By Megan Johnson McCullough
The month of January brings a fresh energy to our mind, body, and spirit, as if we have a new blank slate to the upcoming year. As a gal who is constantly ambitious and driven, January doesn’t mean a fresh start to me, rather, it means how can I do what I’m doing better? Physically, my goals are centered upon bodybuilding and sculpting my physique to its best. Mentally and spiritually go hand in hand for me, which is centering my thoughts on serenity and being grounded by prayer. This means letting go of anything or even anyone in 2021 that impedes upon my anxious thoughts and worries. If I want more space or let’s say, better used space in my head, some cleaning out and organizing has to be done. My intentions for 2022 have been to pause and pray before actions (grounding myself through prayer) and to accept the wisdom that I cannot control people, places, or things. Within the act of acceptance lies the art of patience. A lot of being goal driven and a go-getter is the expectation that when I act, the receiving end acts accordingly. That is not always true. For example, as I close out the end of my Doctoral schooling, I want immediate feedback on my writing and questions. Therein lies the lesson of me not being able to control people, places, or things. The response will come when it comes. Why in my past (2021 and well my whole life) have I spent any time worrying in anticipation of when that response will come? Not only that, I rehearse what that response will say. Then I plan my response to that response and the outlook thereafter. Back to square one, there hasn’t even been a response yet. Why did I lose sleep over that script I drafted in my head all last night about that response? Instead, 2022 is the year of, send the email, pray for what God wants to happen with that email (not for the script I want to be in control of), and accept that the response will come when it comes.
So for 2022, I’m looking forward to peace of mind. January has flown by. It has been a start that can bring variables to my life that I again, am not able to control, but seem to control my energy. For example, being a fitness studio owner, January can be a time of high enrollment. This is a blessing for a small business. Again, I am not able to control people signing up and starting. Rather, for everyone that does, my focus is to be thankful. For everyone that continues to train longer with me than they originally signed up for, I’m grateful. Pausing and praying after each sign up expressed my gratitude and again I go back to the original prayer of asking for what God wants for my studio, not what I want which in my selfish days was as many sign ups as practically possible. Being patient for signups is always another must. 2022 also kicked off with the research study for my Doctorate taking place. Participants were asked to do a 3-week exercise journal, and let me tell you, those 3 weeks were grueling for me. I felt like I just wanted to be productive and write my results when I didn’t even have the results back. Part of that was excitement and part of that was again the lesson in God’s timing and in patience. The 3 weeks will be over when the 3 weeks will be over and maybe I should be thankful to just have 3 weeks of no school.
Much of the anxiety I’m working to let go from years before can relate to the insecurities I feel when I am not in control. It’s hard for me to rely and depend on others. It’s hard for me to ask for help when I think I can get it done more efficiently. Yet, 2022 has already shown me the benefits of shifting my focus to serenity and letting go of anything in the moment that cannot be answered or completed in that moment. What does writing a screenplay at 1am in my head about a response to an email contribute to the timing and actual words of that response? Nothing. I’ve already begun to sleep better in 2022. I’ve even noticed while driving in my car that I don’t even enjoy listening to music anymore. Music blocked out the screenwriting I was doing. Now, I say a prayer of being thankful for each step of the day that has already happened, and it is as if my thoughts are clear. I don’t need any noise or distraction. Silence is soothing to me, when before the noise in my head would still drown out the loud music playing. The volume level of anxious thoughts has been lowered, not yet muted, but I’m so grateful for less of these fears and worries. It’s funny that we tend to live in a world where a new year might ask for more, like more working out, more healthy eating, more vacations, etc. I want to better what I have, finish what I’ve started, and to have less anxiety. My progress for month one of 2022 seems almost lightyears ahead of even December 2021. I will leave the script for the 11 remaining months to my higher power.