One down and two to go… Well at least that’s the way it is in my household.
In anticipation of the next round of holiday cheer I have been observing my behavior, and my students; and I’m realizing this is the time of year we love to hate. It’s almost like we keep it at an arm's distance away just for safety sake. Well that got me to thinking what else am I keeping at an arm's distance, and where does my resistance really come from? Is it from a Christmas of long ago, when I didn’t quite get what my heart desired? Or maybe when a little of the magic or charm began to wear off? It’s hard to say why so many of us shut down around; cheer, love, faith, and goodwill. When I look at these words I personally feel uplifted, but yet simultaneously struggle at the same time. I know that my parents worked hard when I was a kid, and because they couldn’t always be around - or do certain things for us during the year, they really tried to make up for it in one night. That might be the answer to the question… Pressure!!! We pressure ourselves to be love, instead of it happening naturally. We force cheer just because the alarm of life is going off telling us it’s time. As magical as these holiday moments can be, they seldom get the timing right, and we find ourselves comparing our present to our past. So thanks to that one holiday where you felt everything fall into place; we end up spending the next thirty years trying to replicate that moment from your childhood so you can feel all warm and fuzzy again.
I remember one holiday as a grown up we went to stay with my parents… Now it was actually a great holiday, my kids were happy, my nephew got everything he wanted from my sister at the dismay of my parents credit cards. It wasn’t a bickery, unload your baggage kind of Christmas - it was smooth, fun, and I recall good times were had by all. Now I decided I wasn’t going to help my kids get me anything this year like I had done in the past. I also have this secret desire that you know exactly what to get for me, so I wasn’t about to give any hints this year. I just wanted to see what would happen... I got gifts for all of my family members, like I always do- I’m a giver year round, why would I stop now. Well the moment of reckoning arrived, and packages were opened with wrapping paper thrown about as the children and my siblings, as well as my parents tore through the gifts they had all given to each other. Now I write this not because I want anyone to feel bad for me, but somehow they all figured I had everything I needed; and at that time in my life I would have to agree. But at the end of all of the commotion I wasn’t given one gift. I took my husband at the time aside to let him know how I was feeling, that I at least thought he would have picked me up a little something. His response was that he didn’t grow up getting presents, and this was newer to him; oh and that it seemed like I didn’t really like what he gave me last year, so he thought he would skip this year. It was a strange phenomena that I was trying to not take personally. And that’s when it hit me; that’s when I really looked around and noticed we were all happy. No one was fighting, and it was truly one of the most pleasant and joyful christmases spent with my family. So I actually got what I wanted! How many times have we all taken a moment of silence to hold space for this dream that we can all get along for the holidays? How many countless movies, and books cover this topic; as we have all experienced in our darkest holiday hour that moment where we offer up whatever gift we thought we wanted just to have the people we love; be safe, healthy, and together. I write this because we have to be careful of what we wish for.. We also need to be specific so when it shows does show up with a happy household, it also comes with a cashmere sweater.
So we're moving into the New Year, and with that comes resolutions. In yoga we call this Sankalpa… This form of yoga is not for just the holidays, and then to be forgotten when February rolls around; but rather an ongoing practice designed to keep you on the path so you realize your full potential. Now like that prayerful moment I talked about - that’s a good place to start. Even better to practice this intention, this prayer if you will when it’s not being invoked by fear, desire, deadlines or a locomotive coming your way. This is to be inserted at the beginning of your yoga practice, in your Nidra practice, and then again at the end of your practice. This belongs at the beginning of your meditation, and again at the end when your clear and less reactive. Only by discharging our triggers can we truly feel the potency of what we're trying to manifest. Then we can actually bring our vision forward in the form of service, and evolution for a higher good. When we move from this higher vibration not only do we benefit ourselves in this process, but the world benefits from this as well.
Some of this holiday angst we feel is not only because of our upbringing; but rather the shedding of the skin of 2016; I like to think of a snake here that sheds it’s skin multiple times a year. For us this is the shedding of the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual work we have all done this year. If we don’t cleanse then energetically we bring all of the problems of the previous year into the blank canvas of 2017. If we do this over multiple years, then our canvas is never truly cleared and our issues mount until we become like hoarders of our past impressions, and indiscretions. Unfortunately this heavy energy just lives inside like a pressure cooker of confusion waiting to burst. So here’s a practice that can help you to clear your internal landscape and set the intentions for a bright and beautiful New Year.
Sit quietly with yourself where you will be undisturbed for at least ten minutes.
-Just start by being with yourself; your mind may be busy, but see if you can sit, and not fight it. Just observe what your mind and body are telling you, this is your space to listen.
-Now begin to breathe; draw the breath in from the tip of your nose up to the space between your brows, then as you exhale the breath allow it to move down the floor of your nose. Do this for about two minutes or until your mind becomes quieter and your body feels less tense.
-Now notice what’s lingering; is it a looping thought? An unresolved conflict? Or something you wish would happen? Let’s focus on the first two because that’s what’s standing in the way of the last thought.
-What action if any do you need to take in your life to release this looping thought? What can you do to resolve the conflict in your life? I know for some of us this can feel overwhelming, but don’t despair it can also be empowering. Take baby steps, and if your conflict involves someone else do your part, but know we have no control over other peoples evolution. You can’t make someone grow if they don’t have the water and sun like you do. So leave it open so when they do come around your available; if that’s not possible then at least make peace with your role and leave it at that. Clearing out the conflict and the loop mean that you’ve shed some layers and your new skin can come through; part of that new skin will know better from this experience so you don’t keep running into the same conflicts. This will help you to resolve your issues when they arise, understanding that putting it off only amplifies your problems and muddies the water. (Note; while you're clearing your psychic fields, offer your conflict up to a higher purpose, and then give thanks for this opportunity for growth. This practice releases the charge, and keeps you on the path to healing your wounds. Then when you depart from the practice and move into the world you allow yourself to move from love, rather than conflict. Now you allow yourself the opportunity to create peace in your life and the lives you’ve affected.)
-Now that you have been doing the first two parts of the practice for several days. Working on these first two steps has allowed you to make phone calls; or maybe you met up with that person you hurt, or they hurt you. You took care of that boundary that was being crossed, and now feel grounded and empowered. Let’s now move onto the third part. What I like about starting this now is, if you’ve done the work Christmas is near and your relaxed because you don’t have all of this years stress buzzing around you distracting you from what’s important. Please know your not the only one that wants closure, so doing this work will be a gift to your family and friends.
-So now your clear and as you sit applying the same techniques from above, begin to ask yourself the third question. What would you like to see happen, or what is this dream? For some of us being able to accept what our dream is can feel harder than the conflict resolution, and boundaries we’ve set. Just sit with this dream; feel it, see it and all of the things that are associated with your dream coming into fruition. Now relax into your dream so you're not as triggered but rather your dream brings calm, it brings fulfilment.
-To close all of the stages of practice; offer your dream in service, and give thanks for everything that has brought you to this moment. When you're ready you can bow your head, and rub your palms together until they are warm, then place your cupped palms over your eyes. When you're ready to open your eye and move your dream into reality; begin with the smaller steps, and these will lead you to the full picture you just envisioned. By smaller steps I mean all of the little things that make up a masterpiece. It may be writing down ideas so your brainstorming, reading a poem to a friend; or making a phone call that you just know is the next step, even if it’s a little scary.
Now your field will be clear, and your intention for this rising year will be more than just a fleeting notion about how to better take care of yourself by not overindulging. You're holding space for your dream, and because of that things will fall into place as you tap into your purpose. This will guide you to move from a place of willingness, devotion, and love. All word that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Blessings on your Holidays and this Rising New Year,