With the start of a New Year, there's a tendency to contemplate new beginnings. This is particularly pertinent as we walk into a new decade, hopefully seeking a deeper understanding of who we are, what we want to become, and who we want in our lives. In the Chinese calendar, this is the Year of the Rat, which signifies the first month of the Chinese zodiac and a time for great change. Another thing to consider is that as we turn the corner into a new decade, it's an opportunity to create space for our passions and for the needs of our loved ones. This means that practicing mindfulness is very important.

As Susan David says in her podcast, shared below, a good mantra to focus on is the South African word Sawubona , similar to the word namaste , meaning "I see you and your feelings and your soul, and I honor everything that you are." It's about being present with yourself and your loved ones, putting technology aside and looking other people in the eyes when you're speaking with them. This is always a good practice, but is especially important when kicking off the New Year. It's not about making New Year's resolutions; it's more about having the intention to move forward.

Creatively Yours,

  • What do you most want to remember about 2019?
  • Write about a new acquaintance you made in 2019.
  • Make a list of five intentions for 2020.
  • Write about what you want to focu
“Recycled Circles” (poem). Silkworm 12. October 2019.
"Creative Ways of Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One" (blog). Psychology Today. December 8, 2019.
"6 Tips to Maintain the Calm During the Chaos of the Holidays" (blog). Psychology Today. December 14, 2019.
"The Secret to Rituals" (blog). Thrive Global. December 17, 2019.
"How to Reclaim Your Sexuality Over 60 " (blog). Sixty and Me. December 2019.
"Remembering Ram Dass." Thrive Global. December 24, 2019.
"How Can You Improve Your Focus in 2020?" Psychology Today. December 30, 2019.                     
Emotional Freedom by Judith Orloff, M.D. (nonfiction)

Although this is not a new book (it was published in 2009), it is a gem, and a wonderful work to read as we transition into the New Year. Orloff does a stellar job of reminding us that happiness and change are all choices, and so is the choice to remove negative obstacles and situations from our lives so that we can harbor positive emotions.

One of my favorite parts of this book is Chapter 4: What is Your Emotional Type? The four types include: the intellectual, the empath (yours truly), the rock, and the gusher. These types are self-explanatory. Orloff suggests that knowing your type helps you evolve emotionally. In this chapter, she also offers tips for managing the type that you are as well as the types of your loved ones.

This book is packed with helpful ideas and meditations to inspire goodness and positivity. If emotions have the power to make us sad, then they surely have the power to make us happy. Here's to a positive 2020!

Susan David shares the story of her father telling her as a little girl that we're all going to die, which she viewed as a way to prepare her for his early death. Her father taught her that being scared is normal and that courage is not about being fearless, but is about being able to show up and sit compassionately with your fear, and then deciding to move forward in truth.

In this podcast, David accentuates the importances of holding space for ourselves, but also holding space for others and their emotions. She explains how having this skill can help us navigate our life's journey. She also talks about Sawubona (which I mentioned in my letter above) , a South African word that basically means "I see you and your soul." She says that by acknowledging that we see others in this way, we're holding space for them. In summary, "When we truly see ourselves, we're more able to see others too."
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