A Vow in Silence.

Via Marylee Fairbanks
on Jan 1, 2012
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The 24 Things Mid-Winters Toss. Day One: January 1st 


The empty boxes are on the curb for recycling.  The vacuum cylinder is coated with sparkles and stray pine needles are strewed about the house. The Christmas commotion has settled and it’s perfect time to appreciate all we have, let go of what weighs us down, and make space for new dreams in this New Year.

24 Things cycles always begin with a Sankalpa.  It is a powerful way to start any endeavor.  A Sankalpa is a simple but specific intention; a spiritual resolve. Kalpana means, idea, imagination of the mind, creation.  Each New Year, or anything we begin with a Sankalpa, is like a blank canvas.

The difference between it and a New Years Resolution is the direction of the energy, behind the determination.

New Years Resolutions often require that we give something up; sweets or alcohol. The focus is more on what we have been doing wrong and implies that we are not enough.  But, a Salkalpa focuses on what we want to call into our life, the focus shifts to receiving and abundance.

An Internal Vow

New Year’s resolutions are often shared and discussed. Telling a goal makes it less likely to happen. It actually extinguishes our drive.

When we share ambitions and it is acknowledged by others, the mind tricked into feeling satisfaction and we are less likely to do the work required. The mind mistakes the talking for the doing.

When you keep your promise to yourself, it’s sacred.

I am, not I want.

Focus on a positive result. Don’t give attention to what you don’t want or are lacking in. Word your Sankalpa with care, in the affirmative and present- tense; I AM rather than I WANT.

A Sankalpa is not “ I want to make new friends in my community.” It is “I am making new friends in my community.”

This slight adjustment makes a big difference. Imagine your best life and be clear and remember that where your energy is directed, your future goes.

Align with your Dharma

Dharma is the desire to be what your soul was meant to be. Ask yourself; how can I serve my highest potential?

When the individual aligns with the universal it is powerful. You know when you are moving in the right direction in life.  Your energy carries and sustains you.

Sometimes our resolutions don’t serve our Dharma. When we force situations to be as we wish rather than accepting what is, we exhaust our prana. When you feel this way, it is likely that you are not in alignment.

“You are what your deep driving desire is,

As is your desire so is your intention.

As is your intention so is your will.

As is your will so is your deed.

As is your deed so is your destiny.”

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Let go

We cannot receive until we let go of expectations and actions.  That doesn’t mean that we don’t have desires, goals and dreams.  Rather, it means we have a clear view of what the spirit is calling for and faith in the abundance of the Universe.

A Sankalpa is not about achieving a specific thing within a certain time frame. It is broader and far more encompassing than that. It is a steady, internal, energetic shift. It changes you.

Be clear about what you desire, keep an open mind about outcomes, and sustain effort and faith.

“Once you make a decision the whole world conspires to make it happen.” –Emerson

Now go 24

Today we start our first 24 Things cycle for the year 2012. Let go of one thing each day for the next 24 days. Let go and create freedom, in the home, mind or body, and create a sacred space. Inside this sacred space you can develop the faith that you will be provided for and cherished without the aid of material things.

We are more powerful than we know and can call in the wonderful, when we learn to let go.

Make space in your life for your Sankalpa to enter.


We have a growing list of bloggers that join in on 24 Things and share their experiences.  If you are blogging let me know. I love hearing about the experiences of others and will link you up to the 24 Things website.

Make a magical New Year.


Join the mailing list at CHAKRAS YOGA

Other pieces by Marylee:   American MomThe Princess Of Garbage DaySing Out, Clara, and Letter From A Bully.


About Marylee Fairbanks

Marylee Fairbanks is a columnist for Gaiam, elephant journal, My Life Yoga, and Bliss.com, Her essays explore Motherhood and yoga, but mainly focus on her experiences with her young son and the many ways he helps her grow. She is a registered yoga teacher and founder of Chakras Yoga and The 24 Things. She teaches Chakras Balancing workshops and yoga classes. Prior to having her son, she performed in Broadway musicals across the country. Marylee lives in Massachusetts with her husband, son, and dogs. Find her on her website and follow her on twitter.


14 Responses to “A Vow in Silence.”

  1. TiZ says:


  2. marylee says:

    anything left to toss tiz?

  3. melissa says:

    “Once you make a decision the whole world conspires to make it happen.” –Emerson this has always been one of my favorite quotes and i believe in the power of making that choice… but also believe in the power of announcing it- when it's secret, while yes, it's sacred, it's also easy to change, manipulate or talk ourselves into or out of something. Without the support of friends and setting my intention to move beyond my fear of moving forward as a single mom this year, I'm not sure I would have done it. I would have stayed. There is power in the spoken word.
    Can you share more about why you feel you should make the sankulpa an internal vow only?
    In joy & gratitude,
    Melissa Smith
    fellow EJ contributor, http://www.elephantjournal.com/author/melissa-smi

  4. chakras yoga says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I hope you are joining in on the 24 challenge and letting go of one thing each day! My husband and I were talking about keeping things sacred. Its two parts for me. Its like when you are really young and tell all your girlfriends about your new boyfriend and reveal personal things to them.. it takes away from the sacred nature of the relationship. Does that make sense?
    the second part is that everyone is different. My husband feels as you do that it makes him more committed to say it out loud to someone else. Almost as if he would be letting them down as well if he didnt follow through. I think this is a personal thing. For me, the announcement does, in a way, let me off the hook.. "they know i am trying" "I feel supported" and i think for my personality type this does trick the brain into complacency.

    I do thank you for sharing the article and if you are joining in on 24 come to the site and post your thoughts.
    namaste friend

  5. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Love it.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook.

  6. Marylee says:

    Thanks Tanya !

  7. Laurie says:

    Makes so much sense to me! Something I need to work on.

    Thanks ML

  8. chakras yoga says:

    Thanks for joining in! Its not so hard when you take it one day at a time. One little thing.. just let it go… then another… Happy New Year

  9. chakras yoga says:

    OH MY GOSH.. this is one of those comments that I may copy and paste on my desk top.. Thank you. There is nothing I enjoy hearing more. It even tops "Hey you look like you have lost weight!"

    I really appreciate you reading, commenting and joining in on 24 Things.. Namaste to you friend.. All good things

  10. chakras yoga says:

    also THANKS TO NANDU for sharing and passing it on.. much appreciated

  11. Mike says:

    I always thought new years resolutions were stupid. Most people are not successful with goals they set in new years. When I set goals it has nothing to do with the time of year. I decide I want to go for something because it will make me happy. I will do whatever it takes to reach that goal. Most people just do new years resolutions because everyone else is doing it. Set goals when you want to and make sure they are things you really want to be successful at.