And 2017 Begins!

Jan 01, 2017

A new year, a new beginning, a new chance to do it better, to apply the lessons we’ve had the opportunity to learn in previous months and years.

Recently, an idea was shared with me about similar experiences and places: Why compare? Why not appreciate each as they are. And so as 2017 begins and 2016 is placed in the archives to reflect upon and remember for the joy it brought as well as the challenges it presented, why not see 2016 as the stepping stone to making 2017 even better than imagined?

“Think of our behavior in terms of being more or less skillful rather than in terms of good and bad.” —Thich Nhat Hanh in How to Love)

What lessons were presented to you to learn, or revealed to you that you needed to improve upon in the past year?  The quote above is a gentle reminder that living well is a skill. It is something we learn how to do based on observing the proper models, practicing what we have learned and coming to fully understand why we are doing what we practice. Tomorrow’s first episode of the podcast in 2017 will dive deeply into a very particular and important skill to learn for an improved quality of living. But whether 2016 was a year for the record books for the goodness it brought or the frustration, why not reflect upon it as a map guiding you to where you can go successfully so long as you choose the improvements that need a bit of tuning up?

Here is another thought to ponder along the same vein,

“If we take good care of ourselves, we help everyone.” —Thich Nhat Hanh in How to Love

The goodness that you seek begins by tending to yourself. As I shared on Afternoon Live this past Friday (view the video here), what is it that you most want, but that because of a fear standing in the way, you haven’t taken that leap yet? Why not take the leap? Why not take that important risk? This is your life. This is your one and only life, and it is finite. While simply putting out into the universe what you desire will not guarantee it will materialize, it is far more likely to eventually become a reality at some point once you do.

A concept was recently introduced to me via a book I was given by my father called the Adjacent Possible. In other words “Each new combination opens up the possibility of other new combinations”. And to reframe for what we’re talking about today, each time you open new possibilities in your life, sharing with the world your truth, you open yourself up to new possibilities that were originally closed to you. In other words you are enabling what you seek to become more possible each time you take a step toward it.

Take a look at either image above. Both reveal clouds and glimmers of blue sky. Focus on the beautiful aesthetic that is cultivated as both are present. Unexpectedly there is a revelation, an awareness made known, that we must experience both struggle and celebration in order to move forward successfully. While we will want to focus on the items to celebrate (in this case the sun which I was moved to dance giddily about on the coast as it had unexpectedly shown itself yesterday morning during our walk), we do not want to forget to apply the lessons the clouds provide enabling us to move forward and become more skilled living our lives well.

So let’s make 2017 a year where we make the life we desire more capable of unfolding. Let’s begin to make the small changes, one at a time. Let’s change our minds to work for us, rather than against us. Let’s adopt behaviors that enrich us rather than break us down. Let’s be hopeful and take action, rather than worrisome and passive.

We cannot be guaranteed anything, but we can put the odds in our favor.

Bonne Année.

~New Year’s Inspiration from the Archives:

~Back to Simple in 2015

~Why Not . . . Make This Your Year? (2014)

~Why Not . . . Prep for a Wonderful 2013?

~To a Simply Luxurious 2012

~Looking Ahead to a Simply Amazing 2011 (a three month to-do list to make the year great)



20 thoughts on “And 2017 Begins!

  1. Happy New Year, Shannon! Watched your “Afternoon Live” appearance and appreciated the idea of taking on fewer, more specific goals. Years aren’t meant to be compared, one to the other, because we’ll never have “the best” year at that rate! They’re meant to be lived, learned from, and enjoyed as much as possible.

    Your advice is so practical – do things that enrich us. Indeed a good start to 2017. All the best!

  2. I always see the new year is a blank canvas that beckons to be filled with endless memories, love, joy, happiness, enriching friendships, intrigue, inspiration all while preserving the moment in pictures

  3. The Simply Luxurious Life was one of my favorite discoveries of 2016. I look forward to all you have to share in the coming year. Wishing you a simply chic 2017!

  4. Happy New Year Shannon! Thank you so much for your wise, thoughtful essay, and for the beautiful photos. To live so close to such a glorious spot – heaven! I have decided 2017 will be a year of changes, small and large – more fun, more beauty, more depth, more love – and I find so much inspiration in your blog and book (which I’m currently re-reading as a jumpstart to the year). I especially appreciate your simple, practical solutions and love your lists – the 3-month plan from your 2011 newsletter and the ‘back to simple’ 2015 list – awesome. Wishing you a very happy, healthy and ‘simply luxurious’ 2017. Best regards, Catherine H

  5. Happy New Year Shannon
    Watched Afternoon Live – Thank you for sharing yourself with us. Appreciated very much the practical thoughts of not overloading oneself with too many goals, and taking one big risk. Also read your blog and was very encouraged by your quotes and am going into this new year with a much more positive outlook. Thank you .

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