WELCOME TO THE YEAR OF 2021
And this should tell us one very special, very important thing, we all have capacity. Whether you’re aware of it or not, this past year has pushed us all to develop more capacity in our emotional lives. And in order to continue to cultivate our capacity, we need to break down how we developed it over the past year.
FIRST: WHAT IS CAPACITY?
The most common definitions are: “The maximum amount that something can contain.” “The ability, capability, or fitness to do something.” “The ability to contain or deal with something.” “Mental or physical power.”
More often than not, capacity refers to containment and how much something can hold. A theater is at capacity. The cup is over capacity. The object cannot hold any more. It’s at its max. It’s reached its limit. I think we can all remember a moment in 2020 when we felt our emotional edges. I know I can. And it was being pressed up against these limits that had us grow past them. The struggle of 2020 was also the gift. The pain it caused also instigated growth. The challenge was also the opportunity.
So how did we cultivate capacity unknowingly? In 2020, we were all served up two key ingredients for transformation: intensity and consistency. The intensity was all around us and many felt that intensity internally as well, on an emotional level. The consistency was found in being asked to adjust and show up otherwise without relief. We were all asked, on a consistent basis, to do things differently. And when we have intensity and consistency operating, we open to transformation.
Thus, I welcome you to a new year as a new you. Whether you knew it or not, you have gained capacity, new strength to hold and contain the emotional spectrum of life!
But why is capacity so important?
Our individual capacity defines our life experience. I’m pointing to our life experience as our ability to know ourselves, relate to others, have deep meaningful relationships, feel like contributing and impactful citizens, and continue to consciously create and embrace our lives. Our ability to safely hold the inner ups and downs in the way the sky holds the weather, or a mother holds in her arms the many expressions of her child, directly correlates to our quality of life.
Yet, the most beautiful thing about capacity is that you’re never stuck with the limits of what you’ve learned. You can always create more! And that’s what we want, greater emotional capacity.
2020 gave us the opportunity to grow capacity, perhaps, without realizing it. So now that we know how important is it, let’s consciously cultivate it in 2021. Together, we can use my favorite little exercise that takes a few minutes a day.
Step 1 – Pick a word any love-based word (*see suggestions below)
Step 2 – Focus on cultivating the emotional experience of this word through imagination
Step 3 – Be loyal to this inner experience; choose it over old patterns of familiar reaction
*Love based words: love, peace, harmony, joy, connection, power, clarity, vitality, unity, intimacy, passion, trust, tenderness, compassion, devotion, faith, vibrancy, health….
Every time, you breathe through an old familiar pattern of reaction (anger, frustration, shut-down, sadness), and pick up your chosen love-based word instead, you are consciously cultivating capacity!
Let’s learn to manage our inner state rather than be in reaction to it. Let’s grow capacity to hold the great expanse of human emotion and learn to be the container of love that our inner life can rise and fall safely inside of. As the more we can have capacity for ourselves, the more we have for others. We lead with genuine curiosity and heart, able to manage whatever we discover inside along the way. We are less reactionary, more stable, more consistent, more fearless, and more trustworthy. By nature of this, people feel more accepted and safer in our presence. Thus, the more capacity we have collectively, the more transformed and united our world can become.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!