New Year’s Reflections

November 1: New Year’s reflections

Today is the beginning of the New Year in Celtic tradition. I thought it fitting that today, I would reflect on what I want to change. I already have changed in an important way, by downshifting my time commitments last week. This has had important resonances for me already. I have been able to more present with the activities I am engaging in and the people I am interacting with. I am able to be grateful for all the opportunities I have. And, while I am not sleeping well, I am sleeping better.

One change I need to tackle is the time for myself. Time for me to be centred. Time to connect with friends. To reduce packaging in growing greens. To devote time to researching and buying reusable diapers. Time for me to focus and to be present will allow me to tackle the sustainability projects and practices that often hover just out of reach. One flows from the other.

This isn’t something that happens overnight, so in addition to downshifting, I am going to pick a small but mighty change to enact: I will turn my phone to Do Not Disturb at dinner and on weekends. One of the reasons I needed to give up those two days of teaching was that I taken them on to help out friends needed additional school care this year. I found I could not switch off from work as work related issues arose at all hours. This simply highlights a problem that is already there. I can remember too many times when I have paid attention to the bings and dings of text messaging when my focus should have been on my family. While I am not going to ignore my phone or messages in the evening, I will choose when to look at them, rather than to be pulled out of being present for my family by their chirps and beeps.

I am also going to observe what other changes occur. I am finding that this journal is an excellent way to think deeply about my actions. Through pinning them down with words, I can both reflect on how much good I am actually doing, rather than being distracted by feelings of inadequacy (I should really break up that cardboard downstairs to get out onto the grass so that I can easily turn my front yard into a garden next spring!). I can also objectively tackle the things that I want to improve.

These changes combine downshifting, Etzioni’s comments about happiness being grounded in relationships and intellection (2012), and pyschiatrist Dan Siegel’s emphasis on journalling as a way of promoting mindfulness and happiness (Kochenderfer, 2019).

Let’s see what happens!


Kochenderfer, Rebecca. (2019, October 8). Discover journaling’s positive effects on the brain, with Dr. Dan Siegel.

Etzioni, Amitai (September 2012). You don’t need to buy this. YouTube

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