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Insights: Starting a New Chapter

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“New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change.” Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Isn’t it great, that we can start a new chapter of our life, not just for the New Year, but at any time? The New Year is always a reminder of this fact. No matter what yesterday looked like, or even the last year or five years, we have this chance to close some chapters of our lives and open new ones.

After going to see a production of “A Christmas Carol” at South Coast Repertory, it reminded me that how we see things, what we focus on and our attitude has an enormous influence on these chapters.

There are some chapters that we have to keep open that are out of our control. This is painful, as we want to control things in our life that we cannot control. The lesson is learning what is controllable and what is not, and then focusing on what is controllable and leaving the rest to do what it is going to do.

So many of our thoughts and emotions are spent focusing on what is not important, what cannot be changed or has no relevance to us.

Let me give you an example here. I have a garden that I enjoy planting flowers in during the different seasons. However, where do I put my focus when I walk past it every morning? On the clovers that seem to grow faster than my plants. Then I start to think how messy my garden looks, and I feel guilty that I am not spending enough time keeping it up.

Most weeks I see an elderly woman who walks past my house and she always stops and smiles as she peruses my garden. In my head I am saying to myself, “well, she is thinking about how my garden could be better.”

One day I just happened to be leaving at the same time she was standing looking at my garden and she commented about how she loves walking past my garden and enjoying all my flowers. I wanted to say, “but don’t you see all the clovers and how I need to cut back some of the plants and that they are not landscaped by a professional?” I took a breath and just said “thank you.” Now each morning I walk past my garden and smile, and just take in the beauty of my flowers.

So often we are busy focusing on what is not in our ability to change, not what is important or what we cannot control that we lose sight of the beauty, what is important and what we can control.

As you look at creating this new chapter, this New Year in your life, remember to dream, dream by embracing the good, focusing on the beauty, know what is changeable and what is not.

Life is not always easy, and there will be pain, but remember that among the clovers, there are always flowers. If we focus on the flowers, it will put that smile on our face that will remind us of the good, the beauty and what we do have control of in our lives.

Instead of getting out a pen to write down your dreams, pull out the coloring pencils and draw from the heart. You might just be surprised by what happens.

Happy New Year!

Contact Dr. Zavala at [email protected] or DrZavala.com.

 

 

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