Welcoming Prosperity and Growth

By Beth O'Hara - February 2010

The transition from winter to spring is a time for creating new beginnings and fresh practices.  It is a time for incorporating different routines, changing habits, and hatching new ideas.  

Many people make New Year resolutions, but I find that the beginning of January isn't yet the season for big changes because I still want to hibernate, sleeping through the cold weather.  The Chinese New Year occurs later in winter - this year it was on February 15.  It is at the end of February and beginning of March when I feel prepared to put new ways of being into place.  In the Chinese tradition, it is a time to welcome in prosperity.  Prosperity appears in many forms beyond monetary - it can be through health, blessings, friendships, family, conscious growth, and deeper awareness.

The end of winter and beginning of Spring is a time for renewal of self-care -- care of body, heart, and mind.  It is a time to create new practices and a time to make new commitments for one's well-being and growth.

It is important to make commitments to ourselves that set us up for success.  If I decide I'm going to lose 20 pounds or meditate for an hour every day no matter what, those may be excellent goals but they seem overwhelming and vague.  Lasting change occurs incrementally.  It is useful to break goals down into small, manageable steps and to just make the commitment to the next step, integrate that step into daily life, analyze how it is working, and then celebrate the success.  If I want to lose weight, I can decide that what I really need to do is to change my eating and exercise habits.  Then pick one change to put into place.  I can choose one thing:  maybe replacing sugar with fruit, eating only 1 serving of "white" carbs, or incorporating walking for 20 minutes three time a week.  If I want to meditate daily, I can start with a 15 minute mediation three times a week.

An important additional component is to elicit support from friends, family members, and perhaps even a life coach.  State your goals to people who love and care about you and will support you with encouragement and remind you that you are important to yourself.

Some people are able to jump into change and make long-term commitments easily.  Others need to move more slowly.  Or you may find that in some areas of your life change is a snap and in other areas it is extremely challenging.

It is fine to make change slowly.  I often break things I don't enjoy doing into micro-movements.  I don't like cleaning and it often seems like a huge chore to clean the entire house so I break it into micro-movements.  I keep the appropriate cleaners in each room.  Before my shower I might just wipe down the sink.  If I need to vacuum, I may just get out the vacuum in the morning before I go to work and then when I get home, just vacuum the room that needs attention the most.  Then I'll leave the vacuum in the next room for the next day.

This applies for any change.  If you want to become more aware and develop deeper consciousness, remind yourself that this is a lifetime journey and you don't have to do it all at once.  You may want to just stick your toes in the water.  You may want to out small by purchasing a mediation CD (or if you are like me and like to try before you buy, check out the selection of meditation CDs, yoga DVDs, and spirituality books at the library.)  The next week, set aside just 15-30 minutes to listen to a meditation, follow a yoga series, or make a cup of tea and read a few pages of the book you chose.  If you need a suggestion, ask a friend what they have liked.

Or maybe you do better making change with a group.  If you want to start a class or join a group, the first step may just be to check local listings and read through them.  The next step on another day might be to choose one class.  Then another day you can register.

If you know that you need to make a deep dive into something, sometimes you may find that it is best to just jump and let the details sort themselves out.  What is most important is to know yourself and to know what works for you and to continue moving forward in your life, welcoming prosperity and growth.

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