Recommended listening while reading this article:
Glenn Gould plays Georges Bizet Nocturne in D major
As the end of the year approaches, there is much to do about getting things wrapped up in 2015 (finish the year strong!), setting New Year’s resolutions (2016 is going to be the year I go to the gym!), and an overall sense of movement or rushing (holiday obligations!). This is ironic, seasonally-speaking, as this is the time of year when things slow down: leaves fall from the trees, bears hibernate, ice slows the flow of the stream. What would it be like if you took a different, gentler approach to year’s end?
Freedom from the rushing and the frantic-ness. From email and your to do list. From the voice that tells you there’s still plenty to do and you need to get on it, that slowing down is for sissys.
I’m proposing Absolution.
Absolution Origin: Absolve
act of absolving; a freeing from blame or guilt; release from consequences, obligations, or penalties.
1. to free from guilt or blame or their consequences.
2. to set free or release, as from some duty, obligation, or responsibility.
The end of the year is a handy marker. You can look back at what the year has brought, what you did and didn’t do, what you tried that did or didn’t work, what you hoped to accomplish yet didn’t get to, and everything else. Absolution offers you a way to clear the year, let yourself off the hook for what remains undone or lingering. You can free yourself from the tyranny of your to-do list and the relentless drive to keep moving forward, from the voice that says you’ve messed it all up / what have you done for me lately / there’s too much to do to be sitting around doing nothing / if you let yourself off the hook you’re being irresponsible.
A fresh start. The act of being freed from blame or guilt. Of releasing yourself from obligations and consequences. Of letting go, and exercising self-compassion. Of granting yourself permission, space, and generosity of spirit. Of having breathing room, and relief.
For the remaining eight days of 2015 I encourage you to stop the flogging and obsession with getting one more thing done, of feeling irresponsible because you didn’t finish something or get back to someone. Absolution means you’re released, and there are no consequences, because you said so, and because you are the boss of you.