The Mindful Path – New Beginnings

By Marilyn Halpern, MSW, LSW ~

January is the namesake of Janus, the Roman God of doors, gates, beginnings and endings.  He is depicted as a man with two heads, one head looking forward and one looking backward.  Simultaneously, he could see the future and the past. Reflecting on Janus can aid our mindful journey, as we contemplate the past year and plan for a remarkable 2020. The poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, inspires us, “Now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”

Janus allows us to pause as we reflect on our past and envision our future.  As we begin a new year, how do we prepare to be intentional with our time and have the confidence to set out on a new path?  How do we become more closely aligned with our values? Our thought patterns have created our habits which may or may not support our wellbeing and life purpose. If we have the courage to change our thoughts, we can change our habits.  We can venture onto a new path.

For our January mindfulness exercise, begin by limiting distractions. Gather a pen and paper to have on hand to jot down your thoughts after the meditation. Set a timer for 5 – 20 minutes.  Center yourself by feeling your breath expand your chest and abdomen. Begin with three deep, natural breaths. For this meditation, we are going to focus on the coolness of air as you breathe in through your nose.  To exhale purse your lips and gently blow the air from your mouth.  

You will feel your body relax.  Notice any areas of the body that are stressed, painful or tense.  As you breathe in, imagine those areas relaxing and softening with your breath.  As your relaxed state increases, breathe comfortably and deeply. As you expand your lungs, concentrate on the words, “begin anew with purpose.”  Continue the exercise until the timer rings or your time has ended.

Often this exercise will conjure up thoughts, be prepared to write down what comes to your mind.  Try to incorporate this restful practice into your week and see how your thoughts change throughout the month.  January is a perfect time to reflect on what new habits are needed to create a healthier, happier year. Enjoy this time of reflecting on the past and looking forward to a purposeful year.  Let mindfulness and your breath be your guide. Imagine the possibilities!

Marilyn Halpern is a geriatric care manager and guardian in the Denver Metro area.  To learn more visit or call 720-724-0000.