What a long strange year it's been. Thank goodness we have a fresh, new year ahead of us to look forward to. We can also welcome and celebrate the Year of the Ox, starting Feb. 12. The Ox is a fortuitous sign in the Chinese zodiac, known for diligence, dependability, strength and determination. So, let's grab 2021 by the horns and achieve all that we dream of! Here are just a few things you can to to make that happen.
Keep your eye on the prize
Distractions are everywhere. Despite it all, do your best to stay focused on what you want to achieve. Whether it's getting dressed for the day, tidying up your environment, or maybe planning a new business venture, keep your eyes on the prize. Minimize influences (social media, TV, and others) that distract you from reaching your dreams. Keep a notebook and carry it with you everywhere you go. Write your goals, wishes and dreams, and refer to the list often. Do one thing everyday that will help to bring you closer to goals. A good habit is to look at your list before you go to bed. Let it be the last thing you see before you sleep.
If you find that your mind is racing, take a few moments to meditate. Keep a note pad and pen handy to write down thoughts as they come to you. Do the same at bedtime. If your mind wakes you in the middle the night, take a few seconds to write those thoughts down. You'll be amazed how this simple practice can free your mind to rest.
It's up to you to find inspiration and to nurture good habits. Here are a list of some good habits that are as old as time:
Read, read read! Travel anywhere in the world or universe simply by opening a book. Here are some good ones that we've enjoyed.
“Jerry Seinfeld’s new book, Is This Anything?… I enjoy opening it, pretending I’m Jerry and making my wife laugh with Jerry’s material. It’s like an artist being a copyist at a museum; you learn by emulating the strokes of others.”—Steve Martin in the New York Times Book Review
"I love songs. I love to tell stories. And most of all, I just love to write. It’s just who I am. I am a Songteller.”
- from Dolly Parton, Songteller
Clean by James Hamblin. “A wide-ranging study that shows how cleanliness was not always next to godliness.” —Kirkus Reviews
Study works of art
Local artists create a plethora of work that you can use to adorn your home or to simply admire from afar. Visit a gallery and you just might be inspired to pick up a paint brush. Jim Inzero's gallery in Point Pleasant, NJ, is a great source for inspiration. Each piece of art can be cleverly crafted into jewelry. Impressive!
Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern credit their success to meditation, and to the joy it brings in their lives. Who knew, right?
Meditation has its benefits. Lower blood pressure, improved blood circulation, and lower heart rate are just some important ones. It also helps one to connect one's inner self. Now that's a truly great experience.
If you're new to meditation, we highly recommend trying it — and keep at it until you find your groove. It's a gift to yourself. Here are some steps for getting started...
Find a quiet space. Turn your phone on silent and go into a room away from others.
Sit in a comfortable position. Sit on the floor or in a chair, where your body can feel relaxed.
Breathe gently. Focus your attention on each inhale and exhale.
Let distractions come and go. If your mind wanders, acknowledge the thought that has distracted you, but do not dwell on it. Then, gently bring your attention back to your breathing.
Wonder if you're doing the meditation right? Meditation guru Deepak Chopra says, “If you’re doing it, you’re doing it right.”
Walking meditation is a form worth experimenting with while you're out and about. You can do it anywhere outside, but an ideal place is Grounds for Sculpture (GFS) in Hamilton, NJ. Now open year-round, GFS is a sculpture garden, arboretum, and museum where you can take in the works of many great artists as you meditate.
This winter, the 42-acre landscaped park will be remain open for the winter season at a reduced admission price of $10. Unlike previous years, GFS will remain open this winter because it recognizes that it's a vital outdoor resource for the community. We agree.
“GFS is a vital hub for our community, bringing together families across generations and friends of all ages to nurture a deep appreciation for nature and art. We are thrilled to continue to welcome visitors to experience our landscape and art as winter envelops the campus,” Gary Garrido Schneider, Executive Director of Grounds For Sculpture.
While visiting GFS, make sure to visit the adjacent Rat's Restaurant — it's one of our top destinations for a delicious meal in the most picturesque environments. Just about any table will give you a view of a landscape inspired by Claude Monet's, The Water Lily Pond, but with a bridge you can actually walk across, which we did! Oh, and the food? It's rave worthy.
In our book, Rat's and Grounds for Sculpture are top destinations, especially for a first or second date, anniversary, special celebration, or just because. It's where you can spend hours delighted by the vista, the food, and each other's company — or just your own! Such is love, wondrous love. And we hope you surround yourself by it!
So, remember, 2021 is going to be a great one! Grab it by the horns and take it for a ride!
Until next time, peace!