I can almost feel your panic as you read the title of my mantra for 2017 – My Year of No Results. WTF you say?! Isn’t the new year all about setting goals, making resolutions, taking stock of where we are now and where we want to be in 12 months time? I hear you, yes I hear you and to be honest that’s pretty much been my modus operandi these last years and it has served me very very well. I have gotten a lot of shit done. In the last couple of years between work and play I’ve raised millions of dollars charity, run hundreds of kilometres including a half marathon and a bunch of mountain races, practiced more than a thousand hours of yoga, taught over a hundred yoga classes, moved from Switzerland to Sri Lanka, started a new job, visited Pakistan, Jordan, China and South Korea, taken an additional yoga teacher training course and successfully run my first yoga retreat.
I’ve got to tell you that with all that behind me in the last 24 months, it’s hard to think of goals this year. In fact I have an overwhelming desire to just be. It’s not a feeling of exhaustion or defeat, it’s more of a deep yearning to hunker down, snuggle in and just – be – me.
And in that desire to just be, I discovered the wonderful Danish concept of ‘hygge’. I’d heard this strange word (pronounced hoo-ga) before but never really understood what it meant other than the Danish are all really happy. On New Year’s Eve as I scoured the book store for yet another self help, goal setting type book, The Book of Hygge by Louisa Thomsen Brits jumped out at me instead. As I took this little, hard cover book back to a cosy sofa, I realised that 2017 is My Year of No Results and that instead I shall be enjoying a year of hygge.
For the non-Danes reading this and to quote Louisa Thomsen Brits, ‘To hygge is to invite intimacy and connection. It’s a feeling of engagement and relatedness, of belonging to the moment and to each other. Hygge is sense of abundance and contentment. Hygge is about being not having.’ Seriously people – who doesn’t want more of that?!
And so in 2017 I shall not being choosing an annual theme, or listing out my goals, or wondering how much I can get done. I admit it feels weird, almost a bit like being lost with no direction. That feeling itself worries me in a way – to feel lost just because I don’t have lofty 2017 goals? Where has my art of being gone? Why has my hammock seen so little of my lately?
Hygge is what I want this year. I shall be having a hyggelig year. I will make a hyggekrog (hygge corner) in my hjemmehygge (hygge home) and have lots of hyggesnakke (hygge chat) with friends and loved ones who want to hygger with me.
This ancient Danish art of living well has a lot to teach me about creating a sanctuary, about turning the ordinary into the sacred, about paying attention to what makes me feel open hearted and alive, about creating moments and environments where I, my friends and loved ones can truly be ourselves, present and real and messy and fully accepted.
For those of you who already have fabulous and exciting New Year’s resolutions, go for it I say! This is a wonderful way to move ahead and have new adventures. This year I’ll be watching from the sidelines in my own hygger way and when you’ve had enough of your goals some days or you’re tired from all the doing, take a break and come hygger with me, I’ll be waiting with open arms and an open heart. Happy New Year beautiful people!
FIVE HYGGING TIPS
1. Develop a morning ritual, whether it be a great cup of tea of coffee in the morning or 10 minutes of meditation, something that makes you feel lovely and wonderful when you wake up.
2. Practice doing nothing for 5 minutes, no phone, no book, no exercise, just sitting, being and breathing.
3. Light a candle when you sit down to dinner so that every evening meal feels special and sacred.
4. Dedicate a cosy spot in your home to relax in, put fresh flowers in a vase, have your favourite books close by and some snuggly cushions to lounge on, ideally with a great view to fill your gaze.
5. Invite close friends for a drink or dinner with no agenda other than being in each other’s presence and enjoying the company