Every year at Christmas time, I am lucky enough to be taken away on holiday by my lovely husband. We live in London so tend to go somewhere long-haul and hot.
And every year on New Year’s Eve, I end up having a ritual swim in the sea, where I wash away all that has gone before and set my intentions for the year to come.
I have set intentions on beaches in Australia, Thailand, Borneo, South America, Vietnam, Mexico, Belize, India… Always, on the day of new year’s eve, without ever planning it, I inevitably end up on a beach somewhere taking that one meaningful dip.
For the past few years, however – although I have still done it – the exercise has felt kind of fruitless. Not altogether pointless, but sort of as though my intentions were being heard and put on hold.
You see, I was processing something really big and very painful, and it was going to take a while for this one to percolate. I couldn’t just wash this away in the sea and hope to start again. Nope. This was also not something I could run from, push aside or get over. I had to go through it.
This year, as I write this, I have just taken my yearly dip in the sea in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
Only, this year, I didn’t ask to release anything. I didn’t set the intention to wash anything away. I have no need to forget or let go. This year, I asked for the grace to flow with whatever comes my way. And as I floated on the waves, letting mother ocean gently rock me, I held gratitude for all that has gone before – all of it. Even the hardest parts. Because all that I have been through has brought me right up the golden shore to where I am today. I am so very much more the person I want to be. And I would not be this me if I hadn’t got to know myself on such a deep level – by diving down into the very depths of my own emotional darkness.
At that moment of realization, I gazed up into the dazzling sunshine and saw a huge sea eagle circling overhead. It was the sign I needed. I knew I had been heard.
All I had to do all along was acknowledge – just acknowledge all I had been through and hold myself in unconditional love and gratitude. To gracefully accept things as they are. And in accepting it I knew I was accepting me. All of me. At long last, I felt resolution. I made peace with all that had served to break me. And I saw that it had actually broken me open to who I am meant to be.
Like a pebble tossed in an endless sea, I feel so grateful, so utterly grateful with how life has shaped me.
What part of your life have you been struggling against? What experiences have you been trying forget or get over? Sometimes, the hardest experiences are the things that end up showing us our true mettle.
So wherever you are this new year’s eve, be kind to yourself, have gratitude and lovingly accept all that has gone before. Then open your heart and wait for whatever comes next, trusting that you have all you need to help you remain buoyant as you roll in the waves.
If you’re wondering what the future holds, you can always ask for a sign.
A butterfly has just taken flight over the ocean…
Happy new year – 2018! ???????