Imagine – Hope

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the finish line of 2020, a truly unprecedented year. We’re a few hours away from a brand new and much needed beginning. We ought to give ourselves credit for getting through and being here, ready and able to exhale.

Is anything going to change drastically at the dawn of the New Year? Probably not, but change will come…slowly, painstakingly, deliberately, and at times, unexpectedly. ‘Tis the nature of change.

Of course! The path to heaven
doesn’t lie down in flat miles.
It’s in the imagination
with which you perceive
this world,
and the gestures
with which you honor it.
Oh, what will I do, what will I say, when those
white wings
touch the shore?

Mary Oliver
Excerpt from “The Swan”

It is customary to begin a new year by setting intentions and making resolutions. Given the year we’ve had, I feel the need to look back and reflect on the significance and lessons of 2020.

In retrospect, even without the pandemic, 2020 was earmarked for chaos. Political upheaval and racial tensions have been building for a while. Our environment has been under siege, with record-breaking wildfires burning millions of acres in California and Oregon and devastating towns and wildlife, and the busiest hurricane season on record.

The pandemic ensured that our vulnerabilities would be revealed and our false sense of security and control would crumble. Change is here to stay. If nothing else, we’ve been made to ask ourselves some hard questions.

Who are we? Who do we want to be? If “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” what now? How do we move forward?

As Mary Oliver reminds us in her poem above, there isn’t much we can accomplish without imagination and hope. The world may feel out of control and it’s easy to get discouraged but here we are, healthy and whole, resilient and grateful for having persevered, getting ready to welcome the New Year.

Tell me, how do you imagine this New Year? What are your highest hopes and how will you honor them?

No matter what happened in 2020, it’s not the end of the story, it’s only part of it. We’ve grown stronger, more resilient, and hopefully more compassionate. There are changes that have already taken hold and now it’s our turn to focus our energy on what we’ve learned so far and the positive outcomes we hope and pray for.

Our ability to dream and make personal choices has not diminished. This is when we can jumpstart our hopeful imagination and dare to envision something better.

Wishing you all a hopeful new beginning and a happy and healthy New Year!

As a life coach and retreat leader, Yota works with women seeking clarity, inspiration, and purpose in the midst of life changes. Her approach is intuitive and deeply influenced by her cultural roots, work and life experience, and her long-term practice of mindfulness meditation.

4 Comments

  • Linda Samuels

    Like you, I am a believer in looking back, or as my mom said, “taking stock,” before going forward. Today I feel a mixture of excitement and panic. While it was a doozy of a year, I haven’t done finished reflecting yet and it’s December 31st. Oh, no! So I’m not feeling ready for the year to end. Funny, right? Most people I talk with can’t wait to send 2020 packing. I get that, but I haven’t assimilated it all yet. Perhaps I don’t need to. I can still move forward without understanding everything we went through in 2020. I’m sure the learning and discoveries from this past year will continue to be revealed in the new year.

    Mixed with the panic of not feeling ready, I’m simultaneously excited about some new opportunities that are starting this week. My goal is to be open and welcoming while honoring my other commitments and priorities. I find that intention rather than goal-setting, works for me. For 2021, I’m offering these holding these words/intentions close- hope, action, and presence. Those will be my guides.

    There will be surprises, hardships, and gifts. There will be successes and failures, love, loss, delight, and sadness. I’m grateful for the many wonderful people in my life, such as you, that add grace, connection, and wisdom to my days.

    Wishing you and your beautiful family a happy, healthy, and love-filled New Year!

    • Yota Schneider

      Dear Linda,

      Thank you for your thoughtful response. Let me begin by offering my warmest congratulations for the exciting new opportunities that are waiting for you as the new year begins. Wishing you all the best, as always.

      I loved reading your full circle thinking process about not feeling ready to welcome the new year since you haven’t processed and assimilated everything that happened. I think time is fluid. Just because we’re officially entering the new year midnight December 31st, it doesn’t mean we’re embarking on a blank slate, especially with an intense year like 2020 has been. I believe we’ll continue processing, uncovering, and dealing with the impact of 2020 long after it’s been in the rear view mirror.

      Metaphorically and energetically, it feels awesome to be able to say goodbye to a year of such strife. What a relief! And, like you said, there will be surprises, hardships, and gifts. There will be successes and failures, love, loss, delight, and sadness. Hopefully our experience this past year has made us stronger, wiser, and more willing to bring our best selves forward and begin the work of healing and creating a better reality for all.

      I know you’re one of these people who make a great difference in people’s lives. Thank you for being here. I am deeply grateful for all your support and encouragement.

      Happy New Year to you and your family! May the days ahead be filled with peace, good health, and love!

  • Kathleen

    Thanks, Yota, for your lovely thoughts on hope and imagination. It got me thinking about how much the imagination is fed by hope, and how this past year has done so much to crush it. I’ve decided that my main practice this year is going to be choosing every day to let hope in. Here’s to New Beginnings!

  • YotaS

    Hi Kathleen,

    You’re right, hope feeds our imagination and imagination opens the door to possibilities. This year has tested us greatly. There are days that I have to dig deep to find my spark. I love your idea of making letting hope in a daily practice. Self-effort and Grace!

    Thank you for sharing.

    Here’s to New Beginnings! ✨❤️

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