Happy New Year Everyone! Luckily, the world did not end as the Mayan Calendar predicted; rather, others are marking 2013 as the year of ‘New-Beginnings.’ I find this particularly applicable given many important chapters in my life finally came to a close at the end of this year. Even though it can be sad to move on from the past, it is also exciting to look to the future--full of endless possibilities. We can never predict what our future might hold for us, but we can control our actions. It is important to make some time for yourself to follow the mantra: PAUSE, BREATHE, BECOME AWARE, REFLECT and ACT.

I was lucky enough to create some time while I was on the beach gazing into the Atlantic Ocean. It was a peaceful place for me to PAUSE, BREATHE, BECOME AWARE, REFLECT and ACT. I feel connected to the Atlantic because some of my mother’s ashes are there, and I feel her spirit when I stand in the water. I took the time to PAUSE my mind and body, BREATHE in the fresh ocean air, BECOME AWARE of myself and my surroundings, and REFLECT on this past year. I thought about how lucky I am to be standing here healthy, happy and breathing--while sadly, my dear mother is not. I realized I must continue to breathe and live for her and was inspired to not waste my breathe on petty issues or unpleasant situations. I must continue to ACT by living life to the fullest and accomplishing my own dreams and goals.

Suggestions: Follow the mantra to PAUSE, BREATHE, BECOME AWARE, REFLECT and ACT. Create time to think about this past year and the goals you have accomplished and the people whose lives you have touched. Then think about this future year. Create a list of ways you can become a better YOU. I am not suggesting to create New Years resolutions (like going to the gym more) that don’t necessarily stick, but spend some time reflecting on your behaviors and create ways that you can slowly and consciously ACT. For instance, waking up in the morning with an optimistic perspective, smiling more throughout your day or just becoming aware of how you interact with yourself and others. Remember this is the year of ‘New- Beginnings’, so don’t let your past hold you back. Make sure YOU ACT and live each day bigger, better, and brighter than ever before!

Don’t waste your breath. You have one body and one mind, so make friends with them!