New Year Fresh Start

This time of year it gets crazy busy where I live. It’s South Florida, so there are LOTS of holiday visitors and many snow birds. Restaurants are packed and there are wait lines for tables. Today didn’t feel like the right day to go anywhere but straight in the midst of nature, so I decided this December 31st would be my last hike of 2016 instead of going out for breakfast. A New Year Fresh Start!

I had apples, peanut butter for protein, a pocket knife for easy slicing of these crisp treats, coffee beans, a full canteen, fresh air and blue skies. It definitely was the right choice to clear my mind at year’s end and get ready for numero uno of 2017.

Danielle Laporte talks about a “stop doing list” in one of her books. I liked that concept more than the making of new year’s resolutions and applied it to my 2016 New Year, Fresh Start. It worked well.

As I transition into 2017, I’m implementing a START doing list.

Forgiveness is number one on the list. Adding value to the lives of others, fearlessness, confidence and inspiriation are next. Gratitude, health, exercise, and clean diet are always a priority.

On a long walk with a wise elder, I heard a beautiful and touching story about a coach and his bright-eyed talented team. They were ambitious and had that certain sparkle, but no wins were happening of late, even though they were putting in some serious work.

They were down 0-4 and the coach knew with 4 losses they were heading for trouble. He saw they were smart, but distracted. An energetic and skilled team, but their focus was off. Silence overcame them when he would encourage team members to speak about what weighed heavy on their shoulders.

He realized some of them lived in homes with illness, drug use, emotional abuse, recklessness and troubles that made them weary. This coach believed in them. He saw their potential for winning. They had gifts and intelligence, but needed help to be able to leave behind their worries and win.

He sat them down one day and said, “Something has to give, or we will fall. Winning is something that CAN happen to you. You have to believe it can first and foremost.”

Then he said the most important advice anyone could ever hear:

“Sometimes take a deep breath and simply listen. Use the quiet to your advantage. Slow down and pay attention. Put your shoulders back. Look up! When you walk onto the field for a game that you worked on with your whole heart and every bit of your soul for weeks on end, remember it’s like waking up to a fresh new day.

Put it all behind you. It’s a brand new game. Say this to yourself and make it your prayer or your mantra: I am sorry. I forgive you. Let it be for the higher good. Be strong and bold. Stay on course. The gratitude of my heart is forever yours.”

They would take turns saying it before a game. They did well.

They were kinder, more peaceful, and strong. The energy in the entire environment changed and they won games. A lot of games. But most of all, they won at LIFE. The transition of this newly won confidence gave them strength, fortitude and success.

This story can apply to anyone. It’s a nice little mantra to put in your back pocket and watch the magic unfold and the dreams come true—especially with the new year upon us.

I wrote a poem on my last hike of 2016, inspired by the many tree roots along the path:

There are tree roots
Things that root us
eep us grounded

Walks in goodness and nature all around us 
Foods of health and freshness we fall back on 
Memories, traditions
End of the year reflection 

Points us in the right direction 

2017 is here. It’s a perfect time to start fresh and recognize the value of ourselves and our lives.

When we see the unique value we have to offer others, we elevate our sense of well-being and facilitate our health, growth, and development—as well as those around us. That the space we occupy in this world makes a difference. That we make a difference.