I'm really happy to be seeing that people are talking about a few more ways to reflect and refocus at the New Year these days. I have to admit that I love the "resolution-rebels" out there. My preference has evolved from strongly held resolutions as a personal trainer in the 90s, through intentions as a Yoga Teacher, and now as I evolve, into a place where I recognize the potent time that winter is to reflect. Winter is a time to draw in. It's a time to conserve energy rather than to expend it. With the increased light and energy that naturally comes with Spring, there are clearly times of the year that would be easier and more natural to make the more drastic changes that come with resolutions.
Although I don't think New Year's is the best time to make changes, I do think it's the perfect time to reflect on the changes that would be helpful in one's life. As you recognize the changes you know will help you to shine more fully in life, you can start gathering energy and insight into how you might gracefully incorporate healthy and empowering changes into your life.
Out of the many New Year's classes I taught this week, one of the most meaningful classes to me was a class based on a passage from the classic yoga text, The Bhagavad Gita. I was in the process of planning a class based on concentrating and focusing energy when I was reading Zo Newell's, Downward Dogs & Warriors. As I read the following passage from the Bhagavad Gita, I knew I had to share it with my students:
When Arjuna (main character) and his cousin, Duryodhana, were students, Arjuna won an archery contest designed by the master teacher Dronacharya. Setting up a wooden bird in a tree across the river as the target, Dronacharya asked each student to come up, one by one, to take a turn to shoot it down.
"Describe the target," Dronacharya challenged each student.
The first said, "I see a tree with a bird in it; I see the branch, the leaves, the bird's body, and in the center of the of the bird's head, an eye. That is the target."
Dronacharya remained silent.
The second said, "I see a bird and in the head, an eye."
Still Dronacharya remained silent.
Arjuna said, "I see the eye in the center of the bird's head."
"Shoot!" said Dronacharya.
This passage drove home for me the power of simplicity. It's so easy for us to get caught up in the physical constructs that exist all around us. When people talk about New Year's resolutions, they usually talk about goals. But, isn't our "target" usually an inner experience rather than our outer actions.
The beginning meditation of this particular class invited participants to consider what it is we REALLY want to experience in our lives. Maybe it is to drop those 10 pounds, or to get organized, but more likely, the "targets" that come to mind are: inner peace, contentment, joy, fulfillment.....
The idea of using New Year's as reflection time is to recognize your target and then pull back. By drawing back and in, we open ourselves up to insight and direction that can only come from within. Take some time to reflect on what steps you can take to live the life experience you really want and then carve a new path rather than just jumping on that same old resolution that never holds up anyway because it wasn't what you really want.
After the clock struck midnight on New Year's, I looked up to a starry night sky. I made a wish on the brightest star that night. I hoped I could live my life this year like that star... shining bright. I want to live my life in a way that adds light to this world. I am not sure what that will look like on the outside yet, but inside I know I have a luminous guide.
In love and light! Kate