Merry New Year and Holidays Yogis!
Here we are again, and like last year we find ourselves in this space of reflection and resolutions… It’s another year coming to an end, and the possibilities of this rising year are endless and sometimes overwhelming. Oh the changes we will all make, and the things we will do... But - I’m saving it for next year! When I look at our culture - and the way we hold ritual this is part amusing, and part disturbing. For some reason we spend the end of our year waiting weeks and maybe even months for next year to grow… This is what I propose - whatever you're putting off isn’t serving you - and I ask what would it feel like to let it go now? To go through your holiday not in anticipation of who you will become - but rather start to own who you are, and begin to embody it now.
At our studio we have begun the process of unpacking 2017 - I liken it to a suitcase, and because in my early years one of the loving nicknames I received from my parents was bag lady. I loved all of my toys and favorite clothes so much I wanted them with me at all times. I had also recently saved up some money and it went missing so my faith in leaving my things unattended was certainly rattled. This was definitely an emotional learning moment that prompted me to roam my home with all of my stuff all at once. Now we all have stuff; be it emotional, mental, or physical things that weigh us down when we’re just trying to get from the Kitchen to the living room. I lovingly jest with my students and have to ask if we are emotional hoarders? Or if I’m still trying to stuff myself into the pants I wore in the fourth grade because I just can’t let them go... This metaphor has helped me to navigate the time span, and space in which we carry or hold on to our old wounds, like a garment we’ve outgrown.
What I propose is like unpacking your garage, or suitcase, or even better one of those advent calendars where you count down the days to Christmas - we open ourselves up - and take something out that no longer serves. This might be a habit? I know some yogis who are taking sugar out for a week.. And another friend who’s doing no sugar, no alcohol, she’s GF and I think even abstaining from meat. These are ways we can clear our internal scape. But let’s dig deeper - maybe you have been harboring negativity about someone or something - what does it feel like when you unpack that? How clean, and clear can your inner space be?
At the end of our Gratitude month - we gave thanks for all the thorns… Yes this was not an easy practice - but just like letting go of our food, and drink vices - letting go of our rackets, and grievances about what has already been - or what we are dreading in the future can really rob us of a present moment experience, and can be just as toxic.
So each day when you sit at your altar, or stand on your mat readying yourself for your practice, and the end of this year. Let’s take something out - I want you to pay attention to what you're taking out and what the counter to that might be? For example - in the food realm you're probably going to reintroduce sugar again. But what kinds, and the amount may vary due to your heightened awareness from this experience. So this is the challenge; unpack something every day until Christmas and write it down - also write down what the counter to that would be. Now from Christmas to New years Day, I propose we pack what we will need for the adventure we plan to go on - the adventure of 2018. My teacher would ask what’s the hurry to fill the space you just emptied? Be decerning, this is about unpacking so you have room - so only pack what we need. I will definitely need a cashmere sweater - because even in June it gets cold in Basalt. But maybe it’s time to let go of the socks with the holes in them, and the negative comment your mother in law made about you being too loud - when you were just in an enthusiastic moment and we're exuberantly sharing. I think if we let this go, just like when I realized it was only through acceptance that I could give thanks - that release was the key and showed me how to have gratitude for my thorns or life challenges. That acceptance is also about recognizing that you are who you are - and sometimes that person is loud… So share your story loud, and as long as you're not at the movies - I don't think it’s hurting anyone. And unpack! Unpack any resentment, negative thoughts or feelings/emotions. Unpack your body dysmorphia or the things you think you can’t do. Five years ago I couldn’t statically lift myself into a handstand - now at almost forty I can!!
When we take these limitations out of the suitcase of your soul, burn it with the fire of your breath, and give thanks - experience the gratitude of the lesson, and give yourself permission to move on. Then your ready - ready to fill yourself with what you want in 2018. My final example is no one says - I want bankruptcy! So seriously don't let that be your mantra! Let your mantra be about what you wish to see more of in your life. What are you going to fill your emotional and social suitcase up with? And where do you wish to take it this year, well that’s really up to you? Once you realize that you're only limited by your imagination - then I hope you start imagining yourself in your best light. I would certainly like to see that bright light from all of you shine in 2018.