The beginning of a new year is a time of reflection for many of us. We enjoy taking a look at the past year, and reviewing the events and feelings that create it. We also enjoy creating intentions for the new year.
I have made new year’s resolutions off and on throughout the years; exercise more, stop drinking coffee, start playing guitar, for examples. Some of the resolutions have stuck, others not. Why? In my opinion, decisions need to come from the mine, heart AND spirit. I think I was doing resolutions that I thought I should.
If you ask me if I will be doing resolutions this year, I would say no. I do them all the time, but I call them Inspired Actions. Inspired actions could be defined as wisdom that comes from the connection of our body, mind and spirit. They come out of quiet time, listening intently, and honoring who you are and where you are at the moment. So instead of the resolution of exercise more, I ask questions and listen. The answer for me is to increase movements that honor my body and my spirit, ie, get out the yoga mat, today.
Making resolutions once a year, while a good practice, in my opinion leaves 364 other days where we are supposed to feel the same way we did on New Year’s Day. I for one, have different intentions in different seasons, different wishes, desires, areas of focus. So the idea of inspired actions works well for me. The idea that at any moment, we can check in with ourselves and honor the right next step. That doesn’t mean that each year doesn’t have an overarching theme and intention, for me it tends to. And within the year, inspired actions are the method by which I make incremental changes in the direction of my vision. Like trying to change the direction of a large ship, it doesn’t happen all at once, it happens bit by bit and eventually we are going in a new direction towards a beautiful vision.
Now let me just say that sometimes inspired actions do mean big changes right now, like letting go of a job or relationship, accepting that job offer in Mozambique, or starting a business. All these big changes have to start somewhere. And to me, the changes that have the most chance of success, come from a balanced place of connection.
As the New Year of 2013 approaches, I offer these questions for reflection. Grab something to something to write on/with and take a couple of minutes and ask yourself these questions.
What challenges/sorrows have you experienced in the last year that you would like to release to make room for new joys in the year to come? Write them down, take a moment to feel them, and then..crumble, rip, or release in a way that works for you. These are done. They are in the past and you don’t have to carry them around with you. Empty that backpack of gunk you have been carrying around because honestly, it gets stinky after awhile and incredibly heavy. You might be tempted to remember these experiences from the past year from time to time AND when that happens choose an action or word to remind you with you emptied the contents of the last year’s backpack and now, you are free to move more lightly in the direction of new joys.
What moments of celebration/joy do you want to remember from the past year? Write them down and keep them. Recently, I heard the idea of a Joy Jar (or Gratitude Jar). When something wonderful happens in your life, write it down and put it in the Joy Jar. When it’s gray outside, or you have had a lousy day, open your jar. And, at the end of the year, open your jar full of joys. It will amaze you and warm your insides on a cold winter day.
In quiet reflection, what will this year be about for you? Write down your ideas. Don’t be afraid to let yourself dream big. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Then ask yourself, what is the first inspired action I will take in this new direction? Then do it, right now. Get out the yoga mat, call that friend you want to reconnect with, pack a pair of socks for that road trip. And then, sink into the enjoyment of knowing you are on the path of living the life you love. Enjoy.