A Recipe for Feminine Rest in a Masculine World
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"The chances of you making a lasting change on January first is 1 in 365."
—Sarah Jordan in Resolute Reflection
One of the most pivotal, life-altering moments in my life happened on November 24, a day that could have easily been just another day.
The change was one I had been craving for years.
No New Year's resolution had made much headway, no amount of resolve let me claim the life I wanted just because the calendar turned over. The change came when I was ready to receive it, on a random November afternoon.
Sarah Jordan, my cycle-syncing coach, helped me understand why I was finally ready that November and not before. Even better, she showed me how to use that understanding to bring about the changes I want, instead of waiting around until the time happens to be right.
She gave me this recipe that I now share with you with her permission.
How to have a restful, fulfilling new year
The significance of New Year's Day is found in marking the passage of time. Time passing brings growth and growth brings change, but January first isn't special. Just because it marks the turning of a year doesn't make it different from any other date on the calendar.
That random day in November marked a more significant turn than any New Year's Day ever had.
We attach big expectations and hopes to a new year and, in so doing, set ourselves up for disappointment. Why? Because we cannot count on a new year to revolutionize everything that has brought us to this point.
We had 11 months to make a change, waiting for New Year's Day and treating it like a golden ticket that will let us into the chocolate factory where we will find everything we've ever wanted.
There's no magic wand or golden ticket.
Time alone does not heal all wounds, and time alone does not bring the positive change we crave. The passing of time is simply a measure. Our souls know no years. Our spirits know no January first. Our souls, our spirits, our beings know only life experiences.
Waiting makes time ache. Sitting in the doctor's office as time drags on, waiting and waiting to be called. Dark nights of insomnia spent wondering when we will finally accomplish those goals that seem to hover out of reach.
There are moments too when time stands still. Reading—or writing—and sinking so deeply into the story that our perception of time ceases to exist. Being so present in a conversation with a good friend that before we know it the afternoon is gone.
On my wedding day I banished all timepieces from the room where I was getting ready. No phones, no clocks, no watches. As I waited for my fiancé to arrive time could have easily ached, but I made it stand still. Once I had put on my dress and simple makeup I sipped a homemade latte and wrote in my journal.
Choosing to be purposefully in the moment and losing time like this happens when we lean into our feminine.
"Leaning into our feminine" isn't something only women can do nor does it mean that all women do it well. Feminine and masculine are not mutually exclusive. They exist as Yin and Yang, two halves of the same whole, two sides of the same coin. One is not superior to the other. There is a time for each, and both will be a part of this recipe for rest.
Capturing moments when time stands still is the first ingredient:
1. Record five moments from the past year when time stood still
Reflection is often tainted by planning, but for this recipe to work we must separate the two. We will come back to the resolutions later.
First simply look back on the past year and remember.
Don't jog your memory with photos or social media. Sit with a notebook and pen and remember the moments that stand out on their own. Moments so significant that your brain cemented them into place. Times you can relive and feel from the tips of your fingers to the core of your soul.
Look for the moments bathed in gratitude, joy, excitement, but balance that with the knowledge that you don't get the joy moments in the absence of the anger ones. You can't have the gratitude moments in the absence of the betrayal ones. This is duality and you will often feel from both sides at the same time.
You may be surprised at which memories come to the surface.
Embrace them and remember the deep feelings. Find words for them and write them down. Record these moments when time stood still.
This kind of reflection will bring meaning to the new year, meaning that will last a lifetime.
2. Write a list of goals for the coming year
These first two exercises are equally important and deserve equal space. Keeping a separation between them is vital. In fact, I recommend doing the first exercise before bed and then this exercise the next morning.
First we leaned into our feminine, now we create space for the masculine.
Look at what you want to DO. Goals, desires, intentions... it doesn't matter what you call them. What do you want to accomplish come this time next year?
Dream. This coming year could hold anything for you. Write it down, whatever that "anything" is.
Resolute /ˌrɛzəˈlut/ admirably purposeful
As you make resolutions, make them admirably purposeful. Recognize that because they are very masculine there is an inherent risk of them dissolving by the end of January or February. Listing goals will not in and of itself ensure that you will accomplish them.
That's why we will return to our feminine with the next exercise.
3. Add a single word to each goal on your list
It sounds fantastic to say, "My goal is to have $10,000 in my savings account." But if that results in anxiety-ridden penny-pinching, then when you finally do have $10k in the bank you aren't going to feel how you want to feel.
So set those masculine intentions for the year, and balance them with feminine intentions.
Add one word beside each goal that you have written down—a word that sums up how you want to feel when this goal has been accomplished.
The feeling attached to the goal is going to change how you show up tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next and will keep you actually working toward your goals.
4. Now make the list that really matters
Doing these three exercises means we are lightyears beyond the typical resolution-writer. Sarah aspires to be and work with women who choose to be 1% of the population. So do I.
The average individual is not going to make this effort.
This final exercise is the key to a truly restful, fulfilling new year. Will you join me?
Look at your list of intentions for the coming year and think about the people you know who have the things on that list—the things you desire.
These people have so much love for themselves and are so focused on what they desire in their life that they show up every day to do whatever it takes to accomplish whatever it is that they want.
They might be people you've met, or they could be people you follow online and aspire to meet someday.
Consider who they are. Not their names, but who they had to become in order to embody the lives that they have—because that life didn't just show up on January first.
Before they had the new car that didn't constantly break down, the homestead outside of town, or the 6-figure income, they became someone who could receive those things.
We want to take a walk in the woods and hear... nothing. To own a library of books we have read. To sleep peacefully at night. But we don't stop to consider who we would need to be in order to have that life.
This is the missing piece of New Year's resolutions.
The person who wants to lose 10 or 15 or 30 pounds won't be satisfied with that if she isn't satisfied with herself now. If she doesn't love her overweight self now she won't love her athletic self later.
When I choose to become the person who is a match for my desires, when I hire the coach that will guide me there, when I sit in gratitude for the here and now, I will move toward my goals—and reach them.
I write from a hand-me-down couch typing on a laptop almost too slow to stream music and I choose gratitude—gratitude for this couch and this laptop as well as the brand new furniture and ideal computer setup that I will have soon. This kind of gratitude keeps me moving forward.
"When you choose to be in gratitude for who you are now and what you have now and you look at that 2022 list and ask yourself, 'Who is it that I get to become in order to have the things on this list?' that's when you self-actualize that 2022 list."
—Sarah Jordan in Resolute Reflection
So take your list, with the masculine goals you want to accomplish and the feminine emotions that you want to feel as you do, and make another list alongside it.
Who is the person who embodies each of these goals? What does she do in the morning? How does she take care of her body? How does she take care of her mind? How does she treat the teller at the bank? How does she speak to her husband?
Who is she? Write it out in detail.
Once you have this new list, don't even look at the other two lists you made for the coming year. Look at your description of the person who accomplishes those intentions and then, one step at a time, embody each piece of who she is.
I don't know what goals you wrote down, but I'll show you a few of mine. In fact, I'll share all four of my responses to these exercises:
Exercise 1: Record five moments from the past year when time stood still
The moment from 2021 most violently seared into my memory was when I stepped out of the bathtub holding my newborn and wondered if I would pass out before the paramedics arrived.
Birthing at home had been the plan, but as soon as my daughter was in my arms I could tell something wasn't right. To summarize what I have written elsewhere about this experience, I had a brush with death and will never be the same. I chose to live more fully than I ever had wanted to before and I chose to be strong.
A very different moment comes to mind next: traipsing through the wood behind our RV park home with my baby brother, now as tall as I am.
He and our dad came to visit in the middle of summer. This walk in the wood was so different from the desert hikes we grew up with. It had just rained and everything smelled damp, not in the musty moldy way, but alive and fresh.
Even six months pregnant, I felt stronger than I had on any of those desert hikes. At the same time, I held a heavy shield—a defense against potential judgement. Having dad and brother see our lives, lives we had deliberately moved away from them and the rest of my family of origin, was uncomfortable.
I chose to be okay with that.
Stepping back from the last memory, my mind jumps back to a moment in labor. The contractions only got really painful during the final hour and I found a coping mechanism entirely different from any I had used during previous births.
Some women use pleasurable stimulation to redirect labor sensations. This wasn't exactly that, but it was adjacent. Earlier in the year I had leaned into a new level of trauma healing. Sometimes in bed with my husband certain sensations would register as painful, not pleasurable, because of past experiences. In 2021 I chose to rewrite the story etched into my body and leaned into sensation, embracing it even, until pain gave way to pleasure.
I conjured those memories and traced those new pathways as the pain increased during labor and it was incredible. It rewrote the story that birth must be excruciating and instead made it an extension of the enjoyable experience that had brought that baby into my womb in the first place.
Memory bounces me back to April. The four of us and as many of our possessions as we could fit were all crammed into our car and headed East.
Moments earlier I had felt anything but ready, yet it was time to go and so we went. On the highway leaving town I could breathe again. No more anxiety about forgetting to pack things or remembering to tie up loose ends. We were finished and on our way and it felt so right.
Up until now these strong memories have been primarily positive, even with the tension and pain mixed in. This final memory has very little sweet to cut the bitter.
I was alone in the dark on the floor of our empty living room, children thankfully asleep. My husband was in the ER.
The fear on my shoulders was heavy, not so much from what it drew from the present, but all the weight of the past. My husband was supposed to be the strong one. He had been the strong one for so long when I was the one close to death. Now everything was upside-down and inside-out.
I tried to be grateful for the friend who took him to the hospital in the middle of the night. I tried to be grateful for that friend's wife who stayed up with me on the phone until I could think straight. But gratefulness could not fully detangle me from being suffocated by anxiety.
It does now that he is well, but it couldn't then.
Exercise 2: Write a list of goals for the coming year
This step was difficult for me for some reason. I'm afraid to aim too low as much as I'm afraid to aim too high, so I decided to write down milestones to cross. Instead of setting an income goal for the year, I look forward to crossing the 6-figure milestone. Maybe that will happen in December, maybe it will happen in March! The timeline matters little to me and frees me to fly past these goals if I want to.
Therefore a sampling of my list is as follows, in no particular order:
- Bring in $100,000+ gross income through our business Civilized Animal Productions
- Write daily
- Publish weekly
- Publish my novel, Consumption
- Make my girls matching outfits
- Sew or knit something new every month
- Read from a physical book before bed
- Outsource video editing tasks within our business
- Start a video podcast or live show
- Go outside every day
Exercise 3: Add a single word to each goal on your list
- Bring in $100,000+ gross income through our business Civilized Animal Productions [helpful]
- Write daily [open]
- Publish weekly [connected]
- Publish my novel, Consumption [accomplished]
- Make my girls matching outfits [blessed - here's why]
- Sew or knit something new every month [creative]
- Read from a physical book before bed [peaceful]
- Outsource video editing tasks within our business [free]
- Start a video podcast or live show [expressive]
- Go outside every day [grounded]
Exercise 4: Make the list that really matters
The woman who achieves and feels these things, the woman I want to be...
- ...focuses on finding the clients who will truly benefit from the Testimonial Harvester. From discovery call through creation and delivery, she prioritizes crafting a package that is truly helpful to each client.
- ...doesn't get hung up on whether she is using a physical notebook, her phone, or a computer. She simply writes, letting words flow out without worrying what will be done with them or who may read them.
- ...shares her writing with the world without fear, knowing that each piece will resonate with the people it is meant to connect with.
- ...accomplishes what she sets out to do, even if it takes years or requires stepping away for a time before coming back to complete what she has begun.
- ...celebrates her children and the hope fulfilled that they represent, clothing them with beautiful gifts she has made with her own hands.
- ...extends her creative expression beyond the digital space and works with her hands to craft beautiful and useful things from fiber and fabric.
- ...is not an insomniac but embraces peace as night falls, choosing activities that prepare her for sleep.
- ...relinquishes control and frees up time for herself and her husband by giving over certain tasks to others without fear.
- ...creates and produces not only for the sake of increasing revenue, but in order to express what she wants the world to know.
- ...is not married to her digital life but has a habit of grounding herself in the natural world.
The masculine way to take a rest looks like blocking out time on your calendar free of appointments or booking a spa day. What you have just read is not a recipe for that sort of rest.
This is a recipe for the kind of rest that seeps into every area, that flows and moves gracefully one day into the next. This is a recipe for feminine rest.
A fulfilling life doesn't come from setting intentions once a year. The new year, the transition from 2021 to 2022, is just the passing of time—the same as the transition from November 30 to December 1 or even November 23 to November 24.
Stop counting on the passing of time and choose to count on you.
Rest and fulfillment come when you are ready. Or put more precisely, when you make yourself ready.
If you are fully—mind, body, and soul—behind making a change and keeping it in January and June and December, what is holding you back from making that change before New Year's day? What will make you do something differently in the coming year that you are not willing to do today?
There's no one coming to give you a golden ticket. Just you. Are you willing to show up for yourself now?
Take a moment to honestly answer the question.
If the answer is no, why?
A new year doesn't make you more worthy. It doesn't make you want to show up for yourself, read that stack of books, start your dream business, or learn to sew. That can happen at any point.
What makes a goal matter more—what makes you matter more—on January 1?
It's not until you look back that hindsight reveals the significant shifts for what they were. It wasn't until after the fact that I realized that November 24 wasn't "just another day."
Like Sarah said, the chances of it happening on January first is 1 in 365.
So why wait?
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If you have read this far and have resonated with these exercises, consider going deeper with coach Sarah by joining her free group online. I am not an affiliate of hers nor have I been paid to write this article or anything like that. I am simply a happy recipient of her wisdom and support and want others to find what I have found.