Imagine pulling up to your house at night. As you approach, something feels odd, out of place, amiss. It's dark as the familiar lights on your street guide you along, though you don't notice because you're on automatic pilot. But, something has changed and your brain can't quite fill in the blanks, so much so that you nearly pass your house entirely until you recognize the Christmas tree in your front window. You catch yourself at the last minute, so that you're fully alert, no longer on auto-pilot. You pull into the driveway, get out of the car and cautiously turn back toward the street. That's when you realize that the 40-year-old California Oak Tree that graced the front of your yard has been chopped. To the ground. With barely a stump to recognize its memory.
That's exactly what happened to me recently. It was a big beautiful tree owned by the city, a tree with dead limbs that often dropped without warning onto the street and nearby yards. So, after several inspections the city took it out.
It took the wind out of me, particularly the next morning when I saw it in the light of day. It created a huge open space that completely changed the complexion of my landscape as well as my view. After mourning the loss, it got me thinking about how healthly the open space is now, no longer full of
impending decay and potential catastrophe. So, I released the dear, old tree and started thinking about what kind of new seedling I can plant in its stead.
It also got me thinking about applying the same thought to the last year. The phrase that keeps coming to mind is "catch and release." It sparked memories of fishing with my dad as a kid when we would spend hours in the early morning quiet, on a calm lake, fishing for trout and Northern pike. More times than not, we caught the unsuspecting fish, gently removed the hook and then released it back into the water where it swam anew. It's a great metaphor and exercise for reflecting on 2010, capturing the events, both the good as well as the challenging, and then releasing them, thus creating lots a open space for creation, new adventures and abundance in 2011.
Author and businessman Alan Cohen said, "It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power."
It's a great way to complete the year. Take a few moments to catch and release 2010.
- Take stock of your environment and make note of what's working and what is not. You don't need to focus on the bad stuff, but it's healthy to acknowledge what you've come through. This has been a difficult year for many so take time to celebrate and honor your challenges and the fact that you've conquered some of them! Acknowledge them and then release!
- Go through your calendar and make note of all of your accomplishments. Los Angeles Life Coach Andrea Quinn calls this the most profound way to create a powerful launching pad to begin the next year. When you make a complete list of everything you've done in a year's time, it's pretty rewarding. Remember the little things too.
- Examine your relationships. Where do you stand with your old relationships as well as any new connections you made this year? When you explore how you're connecting with others, your year takes on a richer tone. Capture and recollect momentous relationship moments from the year. What have your learned? What can you release and what can you carry forward?
- Where have you given? Take some time to honor your own generosity, and personal philanthropy. They don't have to be major donations of time and money; the small gestures and moments of giving are just as important.
Once you're done with your 2010 "Catch and Release", you will also see, as I did in bidding adieu to my oak tree, how it will shake up your own landscape and allow it to change and renew your view for 2011.
Now go bravely forward, with a clear mind and wide open path before you. You never know what magic lies ahead!
Happy New Year!