|January is named after the Roman god Janus. The story is told that Janus has two faces and looks into the past and the future at the same time. Quite fitting for the month that begins our New Year! While the Winter Solstice in December asks us to “go within” to review our lives and seek our answers, it is fitting that Janus in January helps us look both backwards at our history and ahead to our future as we set our course in the New Year. Use the information we learned from our introspection and go forth with renewed hope, energy and knowledge to create our future.
The acts of introspection, self-exploration and self-evaluation are necessary if we are to understand our purpose and direction in life. Without these actions, we are not fully aware of ourselves. Some people take a whole lifetime to figure out their inner workings. Why so long? Perhaps they are afraid of what they might discover – it’s the “what we don’t know can’t hurt us”, philosophy. Perhaps they think it will be too hard to change anything, so “let’s just leave things alone”. And others are not interested in setting plans or goals, as they are just “here for the ride”. No one can ever “make” you look inwards at your thoughts, feelings, reactions, priorities, attitudes or personality traits. But for those who do take an interest in learning more about themselves and how they “tick”, the actions of introspection, self-exploration and self-evaluation are amazing gifts to yourself.
One does not need to wait for the perfect moment to be introspective, self-aware or self-evaluative. Chances are if you are waiting for the perfect moment, it will likely never arrive! But there are moments throughout the day in which we can be mindful, noticing our thoughts, feelings, or reactions in a non-judgemental way. As we notice, we learn something about ourselves and how we live in this world. If we like it, we can continue on. If we don’t like it, we can make meaningful changes so it is closer to what we do like.
Of course, if you have the time and space to observe yourself daily, you could become truly fascinated with what you discover! A daily meditative practice, whether it be a staying still or movement style meditation, can open up a calm mindspace for self-exploration and evaluation to occur. Most people associate meditation with sitting still, toning, breath work or silence. These are all wonderful, but there can be other ways to meditate. This quiet mindspace is sometimes found while listening to music we enjoy, walking in a forest, a garden or on the beach. Soaking in a hot tub, washing the dishes, playing the piano, doing yoga or tai-chi or driving on a country road can also help with getting in touch with one’s inner workings.
How can we truly set a meaningful course for the future we wish, if we don’t know anything about ourselves? Just guessing at who we are and what we want can waste time and set us up for sadness, anxiety and failure. How many people get “stuck” in relationships, jobs or living situations that give them no joy, no positive sense of self and no hope for positive change? Had they figured out who they really were, what they truly were about and what mattered most to them, they may not have made such sad choices for themselves.
The Roman god Janus has the ability to look back and forward and asks us to do the same. By not denying our history or the part it has played in shaping ourselves, we can truly appreciate the work we’ve done to arrive at the present. And this work is what helps us set a positive course for our future. It is important to our future selves that we create the best present time we can. As the saying goes, ” We are presently creating memories for our future selves'”. So do you want to look back on negative or positive memories of this time? It is always your choice.
January is the beginning of the New Year. Are you on course to fulfill your purpose, direction and passions? It’s never too late to make changes – but check in with your Self first! You will be amazed with what you can do.