The beginning of the year is clean and crisp. An unwritten piece of paper, full of possibilities. Or, at least, that may be something to aim for. Because, in the quiet time after the holidays we have a chance of hearing our own inner voices, and rekindle that flame of passion that is only ours. If this is not how things feel for you, January is the perfect time for some physical, emotional and mental detox.
While the trees are bare and sound like squeaking old bones in the wind, we can shed some of the excesses of too much rich food, too much social obligation, and perhaps too much engagement in what is good and bad in the world. While detoxifying the body is a pretty easy thing to do – many of us really don’t want to put anything else than what is fresh and light into our physical systems right now – detoxifying the emotional and mental body may take a little more effort. However, for me, it’s not until I do that extra effort, that I can be free enough to find that flame of passion that rises from inside. At this time of year, I always have to go back to basics. What is really mine? When am I genuine, and when am I simply reactionary?
Here are some things I learned years ago, by a stressed-out mother, who practiced this on her troubled teenage daughter, with surprisingly good results. And if something can improve communication between a mother and a teenage daughter – well, then it ought to be good stuff. Here’s the first thing this woman taught me: State your truth, without accusing anyone or anything. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? It usually isn’t. I was shocked when I started practicing this statement - how many of my opinions and life-values were not really mine, but reactions to someone or something else. Thus, they were not genuine. To put it simply, they were based in addiction to drama. But, when I get back to finding my truth without needing to react to anyone or anything, I can untangle myself from drama. If you try this, you might find that you are forced to find your own stand as an independent being, whether in relation to family, business or politics.
Have you noticed lately that you bind people and ideas tightly to you by constantly criticizing them? (Oh, yes, I know you’re just “trying to help,” but this is a rare result of criticism. Most people are already heartbreakingly aware of their shortcomings. Or, they simply don’t agree with you.) If this is the case, you might want to give yourself the gift of untangling yourself by stating your truth without accusing. It can be very liberating.
Here’s the second thing the mother of a troubled teenage daughter taught me: If someone doesn’t agree with you, just keep asking questions, listen to the answers with interest, without reacting to them.
This may be a scary exercise for people who are taught that we live in a world built on dualistic forces, and that our identity is dependent on an opposing force. This is an illusion. We do not necessarily lose ourselves because we listen. On the contrary, we probably come closer to our genuine voice by sincerely listening to the voices of others. Heck, we might even learn something.
The more we let go, the more we detoxify ourselves from reactionary patterns, the better chance that we find that flame of passion inside that is truly ours. I asked Little Grandmother, who spent nine years fulfilling a mission given to her by Mother Earth, traveling all over the world to do so, if she considers herself to be a brave person. Little Grandmother laughed her sweet laugh and said, “No, I don’t think I’m brave. I just get so passionate about what I believe in, that I can’t help myself doing what I think is right.” Don’t miss the interview with Little Grandmother on page five. And if you need some more inspiration for taking that brave step forward, why not read Maria Majjsan Kindgren’s article about stepping into the swamp? You can find it on page 13. And with that, we welcome Majjsan back as our ongoing columnist. The response we have been given about her articles, they are just too grand to resist. Or, why not learn something about letting go of your fear with the help of Maureen J. St. Germain? (page 17). And if that isn’t enough, you can find balance with the help of our new three-month columnist Candice Covington, who teaches us about the spiritual practice of working with essential oils. This is just a small sample of what’s in this crisp and inspirational January issue of The Echo World.
Isn’t this a wonderful time a year? It gives us an opportunity to drop whatever doesn’t work for us, and just be with ourselves and what we are passionate about. Let’s use this time of year to shed whatever we need to shed, and find our own genuine voice. To find our very own flame of passion.
Editorial from the January issue 2018 of The Echo World.
Photographs from top: "Sofia on the stairs," "On the porch of the Tree-house," and "Let there be light." By Michael Peter Langevin and Sofia Karin Axelsson.