Resolutions? Intentions? Aspirations? Rituals? Ceremonies? These only carry the power and importance that we, ourselves, attribute to them.
Having said, that let's consider some historic and modern sutras (aphorisms) regarding 'thinking' and how they impact our actions and what we manifest.
The Maītri Upanishad states,
"As is one's thought, so one becomes."
Aristotle then said,
"We are what we repeatedly do... Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
Marcus Aurelius concurred,
"The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.”
And, most palpable to me, Wayne Dyer's teaching:
"You become what you think about all day and those days become your lifetime."
I've long thought of New Year's 'Resolutions' more as 'Intentions'. The full definition of "intention," from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is quite interesting. It defines intention as, "a determination to act in a certain way: resolve. Significance; what one intends to do or bring about.' but also as: 'a process or manner of healing of wounds."
Creating and Healing
When you set an intention, you become clearer about why you're doing something; what kind of attitude you want to commit to having, and what you hope to cultivate from the experience. In addition, when you are clear about your intention, you can more easily recognize any self-talk that doesn't support you. When you are more in tune to creating a life that is a reflection of your heart and deeper needs, you organically wind up addressing what is no longer serving or supporting you, brining you wholeness and wellbeing. A we pause to re-start, begin again, we naturally are in the process of shifting towards the balance needed in the moment.
I, in fact, practice an intention setting ritual every New Years. But I also do this same ritual every birthday, every solstice, every equinox. That's 6 big pauses a year! I also pause and set an intention before a big events, a special project, a family gathering. On top of that, I set an intention before and after every yoga practice and every class I teach.
In short, I set an intention for how I would like to enter a particular moment and participate in it. Doing this also helps me remember that I can 'come back' and start again when I lose my connection to myself in this way. This is essential. Since, like most of us, I can be carried away in any moment by disappointment, anger, or fear. Or, get sucked up into busy-ness, routine (or my iPhone).
With regular intention setting, I'm only days, hours, or minutes away from being reminded to pause and reconnect, so I am less overwhelmed or controlled by these harder experiences and feelings. My intentional awareness returns me to my breath, which returns me to a sense of spaciousness, freshness, optimism, grace...
I begin again.
In fact, this sentiment is at the heart of all my resolutions. And, to keep myself remembering it, I carry Wayne Dyer's quote on a post-it in my wallet.
It wakes me up every time. Lovingly, urgently, reminding me to keep my head close to my heart. So that my 'actions' and non actions are a reflection or my deeper intentions.
So In honor if the Fresh New Year, today's newsletter and each blog I offer this month will be filled with ideas, tools, practices to help you live more intentional days (and ultimately a lifetime).
Happy New Year to you and all your loved ones.
May your actions be the art, your intentions create!
Words of Wisdom
Intention: What I can Control
Or Come Join Me For A New Years Renewal Weekend At Kripalu!
Grounded, Relaxed, And Light: January 8-10
To make this weekend extra magical, celebrated composer Garth Stevenson will offer his most amazing music during our final session.
Each day, I will guide you through an artful flow of slow vinyasa yoga, restorative yoga, meditation and deep relaxation to help you harmonize with the season. We will emphasize internal observation, slow and dynamic movement, rhythmic breathing, and fully supported rest. A favorite part of the weekend for many is the optional New Year's intention setting fire ceremony... outside, graced by the freshest mountain air. As always, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health will nourish you with incredible organic meals and a winter wonderland to explore. You will leave centered, renewed, and refreshed. For more information, go to Kripalu's website or call (866) 200-5203
New Years Renewal Retreat
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health