As we face the new-ness of the start of a calendar year, I’ve been finding myself feeling rather disenchanted by the rah rah rah which enters into the vocabulary of so many in January. I am not typically someone who makes New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, I find the conventional approach to grandiose celebration around NYE to be somewhat confusing. And, to each his own.
At some point about mid-December, I was asked directly “Have you placed any thought towards your 2016 New Year’s Resolution yet?” I find many of the common suspects – a renewed commitment to eat healthfully, to exercise with regularity, to get enough rest etc – to be aspects of self-care which I strive to maintain throughout the calendar year. This is not to say that I honor that notion optimally 365 days/year. As humans we all falter; therein lies the phrase human nature.
And yet, I am aware of the fact that being asked to consider a New Year’s Resolution provided me with a lovely opportunity to reflect upon how I might consider shifting my day-to-day such that it would be conducive to my overall well-being. Doing so lent itself nicely to a practice which I have exercised on NYE for the past three years. After being gifted a Gratitude Jar for Christmas, I began the practice of jotting down simple things for which I am grateful. I document not only positive experiences, but also challenging lessons learned. On December 31st, I read each and every slip of paper which has made its way into my jar for the year. Reflecting in this manner affords me the opportunity to notice trends having occurred throughout the past calendar year. People, places, and things by which I was moved – good, bad, or indifferently. I take it for what it’s worth. And, I make note of these trends. People, places, or things which consistently show up are good information.
Through this practice I gain an awareness of concepts which I may have lost sight of that feel beneficial to revisit. Additionally, I am provided with an opportunity to consider how might I do things differently! I recently attended a master’s yoga class with my teacher, Sherry Sidoti, in which she approached the entire class from this perspective. “Raise your leg, but maybe not quite as high as you usually would; step forward, but maybe a little bit to the right/left of your typical foot placement; sweep your arms to the sky, but if you always do so rigidly perhaps notice this time how/where you might soften.” Sherry taught that the yoga mat is safe place in which to practice doing things differently. To rise above our samskaras (Sanskrit), or habitual patterns. This is so very true, and yet, this does not make it any easier.
Reflection and introspection have led me to the following truth: Human nature is a pesky little concept which consistently tempts me to move through life conducting my decisions based upon how things should be done, rather than always honoring what feels innately right. Even if it’s different than how I normally would. Maybe even a little uncomfortable. In choosing to step outside of the comfort zone, one consciously enters into the realm of endless potential. I challenge you to consider how you might do so for yourself in 2016 – both on and off of your yoga mat! Then trust, breathe, and revel at the growth as it unfolds.