This past year I was in Florida with friends for a wedding. We were unfamiliar with the area and were relying on the GPS to get where we were going. The day of the wedding, the GPS directed us in circles several times, leading us into the sea of frustration instead of the bliss of wedding joy. We were under several overpasses, and Garmin couldn’t seem to get a handle on our location. These external structures caused confusion, disruption and blocked goals. Common sense screamed, “turn- off the GPS and ask some locals for directions.” So we did, and these nice folks knew the area and from experience explained how to get to our destination. Our small and annoying circular detour was minor with little loss. We arrived at our destination shortly after, frazzled but happy.

The new calendar year invites us to reevaluate our goals, examine our behaviors, and reflect upon choices. It is a time to get off the hamster wheel of life and Notice if we are headed in the right direction, and determine if this destination reflects what we visualized it to be. This is a good season to recalculate if we got off track and are going in circles. And of course, if we are not sure what that end point is, we may want to stop what we are doing and ask for directions if needed.

As we look back at our lives, the lives of others, or even stories in the news this past year, we can’t help but reflect on times that touched us deeply. Some reflections create a sense of awe and joy, while others stir emotions of anger and sadness. What is important to Notice is our reaction as it communicates what we want and value. This is important stuff. These reactions and desires are the coordinates that direct our choices, which are grounded in values that reflect and create our worldview. If we are not grounded and consistent to what we truly want from our short time here on Earth, we will experience distress and confusion; saying one thing and doing another without even being aware of it. Take time now to ponder where you experienced peace and where there was unfruitful energy or a lack of harmony in your life. Do you find contradiction or disconnection between what you feel and how you live, or is there congruency and harmony?

The saying goes, “If you don’t know where you are going, then you will get there.” We’ve left 2015 but where do we go in 2016? Where did we get off track last year or over the past several years for that matter? Have our choices doomed us to a future just like the past in some areas or is there hope for a better one?

The good news is, there is hope, and a lot of it. First, celebrate all the good that you have experienced and created. Stop and smell the roses of positive experiences. This is the fuel that keeps us moving forward with optimism. For the areas we want to re-route, we must stop and accept being off track, give grace to ourselves, take the good that came from it and move forward by different means. We now know what to avoid the next time.

Remember life is a process of choices and results, good and not good, and then more choices and results. Each choice is informed from past experience, and from this we continue to learn and grow. We cannot change past choices, but we can always stop, learn and grow from them. This is where our hope resides, new mercies open to each of us with every new day.

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