I welcomed in 2016 watching the fireworks in London on TV, the dying embers of the fire and drinking a glass of refreshingly cold water.
On my own.
I admit to feeling a bit pants about this, especially as the TV announcer urged everyone to find someone they love to count in the new year together. I looked around where I sat, on my sofa, in my pyjamas, with a blanket over my knees, and for a moment considered bounding up the stairs to wake my children, before realising that it would be a rude awakening for me to do so.
Then I heard the wind whistling down the chimney, and looked around at the cosy warm room I was in, and suddenly felt a surge of gratitude.
As the first strikes of midnight chimed from Big Ben on the TV, I closed my eyes and concentrated on each "bong" as a representation of each month of the year passing by, allowing the flashes of memories, pain, stress or joy to boom out through my heart and into the ether. As the first fireworks exploded into the night skies of London, coupled with the fireworks in my town, I concentrated on the silence and the stillness within me. There was no further feeling of sadness, or joy, or stress: I felt free. A blank sheet of paper fluttered into my mind, as if by invitation, asking me to make some marks on it.
So, here is my first mark of 2016.
It did matter to me that I was not celebrating with friends or family, last night. It did matter that I felt some tinges of sadness when I blew out my tea lights and went to bed, hearing the revelry going on outside and all around me. But I was OK with feeling the sadness. Sometimes, a client will tell me how hard they find it to switch off the sadness and make themselves feel positive. I say that it's not a question of turning off the emotions we don't want to feel, as this is not being truthful with ourselves. It is about being able to accept our emotions without judging ourselves or chastising ourselves for not being positive. It's what you do, how you choose to focus on these thoughts that matter: either you accept them, and accept that this is who you are - much like how you feel differently when you have a headache, but you know that you can take steps to clear the pain - and then when the pain disappears you feel back to yourself, again.
So this year is going to be great for me, because I accept who I am, I believe that I am going to be making great progress, life will have its ups and downs and I will deal with them, mindfully, emotionally, intelligently, and with love for the life I wish to lead.