I am not much of a fan of new year's resolutions but every year I try to sit down some time around the beginning of the year to regroup. I look back at the year prior and really take inventory:
what sticks out?
what was I doing/who was I with when I made the BEST memories? laughed the most?
how did my living align with my underlying principles?
what could I change?
what should I keep the same?
From this, typically a few goals emerge and at least one underlying idea/theme/resolution.
I am adamant about writing my goals down and then reflecting back upon them a handful of times throughout the year. I try hard not to get too bent around the axle about forcing one goal or the other to happen; that is not the point. The point is to provide a valuable introspective look at how priorities radically shift in one area, while maybe taking on extra importance in others. It also provides a retrospective of results, and tends to light a fire, if at month six, not a nary one has seen even the slightest progress.
Underpinning everything: the ongoing quest for stillness/serenity.
Ask anyone who knows me: my mind absolutely, positively, never stops. I frequently cannot finish one conversation because I have jumped in my mind to the next two topics. I may watch TV, but at the same time that I am folding laundry and half assed unloading the dishwasher. I sleep in tortured spurts, many times waking myself up talking incessantly about some topic that ails me. I cannot remember names because I am so far beyond the person telling me that I don't really HEAR them tell me to begin with. I sit at my desk having to pee for hours on end: my mind too entrenched in various thoughts to get up to relieve my move basic biologic need. There is a committee of people living in my head in constant battle: duking it out, hugging it out, and sometimes even working harmoniously alongside one another. I go mock ten, have absolutely horrific boundaries: an absolutely dreadful combination. I dance constantly on the fringes of insanity: eight toes lurching towards the future, one in the present and one curled stubbornly in the past.
I am rarely 100% present.
Too tired to teach your class? No problem! I haven't slept in days, have only worked 12 hours so far today, but I'll cover you! Forget your shoes for the fifth time in two weeks? No problem! I'll leave my meeting mid-sentence and get those for you! Allow me to be very clear, I see CLEARLY that these are not a positive traits. They have the potential to carry with them martyrdom, victimhood among other words I don't care to type. They have the potential to make me miss workouts, meals, meetings, monetary incentives; the list goes on and on. And really, let's just put it out there: living like this is just plain stupid; there IS NO PAST OR FUTURE for starters, And, since I strictly adhere to the *idea* also, that if I don't care for my upmost good, no one else will.
So what the hell?
For the past four years I have actively sought change. It has been my INTENTION TO BE PRESENT. Let me tell you, it has been, and continues to be a process. Public self disclosure in a way, will be my next step: admitting you have a problem, sound familiar!?!? The benefits of awareness alone have been immense, but perhaps really, I am just getting started.
I seek and value stillness/intention.
To that end, my commitment to my yoga practice and meditation has become a centerpiece of my primary goals for the past four years. Teacher trainings, retreats and the like are merely the car I drive to reinforce the practice, this idea really, that I can slow my mind to a crawl, if and when I get serious about doing it. It is a constant reminder (when I am practicing regularly) of the resolution: simplify, get quiet.
Without any fanfare, I have been trying on a couple new ideas on since the beginning of the year:
1. When I am at home, my cell phone will not be off limits per se, but I WILL engage with it in very specific timeframes, otherwise, it will be put up, out of sight and away from my primary area of living/interaction. No more simultaneous Facebooking, cleaning, laundering, and cooking. No more conversations with one eye on the phone, one ear half assed in the conversation.
2. I will put my workout first. I will no longer prioritize the workout of every other person that I interact with as more important than my own. No more waiting on someone that is a half hour late to a meeting and skipping my workout to be nice. No more teaching classes when I don't have a commitment to my TAKING them. No more workout martyrdom.
Here's the thing: it's worked well enough that there is fallout. My clients, formerly used to 2.5 second response times, balk. My kid, balks. My piles, pile higher.
For a few minutes each day, I do only ONE THING. And when I do it, I am ALL IN.
This is what serenity looks like.