Ask Golden Willow

Empty your backpack


Dear Ted: I am noticing that as I move through the holidays, I have feelings of melancholy as well as some levels of anxiety as 2018 approaches, and I move to a place of feeling overwhelmed with what will come and how I will manage. What are your thoughts about moving through the rest of this year and moving into the new year? Thanks, Bubbling Emotions

Dear Bubbling: You are not alone as 2017 comes to an end and 2018 crosses the threshold. Even though the machinery of our world continues to move forward, benchmarks such as holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and a new year can bring a pause in your life that can be profoundly melancholic. These times of pause can be important, as they are opportunities to take inventory of your life, choose what is working for you and what is not serving you.

Our world seemingly moves quickly, as many different types of demands can take away a chance to breathe, look around and see what is truly working for you and what has just become a habit in your actions and thought processes. Taking some time to review what is truly working for you can allow you to empty the metaphorical backpack of items that do not serve you. These may be thought processes that impact your emotions, such as resentments, vengeance, a feeling of victimization or martyrdom and other thoughts that cause separation and isolation. It can also be negative behaviors that hurt you or others, such as addictive tendencies, causing pain to others emotionally or physically or anything else that does not support you in having quality within your life.

Addictive behaviors can be very difficult to take out of your life and can appear in different forms, such as alcohol, drugs, relationships, electronics, shopping, co-dependency, eating and so on. Becoming aware of your own addictive behaviors is a great step in changing parts of your life that may sabotage the opportunity for happiness.

As you take this time to examine your life, you may find that there are behaviors and thoughts you would like to change. An important part of doing this is to make your changes doable and not overwhelming. Many changes need to happen with the help of others, and reaching out to professionals, healthy friends and programs may be part of your healing path. As you become conscious of areas of your life that are not supporting your potential, you can incrementally start to remove these thoughts and behaviors while replacing them with useful tools that will serve you and support you as you step into 2018. My hope for you, as well as all the readers of this column, is that you take time to pause and notice what is serving you in your life and what may need to be released to allow room for abundance in your life as you step into 2018.

I wish you well. Until next year, take care.

Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Wiard, founder of Golden Willow Retreat, at (575) 776-2024 or

This column seeks to educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as part of a future article for others. Please list a first name that grants permission for printing.