Happy 2020 to all! Maybe because we have entered a new decade and we are in the midst of a critical election year, this year feels even more significant. It also feels full of incredible possibility. I definitely can feel the intense energy of this new year all around and even within myself. As much as I try to stay grounded and centered, I have been picking up on some of this intense “new year energy.” What do we do with all of this excitement and anticipatory energy? Where do we channel it? Do we tame it? Do we grab on to it? And how do we approach our intentions for the new year in a mindful way when there is “pushy” energy around us?

I wonder …

Because we’re in the first quarter of the year, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my new years intentions and goals for 2020, continuing to refine what I intend to accomplish this year. Most of us want to hit the ground running on January 1. Many of us even made plans for 2020 in the latter part of 2019. Whether it’s good or bad, I’m not one of those people. As much as I try, I can’t seem to start January with a clear roadmap of the year ahead.

But maybe that’s OK …

When we look to nature, it speaks of a different approach to this time of year. Some animals are hibernating; others are living off the food they stored away in the fall. Grasses, plants, and trees are dormant, resting quietly in the cold of winter. I see and hear birds in my yard, but they are not as plentiful as in the seasons of spring, summer, and even fall.

I definitely have things I want to accomplish this year … to publish my first memoir, to make enhancements to my two businesses—Writing With Donna and Merry Dissonance Press—to offer workshops and retreats that connect us to our creativity, and more.

Yet I know that some of these intentions will take time to make manifest. Some need further development, planning, collaboration, and time to incubate. And that’s what winter reminds me—to allow for the development of new ideas, to invite contemplation and introspection, to honor the time before the planting of new seeds, and to even hibernate with what I want to bring to life.

Winter is the time when much is happening underground, when life is in many ways hidden from view. All is not dead—it simply lies in dormancy. There is much taking place that we cannot see. Animals will give birth to new life in spring; trees and plants will bud and bloom. By summer all of nature will be in its radiantly abundant glory.

We can take a lesson from nature during this wintertime by continuing to make plans, set intentions, and envision what we want for ourselves, seeing how we want to serve others in this coming year, while focusing on a slower, more intentional approach.

As I create intentions and my vision for 2020, for the year and even for the decade ahead, I am giving myself the opportunity to take moments of pause—to reflect on the past and to really feel into the present and what I want for myself in the future. I am giving myself permission to go slower and take time to nourish my body, my mind, and my essence. I am honoring myself by being gentle.

Yes, I definitely have plans. And yes, I definitely have an expectation to bring these ideas to fruition. But I am enjoying this time of chats by the fireplace, candlelit meals, and the snuggle and embrace of a warm handmade shawl around my shoulders.

How are you nurturing your own creativity and plans for the future this winter?