Happy New Year!! Welcome to 2018. Are you a resolution-er? In years past, I never put much thought into resolutions. The OCD nature of my brain does enjoy using the start of a New Year as a way to get organized mentally and physically, but I’m not one to force myself into the gym or new diet plan. Why do resolutions always resemble torture? Is it just me?
Last week I did spend some time reflecting on my intentions for 2018. I took a page from the 12 houses of astrology and mixed it with a little Eightfold Path action, and came up with some key areas in my life I wanted to live with more mindful purpose. For example, in my “Health” category, I set the intention to sleep for at least 8 hours a night. I have discovered that for me to feel good, like really good, getting enough restorative sleep allows me to be more creative, clear-minded and peaceful. I also am setting the intention to see more sunrises and sunsets. This will help me weave in intentional living and connect back to the healing power of the earth elements. Even just writing these goals feels soothing!
Another area I focused on was my relationships. As with most things, there seems to be a divine timing in what the conscious collective is seeking. Gabby Bernstein’s new book Judgment Detox is about to hit the shelves, and will serve as a guide to live with less judgement of Self and others. I have also noticed clients and friends striving to surround themselves with more like-minded spiritual seekers. I have spent many years assessing and re-aligning my relationships, releasing those who drain me and cultivating relationships that nourish me. Anyone else a recovered victim of the empath-narcissist dynamic? Guilty. Or how about the hermit-like introverts? I know you feel me!
During our last YTT class of the year, I got to participate in my first graduation ceremony. We have a rolling admission where new students join every 6th week, so each class can be filled with freshman and seniors alike. One of the reasons my friend and I picked the studio we did for our training was their family-like quality. The founders of the program very mindfully developed a culture of loving support and acceptance. While there, you truly feel supported by the group as you travel your journey.
As each student completes their course requirements, they are given a moment of recognition by the whole group. The graduate sits in the middle of the studio facing our instructors, and is surrounded by their fellow yogis. The instructors hold the hands of the graduate, and while respectfully looking her in the eye, shares their hopes and wishes for her future and honors the path she just walked. Then all the other yogi’s put a hand on the graduate, and share in wishing her well with absolute love and support. Not a dry eye in the house! If you have never participated in a healing group or personal development event, you must go at least once. The profound level of support you receive is hard to describe. Each participant becomes a conduit for energy, and it’s hard not to become addicted to the expansive love that flows through the room.
I will admit, I would be the first to roll my eyes and brush off something like this as corny. Public speaking is probably my #1 fear, and “ice breakers” are a close second. I think underneath my dismissive superiority there is a deep wound that causes me to run far away from connection like this. My good friend and fellow yogi pointed out once that any time she said “I love you!”, I never said it back. I was surprised to realize she was right. Despite how much I deeply love and accept my friends and family, there is always an element of doing it at an arm’s length. And for all my efforts to surround myself with loving, gentle friends, I still always protect myself just enough to create a separation.
I know one of the layers I am working on within myself is healing the wounds of having been bullied. If I think of my years in middle and high school, they are often clouded by intense feelings of isolation and sadness. And while I have come to understand and forgive this within my mind, my heart still holds onto the fear of being hurt again. It didn’t help that as an adult I encountered a handful of relationships that replicated the dynamics of these shoved down memories, but that is the beauty of mindful living. It means I have the choice to pull these hurts into the light and release them for good. It means that in any given moment, I can choose vulnerability with the knowledge that I have the strength to keep myself safe while still loving unconditionally.
So with this experience, I knew adding the intention to more authentically show up in my relationships was a priority. How can I live a spiritually connected life from behind a glass wall? Plugging into my intuition or divine guidance is not about only connecting half way. It’s about releasing my expectations or need to control so fully that I rely on something far greater than myself. And it’s with this intention I realize the anxiety that I have been feeling about my future the closer I creep to turning 35 relaxes. It means I look forward into 2018 with a sense of peace and trust that every moment will count.
To quote my yoga teacher, whatever intentions you hold for 2018, I wish that for you too. I hope you find ways to live more mindfully each day, and open yourself up to love and connection in whatever way feels good for you. I hope you challenge yourself to grow while being your own biggest cheerleader. I hope you shine your light out into the world, because you are so needed right now.