Happy Nude Year!

Joey Garcia

Dear Readers,

Happy Nude Year!

2020 stripped us of our comfort zones and carried us naked into what really matters. As the calendar turns, let’s focus on the bare essentials—souls, intellects and hearts—and leave our defenses, dramas, negative self-talk and pain behind.

Let’s take it all off until there is nothing left but loving kindness for ourselves, and sweet compassion for others and the planet. It might be the best way to begin 2021.

Ready to get a leg up on a new life? Step right this way:

Strip away your fantasies: If you’re wishing that you had a different partner, job, home, income, car or child, you’re just living a second-rate version of your own life. You climbed the stairs to the stage you’re now on. Take responsibility for the choices that led you here. Then, be grateful for everything.

Like this: Your insolent middle schooler is a reminder that you cannot control another person, so be a Bodhisattva when she or he is a terrorist. The boss who can’t see through the suck-ups on staff is an opportunity to stay focused on your work, not the behavior of others. Single? The partner you imagine is just a dream of who you could be if you got your act together. Choose reality in 2021 and discover how every experience offers insight into enlightenment and evolution.

Slip out of your defenses: In childhood you may have adopted a habit that has morphed into an obstacle to intimacy. You did it to protect yourself from the attitudes and behaviors of others. But now shutting down or isolation or excessively trying to please others, restricts your ability to give and receive love. So slip out of your defenses and into something truly sexy, like authenticity.

Flex your cheeks: Smile at the driver who knows everyone on the road is a brother or sister, the leashed dog tugging forward, the grass pushing through sidewalk cracks, the smell of green tea on a wintry day, the stranger who is not afraid to meet your eyes or return your joy. A mask might hide your smile, but not the joy emanating from every cell of your body.

Seduce the divine: Read Hafiz, Rumi, Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Lalla and any other saint or mystic who knew how to give themselves completely to a power greater than themselves. Open to intimacy with the Divine by bringing passion, purpose and faithfulness into your relationship. Practice daily meditation, a commitment to spiritual principles and faith in response to any challenge. If doubt persists, read a poem, repeat a mantra, or memorize sacred scripture. Doing so will encourage you to keep loving yourself and the world while trekking through dark times.

Show a little T&A: Tenderness and Acceptance melts the hardest of hearts. Extend tenderness to the brokenhearted, including yourself. Accept the unexpected as a norm because in life, it is. The side effect of extending T&A is pure pleasure: the radical reduction of stress and ecstatic realization that you are creating peace in the world.

Get your spotlight on: Emphasize your strengths. Praise the good in others. Celebrate what works, don’t complain about what needs fixing—just fix it. Notice beauty. Most people fear that these mental shifts will inspire complacency. Here’s the truth: with less negative energy distracting you, there’s more positive energy at your service. That’s when change becomes effortless and natural. So, lighten up.

Getting naked is dancing beyond a habit of hoping for change and into the action of initiating transformation. Let’s do it, together. Happy Nude Year!

An earlier version of this column appeared on Jan. 1, 2009.

Got a problem? Email Joey. Give your name, telephone number (for verification purposes only) and question—all correspondence will be kept strictly confidential.

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