Dear Ted: It’s time for gentle reflection now that 2017 is here


Another year has come and gone and we find ourselves on the doorstep of 2017. For most us, before we step through that doorway, there is a moment to look back and review the year as well as life in general. This can be a healthy process in which introspection allows us to glean wisdom from our personal history.

Shedding the story and collecting the wisdom is a natural need for the psyche and allows us to evolve and grow to our full potential. Often, we will be caught defending the past, fighting for a victim position or being caught in guilt and remorse from something we cannot do anything about to change. Here’s the great thing: We may not be able to change the past, but we can make amends for a past situation and allow our psyche to respond differently in the future. It is wise to review our history with tender gloves and love, as decisions from the past that may have not served us are the lessons that let us know we will do it differently this year.

If we only blame ourselves or others, we will be caught in an emotional quagmire in which there is more of a tendency to repeat the situation all over again. There is some great truth in the recovery statement of, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, thinking you will have a different result.” Do the emotional work and see, hear and value your emotions — and then empower yourself to release whatever it is that is holding you emotionally hostage.

While reviewing your past, honor the lessons, and with a sense of forgiveness to yourself or others, you may find it possible to step through the threshold of the new year with a feeling of purity and gratitude. As you contemplate your New Year’s resolutions, it is always worthwhile to see what is truly doable rather than set the goals so high they are not attainable.

One way to think about this is to imagine a ladder and set goals in which you can scaffold toward each benchmark step by step. Our internal and external systems enjoy a level of status quo in which we adapt to a level of familiarity and only then ready ourselves for the next step. As you move up the ladder, each rung offers a foothold for the next step. I encourage you to set reasonable and attainable goals in order to avoid a sense of futility and failure.

As you step into 2017, take the time to revisit the successes and events that brought joy from your past. Balancing joy and sorrow can lead to a level of serenity. Perhaps you can find an acceptance that both of these realities exist simultaneously, and with discernment, wisdom, kindness and compassion, you can navigate the waters of life while finding joy and growth in this new year.

I want to thank each and every one of you, as well as The Taos News, for allowing this article of potential hope and healing to be available and read. May 2017 be a year of healing and gratitude for each and every moment you have on this earth. Blessings to each of you.

I wish you well. Until next year, take care.

Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct questions to Wiard, founder, at (575) 776-2024 or