Beginning a new year can bring a mix of optimism and excitement with anxiety and self doubt. We’re inundated with marketing messages about losing weight, getting stronger, starting a new diet, making big goals and reaching new heights in our career – the list goes on and on.

There’s a tremendous amount of pressure that often sneaks up on us around January 1st with the expectations from ourselves and others to ultimately become a brand new person. We love strategic goal-setting and a dedication to personal growth and development; however, it’s important that you do this with gentleness and patience with yourself.

Before making resolutions, setting goals, or even rooting into intentions for a new year, give yourself some time to sit with the past year (or years, or decades – whatever you need) and honour ALL of the feelings that come up for you. The end of a chapter can bring with it some heaviness or grief around what’s passed, even at the best of times. And we don’t have to remind you how unusual and challenging the past couple of years have been.

As we begin a new year, it’s important to be intentional about the sort of energy we want to cultivate; hope, clarity, and a readiness for renewal can bring us closer to the most empowered and centred version of ourselves. But if we start to move too quickly in new directions, we might not give ourselves enough opportunity to properly integrate the experiences of the past.

People tend to avoid grief or try to move away from those feelings as soon as possible, but what we often forget is that grief is just another form of love. Death, loss, and even change are often treated as off-limit subjects and we tend to move through the associated feelings with some degree of isolation, secrecy, and often, shame. Heavy emotions feel messy; they bring our shadows into the light, and most of us struggle with giving these darker aspects of ourselves the same level of awareness, acceptance and love as we do the feelings that are naturally lighter and brighter. Having a reverence for the past and full acceptance of the entirety of our experience, (regardless of the feelings it’s elicited) will relieve some of the tension we feel around the tougher parts of our journey.

Our culture is obsessed with busyness; we celebrate the hustle, the hard work, major growth and big moves; but, we’re far slower to acknowledge the importance of rest, slowing down, and taking as much time as we need to reflect and restore to ensure we’re not faced with the inevitable burnout that comes with the endless drive for achievement. But what if we reframe the idea of what it is to be accomplished? What if we honoured a Sunday afternoon nap as much as we did a 5am wake-up to work on that next big project?

We need to give ourselves the necessary time and space for stillness and remember that we have nothing to prove. It’s in these moments of slowing down that we create the necessary energy and awareness we need to receive the gifts of our experience. Prioritize time for reflection and celebration so you can begin to manifest the life you truly deserve. We can’t move forward when we’re stuck in the past, and what many people don’t realize is that a lack of reflection and reverence for the fullness of our experience can actually create an energetic attachment to parts of our story that we haven’t properly acknowledged; the irony here is that trying to move forward too quickly can actually keep us stuck.

This year, ask yourself not only what you’re accomplishing, but more importantly how you’re showing up in all moments, big and small, in different environments and around different people. Are you cultivating a greater awareness and deeper compassion for yourself? Can you make more time for stillness and gratitude? Allow yourself to really feel what comes up, with zero judgment, and a heart full of love.

After the team at Divine took some time to honour the past year and acknowledge the many winding paths of the bigger journey we’ve been on, we asked ourselves what kind of energy we’d like to cultivate in 2022. Here are the focus words we landed on: reclaim, declare, intentionality, alignment, adventure, patience, and clarity. Do you have a focus word for the new year?

Check out this candid discussion with Drs. Nick and Sonya on their own experiences with reflecting on the past and welcoming in a brand new year.