christmas before it’s pumped up again for New Year’s Eve. For others it’s a time to rest, perhaps their only time of year to truly wind down. Some have to work, of course. Others use it as a time to reflect, and to plan for the year ahead, perhaps to make resolutions. I’ve given my take on New Year’s Resolutions before, and you can read more here if you like. For this final message of 2021, I’d like to focus on gratitude, that is all.

We’re drawing to the end of another year that’s been punctuated, still, by a global pandemic that continued beyond some people’s expectations, and looks like it will spill into 2022 no matter how many people are wishing otherwise, or hoping that things will soon “get back to normal”. Getting back to normal is a phrase I don’t understand. Normal is now. Normal is what we are living, right now. Normal can only ever be now, what we are experiencing. It is an ever-moving bar, just like life is a constantly changing force. The past is gone, we cannot reclaim it. We can hope for things to be easier, or different, or any number of things, but only by understanding that for those things to happen, depends on us to make them happen, to think them into reality.

And this is where gratitude comes in. Wishing for things to be different, to be as they were before, to be better, to anything but they are now is focusing on lack, on dissatisfaction. And when we focus on lack, on dissatisfaction, we feel more negative. And when we feel more negative, we start to feel down, and that affects our bodies, our immune system too, making us more vulnerable to aches and pains and illnesses. It’s a spiral, and a self-perpetuation circle. The more we focus on negativity, the more negative things we think and see and feel and attract.

Focusing on what we have to be grateful for makes us feel better and think and behave more positively. We become happier, heathier in mind and body, and people like to be around us more, want to share the positivity. Suddenly we start to see all the good things in our lives, and we understand that those things are there, here, now, around us all the time. It’s us that makes them happen. It’s how we are thinking, we are thinking our reality to be one of plenty and joyfulness. Thinking like this depends on us focusing on the present, on the situation we are in now, and viewing it with acceptance, finding the pleasure in it, rather than wishing it different. It is what it is, é a vida! as the Portuguese like to remind themselves and us. It’s our lot, and what we choose to make of it depends a lot on how we will then feel about it.

Olive Trees in December at Relaxscape

So I am grateful for this no-man’s land between Christmas and New Year. I am grateful for the time that I can use to reflect on the year that has just gone, I am grateful for the year I’ve had, the things I have learnt from it, and all the things that have lifted my heart. I am grateful that I am still here. I am grateful that I am enjoying my life, that I have found my ikigai. I am grateful that tomorrow will be another day, another year. I am grateful that I have the ability to choose how I approach the challenges ahead.

I am grateful that by connecting with nature here at Relaxscape I have reconnected with my creativity and started to write poetry again. I have shared one of them with you at the start of this post, and you can read more of them here. I wish you a year full of gratitude and joy ahead. Perhaps you will choose to spend some of that year connecting with nature and reconnecting with yourself here at Relaxscape, and I will enjoy sharing this little corner of paradise with you if so.

With love, Belinda x

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