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I was ill all of last week, struck down by a chesty cough and flu combo. What was to be the second week back to work in the New Year became somewhat of a hiatus. Resting again, this time not through choice but necessity. No clients, no University work; 5 days of nothingness.

For the first two days it was easy to be ill: I felt so dreadful that there was nothing I could do but give in to it. But by day 3 and 4, I was starting to feel reasonably compos mentis and I had to trust the wisdom of the body rather than listening to the little voice tempting me to start getting active again. “You could work from bed, you have your laptop…just check a few emails, you don’t have to move…doing some marking won’t hurt you”. I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences - how to stop, how to not feel the demands of life continuing.

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keeping it simpleHappy New Year!

I’ve often considered the break afforded by the Solstice / Christmas / New Year celebrations as the one time of year I can truly ‘break’. And having been off work for the best part of 3 weeks, I can honestly say I have needed that time to unfold: to truly rest. The time also allowed my now traditional ritual to reflect upon the outgoing year and plan for the new. For some reason, this year’s review was one of the most straightforward ones I have done since I started the exercise in 2012.

Maybe this is because I am living closer to my values and aspirations than ever? In some ways my aim is closer to the target each year. I sense this is part of it. I believe it is also because I am happier with a more fluid approach to my life: to respond to change rather than resist is. Its a moving target, so I know I can never expect to hit the bullseye.

Each year, my review process gives me 3 or 4 “rules to live by”; and it also throws up one word to hold in the front of my mind. Previous years have seen words such as ‘trust’, or ‘surrender’. This year, the word I have chosen is ‘simplicity’.

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hibernationThe end of another year is fast approaching. I feel fortunate that I don’t get snagged up in the chaos of Christmas, so instead this time of year begins a kind of hibernation period: its probably the only 2 weeks of the year where I really withdraw from the world - in part, there is that permission granted from the world. No one else is working, we are all on a break and therefore there is no feeling that someone is waiting for a response. Its telling that I rarely put on an ‘auto-response’ on my various email accounts or telephones - who would be emailing or calling until January?

So, we are here again. And being ‘here’ means I get to look at the ‘again’. What did I set out to achieve in 2018? How did I fare? Each year I do a year-end review, and in the period of “Twixmas”, I will do that again. I’ll up the meditation practice and spend a few hours each day contemplating what has been and what is to become in 2019.