At the end of each year, we have a natural, built-in opportunity to reflect on our lives and start anew. We really have this opportunity all the time and can take the time to reflect on our lives any days of the year that we choose, but there's something about aligning ourselves with the seasonal shifts and the ends and beginnings of those cycles of nature that make it feel a bit more potent and remind us to take the time for ourselves.
As we travel through our journey of life, we go through many different stages which have much to offer if we can learn to appreciate where we're at right now. Each phase gives us new experiences, chances to grow, and opportunities to realize our true selves and full potential. There are joys and celebrations to be had at every age, starting with the incredible victory of birth itself. Uttering our first words, taking our first steps, learning to read and write, making friends, navigating the world around us, falling in love, jobs, graduations, commitment ceremonies, birthing and raising children, birthing our own ideas, sharing our wisdom, guiding the next generations through their stages of life. These are all big, important things to take note of, mark as successes. Just as important are the simple pleasures of being alive...having fun, playing, laughing, singing, dancing, exploring, talking with friends, sitting quietly in contemplation, resting, and so much more. Each year we take a day to acknowledge and celebrate our very existence, the moment we came into the physical world. It matters that we are here, not just once a year but each and every day is a new beginning, a chance to take stock and move forward from a clear perspective.
Of course, we know life has it's ups and downs. Being human comes with an incredible amount of resiliency and ingenuity. We're full of thoughts, emotions, ideas and we get to have them all at different times to know what life is about, to know ourselves and to know others. When we go through particularly difficult phases, they are opportunities to expand. Struggle and growth and new understanding are inherent cycles of life that give balance and meaning to the joys and celebrations. Appreciating where we're at in each stage, staying open to the lessons to be learned, the perspectives to be gained, keeps us in the present moment and enriches our experience. We can't always see or understand while it's happening, but taking regular time for self-reflection assists us in continuing to move forward and integrating experiences into our being. It can be somewhat of a trap to lament over years past, or fear what's to come in the future. Everything that came before has shaped and molded us, made us who we are and everything that awaits us is actually completely unknown. The only time we can do anything about, truly, is right now, and that's a very powerful position to be in when we fully embrace it.
As we go through each stage of our lives, we may sometimes ask ourselves, what is my part to play? How do I matter, how do I contribute to the bigger picture. YOU are the only person that has ever existed that is exactly like you. Each of us is one-of-a-kind and we each have our own uniquenesss and perspective to share. We may feel the pressure of conformity in different ways from the cultures we live in, which can make us forget that we have something to offer in the world that nobody else has. The simple fact that we are the only person exactly like us that has ever existed and will ever exist is a little mind-blowing, but 100% true and it's a fact that matters greatly to the universe. It's a reality that makes finding our way in each phase, stage, and age of our existence a wonderful gift to cherish. An understanding to take us through ALL the good, bad, hard, happy, sad, lonely, crazy, bitter, disappointing, delightful, heart-breaking, soul soaring times, experiences, and opportunities that life has to offer every day.
As we say goodbye to the past year, and welcome in the next one, what do you appreciate about the age, stage, or phase of life you're in right now? What are the lessons you've learned to take you into the next phase, whatever that may be?