new year

The power of reflection

"Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful." - Margaret Wheatley

Last night I arrived in Houston for a two week vacation with my family. On the plane I took some time to reflect on how I wanted to spend these next two sacred weeks. My sister is undergoing a severe surgery and the only thing I want to do is sit by her side and take care of her. 

In the last month there has been an intense desire to go inside and reflect. I've been pulled deeply into slowing down and journaling. I keep removing things from my to-do list, but it feels much more like self-honoring than procrastination (although I did have to tame the tiger in my head a few times attemping to make me believe otherwise). 

If you've felt the same you've tapped into the natural latent cycle of winter. The long dark nights and cold temperatures invite us to burrow down and turn inside. This is the season of dormancy, of slowly letting the old die off to create space for the new. 

I encourage you to take some time off in the next few days during this potent time. Review the year that has passed and ask yourself what is trying to emerge in the year to come. Get quiet and listen deeply to where your desire is pointing you to next.

What do YOU want to create and become in 2017? Where in your life do you want to evolve?

Last year I wrote a blog post with some journal inquiry questions to ponder for the Winter Solstice. I highly recommend carving out some time to write your answers to move more intentially into this next year. And in these next few weeks, stay connected to what matters most.

Holiday Survival Guide for Yogis - Setting Intentions

A long time ago big celebrations took place in this time of year because you didn’t know if you would survive the winter. Nowadays, we still imbibe and indulge as if we might not be here tomorrow. So come January 1st, we’re overfed, undernourished, wiped-out and ready for a life overhaul.

In order to guide you gracefully through the holidays, I've created a Holiday Survival Guide for Yogis to help steer you back to yourself and to what matters most as opposed to feeling pulled away from your better judgment and then downward spiralling into guilt, resentment and feeling like crap.  

I made a short video with one of my favorite Ganesh stories to remind us to connect with our hearts and align our holidays with what is most important.

What matters most? How do you want to connect and celebrate this year? Let’s start with some conscious creation of how you want to feel for the next 5 weeks. 

Take a few moments to journal the following questions. Then see if you can find ways of simplifying, eliminating and improving upon what hasn't worked in the past. Make some choices about what you will or won’t partake in (be realistic). Decide on what’s most important and prioritize.

  • Which holiday traditions support or deplete you? How can you re-create those that you don't want to perpetuate this year?
  • How do you want to feel by New Year’s? What commitment can you make to yourself to support your vision?
  • How do you feel now? Is your energy depleted or do you feel enthusiastic and vibrant?
  • Are there any foods you want to steer clear of? (it's kind of obvious but if you don’t buy it you can’t eat it!) What healthier alternatives can you put in its place? 
  • How do you want to connect with others and spend time together with loved ones this month? Who do you want to re-connect with that you haven’t spoken to in awhile? 

It always starts with getting really clear on what you want, and then being deliberate with your choices to help move you in that direction. 

How to actually achieve your goals and the best decision I made this year

As the end of the year approaches there's a tangible pull to create new goals and set intentions for the year to come. There’s a natural momentum and desire to improve and upgrade as we turn a new leaf and begin a new year. January, which marks the start of our calendar year, is itself named for Janus, the Roman god with two faces. One face looks to the past and one looks to the future. I have a personal tradition this time of year of journaling wishes and dreams and choosing which seeds to plant, nurture and grow in the upcoming year. I also go back and read the goals I set the previous year to see how well I did.

What I noticed is-

Wishes and dreams alone aren't enough.

Trying to make changes on your own rarely works.

Doing the same thing I've always done gets me nowhere new.

What does work?

Enrolling people to support me and hold me accountable is extremely effective.

Trying something new yields different results.

Finding a guide or teacher puts you on the fast track to growth.

For example; A few years ago I realized that I needed and wanted to do more as a yoga teacher than just teach drop-in classes and a few workshops here and there. I didn't consider myself a “popular” teacher but wanted to reach more students. I began to do research on my own. I signed up for newsletters galore that inundated my inbox and quite frankly left me feeling more overwhelmed than informed. I was certain that I could do it alone. You can get everything you need and want on the internet right? It was a lonely and frustrating path. I learned a little, but it didn't amount to much.

Then I realized I needed a mentor. I wanted a guide who could give me the step-by-step instructions and lead the way. I’m a mother of 2 young boys with less than 2 hours a day to myself to work on my goals and passions. I didn't want to waste any more time.

I surrendered. I invested in a mentor. I enrolled in a course. And let me tell you…I will never look back. It was the best decision I made this year.

So…the moral of the story.

If you want change, if you’re ready to transform, don’t kill yourself trying to do it alone. It just doesn't work. Change is a bumpy road and hard to navigate. We need teachers with experience and training. We need community who shares our struggles and are looking in the same direction. It’s not only the most effective way, but the most fun.

So if your goals for 2015 include living with less busyness and more balance, taking care of yourself with nourishing food and better daily habits, or finally starting a meditation practice, join me next Saturday, January 3 at 3pm at the Heart School for a free talk on 8 daily habits to move youfrom stress to ease. Don’t waste any more time trying to figure it all out by yourself. Let’s come together and make a change.