Reflections are great opportunities not only to do the obvious (to consider something, i.e. to reflect). They are also important in prompting change. What use is there to deliberation, after all, if we do not have an inclination to progress toward the better? I prefer to reflect when I make art. Recently, I had gotten back into the habit of punch needle embroidery, which is repetitive and meditative in the same way that I feel crocheting and knitting can be. Over the break, I had embroidered two stool coverings, and gifted one to a loved one. In this way, the method for reflection can also result in a tangible product that shares joy with others. I find this to be the main reason for why I prefer art making to other practises like yoga and running for reflection.
I often listen to podcasts while I work. When browsing through Spotify, I stumbled across an episode discussing the significance of new year’s resolutions. Although we can improve upon ourselves at any time of the year, the idea of the new year’s resolution is helpful in reminding us (and for giving us the extra encouragement) to make our changes a reality.
I considered this, and decided my resolution would be to make better eye contact with others. I have always found it challenging to look people in the eye (e.g. when a barista is taking my order) because I find it both intimidating and distracting. But at the same time, I really appreciate when others are looking me in the eye when I have something to say, for then it shows they are paying attention. Since deciding on this resolution, I have been more active in reminding myself to hold someone’s gaze when they are speaking. I also noticed that every time I made the active decision to hold onto their gaze longer, I felt a small jolt of pride for sticking through with a resolution.
Although the pandemic continues to keep me at home and (physically) away from many of the activities that define my life (going to class on campus, visiting a library to check out a new bestseller), I am still optimistic for what this year will bring. I had learned a lot in my online courses, and had the chance to meet up with my classmates and professors in-person as well. There is no reason for why 2022 cannot bring as many great memories and valuable life lessons as 2021.
I really appreciated having a winter break to spend more time with my mom, our dog Haidyn, and myself. I enjoyed being able to sit down and to listen to both my thoughts, the continual rat-at-at-at of the embroidery needle, and the distant hum of a podcast in the background. I hope you also enjoyed your break, and that you are as excited as I am about this new year!