Making the space to help heal the world, through a clearing in our own hearts.
Add in an overdose of holiday cheer and who has the capacity to reflect on the past year, resolve their issues and set a more positive tone for 2013, right now?
The irony is, right now couldn’t be a more perfect time to look within and face what is. Turn off the TV, put down the spatula, step away from the cookie sheet please.
I feel the urge to tell you, you are needed for a much more important task.
For me, this quote never gets old, never tires or ceases to lose its meaning. Every time I read it, it resonates deeply and re-stokes that internal flame of inspiration as well as the fire underneath my bum.
Now more than ever I feel the urgency (and hope you do, too) for us to embrace the power we possess to improve ourselves and the world around us. Things are not okay, nor were they ever, and might never be.
But it is my hope that we receive this blessing of unequivocal value. And that we at least try.
On this day of the Winter Solstice, I invite you to join me in lighting a candle, exposing what was and what is, with the hope of creating that which is worthy of our abilities.
For many of us, this desire to self-reflect and go within naturally begins to awaken and stir around this time of year. Some of us act, some of us don’t.
For others who may not be as tuned in yet, I have completely lost. For you, I offer my story.
Nearly a decade ago, I felt extremely unsatisfied with the standard options for how to ring in the new year. Going out, drinking and eating excessively and greeting the first day of the year with a splitting headache sounded increasingly unappetizing.
Then I noticed a sign at my yoga center for a two part yoga workshop series; part one on December 31st to help twist out the old, and part two on January 1st to open and welcome in the new.
Despite friends and family thinking I was uncool, I did it anyway and it was the best thing I could have ever done.
So I ask you—in what way will you honor this auspicious time of year?
By overindulging and sleeping through the first day of the year or by creating the space to reflect on the past year and clear the path for a brighter year ahead?
Of course there’s no right or wrong here, just simply a choice along with a number of other available options in between. But possibly you are feeling those stirrings, and you are looking for a place to start.
If it resonates with you, look to your yoga community to see if they are hosting a similar event. If not, consider hosting your own if you’re a teacher. If all else fails, pick up your pen and paper and write.
Here are some tips, if you aren’t sure where to begin.
Reflect—Take stock of your life in 2012. What was your personal story last year? Make a list of the things that worked well. What led to feelings of joy and contentment? Set an intention to stabilize or reinforce those things for the coming year.
Release—Okay, now what didn’t work? For many of us this could be a very long list! But without judgement, and with unconditional love, pay attention to the feelings that may arise, such as guilt and shame; these tend to be the ones that make us feel stuck.
Despite our very best efforts we are our beautifully flawed human selves, free falling into patterns, old habits and tubs of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. In yoga and spirituality circles it’s called samskara. And we are all there. Simply continue the practice of letting go.
Renew—Now starting exactly where you are, and not from where you think you should be, you may begin the process of renewing. With all the clarity you gain from the first two exercises, cultivate a deep sense of gratitude. What is it now you desire to receive? What is it you’re willing to give?
Like anything else in life which we desire to change or create in excellence, it takes constant practice and attention. Don’t give up, always keep going.
Reflect, release and renew as often as you can: develop a daily ritual or meditation, deepen your yoga practice, help your neighbor, be kind to a stranger. Repeat.
You are being gifted a clean canvas called 2013. What change can you shift inside of yourself, what gifts can you offer to the world, what story will you create? Tis the season for giving, so why not give the gift of yourself? I highly recommend it, and the world would be deeply grateful to receive you.
Christa Angelo, RYT 200 is a traveling yogini, yoga teacher, chocolate addict and founder of Mancora Yoga. Following her dream to live a barefoot lifestyle, surf every day, teach yoga and take frequent naps under palm trees, she found her home and life in a small fishing town in the north of Peru. Living in radical contrast to life in the U.S., she has learned to flow more with the pulse and rhythm of a simple, more natural way of life. Through the joys and challenges of living abroad, creating relationships, cultivating community and building her business, she continues to learn more about herself and the world each day and has found a home, way outside of her comfort zone.
Editor: Lynn Hasselberger
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