Setting new year's resolutions or goals for the future are great and can be so expansive, but how about making the intention to live more in the Now?
Jon Kabat-Zin writes, “Anything and everything can become our teacher of the moment, reminding us of the possibility of being fully present: the gentle caress of air on our skin, the play of light, the look on someone’s face, a passing contraction in the body, a fleeting thought in the mind. Anything. Everything. If it is met in awareness.” Imagine attending to one act or thing in such a way that our awareness of it expands and we become fully anchored in the present moment and fully available to the object of our attention. In yoga classes, I like to ask my students - How does the quality of your attention affect the quality of your experience?
This year, my invitation to you is to bring your awareness back to the now moment as often as possible. Witness how this changes your life. It has surely changed mine more profoundly than I can put words to. It has helped me deal with all kinds of struggles, on the level of my humanly heartaches to the level of existential crises in the face of climate change and world suffering. I have discovered in fact, that most stress is caused by spending too much time thinking about and dissecting the past, or worrying about the future. Practicing presence has not only helped me reduce anxiety and emotional pain, but it has allowed me to actually expand my capacity for joy.
As I learned from Ekhart Tolle in his book The Power of Now, the present moment is all we really have. And you know the miraculous thing about that? It has never existed before, and it will never exist again exactly as it is. And therefore there is no moment more important and more beautiful than this one right now. This book changed my life, by the way - I highly recommend the read.
So while this is my heart-wish for you this year, and I do believe it is best to make your dwelling place in the now, I also think it is important to pay visits to the past and future, as they can provide clarity. New Years can act as a signpost to help us remember to pause and reflect, as well as re-assess where we are going and how we can get there, so that we are taking meaningful action. This is an important part of living consciously. Rituals in general help us make meaning out of the mundane (New Years is another arbitrary day without us celebrating it!), and bring structure and spark to life - which can help motivate us and provide purpose. So if you are someone that appreciates reflecting on the past and planning for the future, I would also like to share with you my New Year's ritual. I hope this helps you usher in the year that awaits you in an intentional way (click the title for the original post).
1. Spend some time deep cleaning and de-cluttering your physical space (this is a helpful first step to decluttering your mind)
2. Set up your sacred space or altar to perform this ritual at
3. Perform a self-care activity to help you turn inward
4. Reflect on each of these prompts in regards to the past year, and journal or record a voice note for each:
a. What is one thing you are grateful for?
b. What is one lesson you learned?
c. What is something you can let go of?
d. What is a quality or feeling you want more of?
e. What would make this year better than the last?
f. What would help you live more authentically or feel more aligned with your best self?
5. Do my new New Year, New You meditation
6. Write your intention down and seal it in by placing it on your altar and meditating in front of it as often as possible (or perhaps taping it to your mirror, setting it as your phone background, planting it in your garden, or placing it under your yoga mat during practice)
One final thought - As you celebrate what the future has in store for you, I encourage you to celebrate the Old You and all the past moment that brought you to this one right here. Let's acknowledge that the Old You is the one who survived every terrible day, every heartbreak and challenge you've ever faced. If you are reading this, you are alive, and you are probably a better version of yourself than you were yesterday, because you have gained new insight and grown, just by experiencing one more day on this planet. And that is worth celebrating. So before looking ahead, be sure to have a toast to the Old You, and the you who is always becoming.
I hope this guidance and insight helps to illuminate your unique path ahead, so that you can fully savor the present moment while staying on course for where you are headed. If you're looking to create healthy habits and spend your time caring for yourself and therefore your society, join me in yoga practice every Sunday morning at 10am pst. I promise it will kick your year off in the best possible way.
From my unique moment in time, to yours,
Thanks for reading! If this article was helpful to you, please share it and tag me on Facebook (@elanaloveyoga) or Instagram (@awholelanalove). If you like my style, join me in weekly yoga classes or the Living Yoga Membership. And always feel free to write me with any questions or feedback. 🙏🏼