January, new year, new you, new plans! New, new, new! Wait! How about the you now?
What's next?! What's new?! What will I aim for? Work goals? Life goals? What new course will I do this year? What new skill will I learn? How much weight do I need to loose? How much further will I run, lift a weight, doing, doing, doing!
Do any of these sound familiar?! How about we stop, reflect and ponder on what we do have, where we are at, rather than striving for more and more and more... What if we picked up all the unread books we already have, rather than buy new ones? Or re read ones on our shelves? What if we went over what we already know about a subject to really integrate it? Or see it from a different angle? Or finished all the courses we have already started? (guilty as charged) What if we accepted ourselves just as we are and didn't wish to be thinner, fitter, better cooks, clean more, meditate longer, do yoga everyday?
Putting unrealistic expectations on ourselves only sets us up for disappointment. Set an intention, by all means, but realistic small steps are the way, not big 'new year, new me' resolutions.
May be this year you can choose a Sankalpa? Sankalpa is the Sanskrit word for intention. San means “to become one with” and kalpa means “time” and “subconscious mind." You can use a Sankalpa as a way to set an intention, to connect with your heart’s deepest desire. Putting an intention or Sankalpa into words gives you something to work with, a guide, mantra, or affirmation, available to you at any time. Often, our inner critic can get pretty loud, and our thoughts can be negative and hurtful. Having a Sankalpa available to you allows you to catch those negative thoughts, then work on replacing them with positive and loving ones. Focus on making the Sankalpa positive, for example, you can turn “I will not be stressed” into “Peace is available to me” or “Serenity flows through me now.” If you are having a difficult time coming up with a statement, you can focus on a word rather than phrase, like confidence, relaxation, or wisdom. We must allow all our feelings, dark and light, but a Sankalpa is a gentle positive word or phrase to have at our disposal when we are needing a nudge of encouragement. Examples may be, grace, I choose joy, I move with ease, peace, calm, letting go... allowing all thoughts, no judgement, compassion. Your Sankalpa is your word and personal to you, choose it with love and use it with respect. If after a while your Sankalpa doesn't sit right, then choose another, nothing has to stay the same. I love the idea of moving forwards, believing we are ever growing and learning students of life and I don't have a problem with striving but it's also important to rest, take stock, and nourish what we have and be content with our current status. So right now, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Ask yourself 'what do I love about my life right now, just as it is, changing nothing?' Imagine this 'thing' and allow the feeling of contentment to spread throughout your body... Allow the feeling of ease to permeate your cells and caress your soul... May you rest in the now and enjoy this present moment, And so it is.
With kindness and compassion, Karen
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