Tag Archives: Feelings

The Obligatory New Year’s Resolution Post

Standard

Despite my resistance now for a few days, a proper health and wellness blog cannot go without mentioning New Year’s Day and the birth of countless resolutions. A handful of these promises will be life-changing, while the rest will soon be forgotten as people fall back into living their familiar stories. This year marks another year I hope to wind up in the handful. I say, why not?

Truthfully, I used to think New Year’s was kind of a joke. It kind of is when you look at all of the failed attempts at resolutions. And for me, it really was just another day in another year of my life. Now, as I feel more inclined to live life fully each day and to live according to the seasons of the calendar year, I realize the powerful symbol the New Year brings to my consciousness, when I pay attention. The day ritualizes new beginnings in my life, and I get inspired by it. I hear other people embarking on their own journeys because of the New Year, and it makes me smile.

What my New Year’s ritual looks like is me sitting down in quiet reflection, jotting down thoughts about life and the world, but I also use this time to empty out. After I get all of the words on paper, I go through and think deeply about what I really want to accomplish. While my list of things I want to do, do, do, seems never-ending, I wonder about the bare necessities. I strip away my desires to the most necessary and truthful dreams I carry with me. I recognize that before I can move forward in making my dreams a reality, I must be honest and shed the parts of my life that no longer work. I let go of some of those ambitions (okay most), and I decipher which dreams are mine and which are my ego’s. It’s not always easy to tell, but I try to figure it out anyway.

I then practice letting go of even the dreams that I think are mine, and I practice focusing on clearing my mind. I repeat this process as often as necessary, and this reflection and discernment goes on for the rest of the year,  because circumstances change, the world changes and I change accordingly. I build and practice faith and “trust the process” as I let go.

To bring you outside of my whimsical, New Year’s reflection and back to reality, here is the succinct takeaway from my thoughts on New Year’s: Instead of viewing New Year’s as a time to add more to life, why not view it as a time to really simplify life? Let go of old habits, relationships, experiences and make room for new. You will find that learning to accept accompanies this letting go process, and I don’t know about you, but I think it feels really good to accept yourself and your life and strip away the non-essentials. You may just find joy at the bottom of your catch-all-drawer you’ve been meaning to clean.

Only 5 days into the New Year and letting go has already taken many shapes and forms that have made me feel great. With a new meal plan routine, I let go of foods that do not nourish me and that harm the environment. In addition to the health benefits, as a secondary result, this act of letting go actually now produces a financial plus (saving money) and an emotional benefit (I am cooking more and sharing meals with family, which makes me happy!)  Just today, I let go of 4 bags of old clothes that no longer fit me (you know those ones you keep just in case, well, I moved on). So far, letting go has been a fairly easy resolution for me. So far. I know it won’t always be that way, but I hope I can be open to the experience when it arises.

I also hope that you take a moment to honor the New Year and the surprises and teachings it may bring to your life. If you haven’t already, Mandala Reflections challenges you to really sit with yourself and think about your life. Maybe do art, write, practice yoga, dance, have a beer or do whatever inspires you to tap into your unconscious. Rediscover old dreams. Ask yourself where you feel well and where you feel unwell. Go to the discomfort. Ask yourself what you want to change about that uncomfortable place and most important, be honest. Recognize and discern if you are actually ready and willing to change. If you are not ready to change or you are a superstar, you won’t feel the urge to make a resolution, and that’s okay. Just listen and you will know what to do. Give yourself the chance to practice self-awareness in the New Year, and you will make the best decisions you can.

Breaking Down Walls: Cultivating Awareness, Nourishing the Soul

Standard

Today’s post challenges us to break down the walls that we create inside ourselves. The idea and excerpts came from a book that I highly recommend, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. According to Singer, our continued focus on our thoughts and emotions create walls inside of us. We pay so much attention to these thoughts and emotions that we eventually stop noticing everything else, and worse yet, we stop going beyond the borders they create.

Try to knock these walls down. It won’t be easy.  Notice “the closer you get, the more you will have the urge to pull back. That which you collected from your past forms a boundary you intuitively want to avoid. That’s natural, that’s what we do with walls; we avoid running into them.”  However, just because it feels uncomfortable doesn’t mean you should stop. Go there and be with the discomfort. Because the moment “you avoid running into them, they lock you inside their perimeter. They become your prison because they are the boundaries of your awareness. Because you are not willing to approach them, you cannot see what is beyond them.”

Once we stop going beyond ourselves we lose the ability to grow individually and spiritually. If we cannot go beyond ourselves,  we will never have a transpersonal awakening–we will never connect to that which is greater than ourselves. The line between ourselves and the world will remain at a disconnect. As long as we remain removed from one another, our individual and collective health and well-being will suffer. However, if we work on breaking down our walls and we become aware of our walls, we make progress toward becoming our true selves instead of being reduced to our feelings and emotions.

Take five minutes, find a quiet space and think about your walls. Think about your thought patterns and how they are serving you today. What would it be like if you let go of those thoughts and just witnessed them as nothing more than thoughts? Think about all the worrying you do. What if you just let those worries go? What would you start noticing in your life that you were unable to notice before? How would you grow? How would this new way of being affect the health and well-being of you and those around you? Climb the walls; break them down and watch what happens when you start seeing what lies beyond them.

Finding Your Place in the Family of Things

Standard

The other day, it surprised me to hear the sound of geese in the distance. I thought most had left Minnesota, but this flock was just starting their journey South. Their flight reminded me of my life path recently–a little surprising and just starting.

Their journey also made me think about Mary Oliver’s poem, “Wild Geese,” which still inspires healing and reflection for me during the Winter season when I read it. I hope you, too, find it worthwhile.

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees.

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

Love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

Are moving across landscapes

Over the prairies and the deep trees,

The mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

Are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

The world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–

Over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

– MARY OLIVER, “Wild Geese”

Reflection: Each season of life presents new challenges and offers more opportunities to develop wisdom about ourselves and the world around us. Like the wild geese mentioned in the poem, as a new season approaches where do you place yourself “in the family of things”? Are you satisfied with your place? If not, what resistance do you have to your place? Are you lonely? If yes, what is your current relationship to nature, people and the world around you? Where do you feel connected and where do you feel disconnected? Do you love what you love in life and really mean it?