So, it’s a new calendar year, and, while it is completely cliché of me, I have been making resolutions … not for the new year, specifically, but for my Whole Life. I realized amid the whirl of the recently departed holiday season, that I had managed to completely disavow everything I learned during my travels, especially those lessons and practices I began to cultivate in Thailand – the lessons of Self Care. My body was none too pleased about this devolvement, and was very quick to tell me so. To that end, I have been using this turn of the calendar year as a prompt to reflect on the life I want, and to make steps toward creating it. As that wise sage Frank N. Furter once said: Don’t dream it. Be it. And that’s what I intend to do.
My Resolutions (so far):
1. I resolve to maintain ample space in my schedule for my Self. This is basically my way of revolting against my habit of over committing myself for others at the expense of my own health and sanity. NO MORE, I say! I will practice saying NO to others more often. I will practice releasing any guilt associated with saying NO to others more often. And I will make a solid effort to include activities in my schedule that replenish and rejuvenate me, so that I can meet my everyday obligations with grace and fortitude.
A side note here: I have accepted a promotion to full time at the Inn. In order to make this a viable move, I have had to release myself from obligations at the Theatre and at the Farmers’ Market Stall. My new schedule begins February 1, and I am really feeling good about it. I will still be working every other weekend. But, the beauty of the new schedule is that I will have 10 consecutive days on [at work], and 4 consecutive days off. That means I will have ample time to recharge from my work ‘week’, and can even schedule mini vacations regularly if I want. Yay + hooray!
2. I resolve to regularly take classes to better my Self . I have become very lazy in my day-to-day routines. It’s partially from being overworked and super stressed, but also partly just plain apathy and delusion. I say delusion in reference to the fact that I sometimes allow my fantasy world to delude me into believing that I am doing more than I really am. (Wrap your head around that, why don’t you?) In order to have some concrete evidence that I am actually doing the things I want to do, I am going to take classes – with other people, and everything. This taking of classes allows me the opportunity to be a student, too, rather than always taking the role of teacher. (Though it is true that teachers often learn as much or more from their students as they teach them, it’s not quite the same as straight-up being a student.) I suppose there is also a good measure of accountability being built into this resolution, as well.
I have actually come up with a nice little class schedule for myself. Each week I take a yoga class at a local yoga studio. On the weeks that I am working, I take an Anusara class on Saturday morning. On my free weeks, I take a Yin Yoga class on Sunday evenings. I also enrolled in a Lyrical/Contemporary dance class at Ninth Street Dance for the winter session. I have only had one session so far, but, already, I can tell it is having a profound effect on my health and well-being, and on my relationship with my body. Plus, it’s FUN! In the future I may add different types of classes, such as photography, visual art, sewing, or such. So exciting!
3. I resolve to clean up my diet, and eat a sustainable diet of whole foods that nourish the whole me. This is going to be a challenging one. For whatever reason, I have always had trouble connecting my will power with my consumption of food and drink. It’s not that my diet is so bad. I eat pretty clean as it is: organic, gluten free, no-antibiotics, no-hormones, free range, etc. And I choose local over long-distance when the choice is presented to me. That said, I am aiming to get even closer to the source. I aim to seek out those foods that are available locally. The Triangle area of NC has a plethora of farmers, many of them employing organic practices. So, every other Saturday I will buy my groceries at the Farmers’ Market. I will eat what’s in season. (I try to do this already, but will make a more concerted effort.) In short, I want to stop being lazy about food. I intend to do more preparing of wholesome meals at home rather than stopping by Whole Foods every other day for quick meals. More vegetables and whole grains, less dairy, sweets, prepared foods and booze! Mindful meal planning, executing and consuming; that’s what this resolution is about, really.
4. I resolve to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every night. This one is self explanatory, no? Though, admittedly, I seem to do best with around 10 hours a night.
5. I resolve to do some form of mindful movement (yoga, stretching, dancing, etc.) every day – even if only for 10 minutes. So far, I’ve been managing to make this one happen pretty easily. Since I’ve been walking everywhere (no car!) I have begun experiencing some hip discomfort as well as some foot cramping. Stretching thoroughly every morning and night really helps to alleviate this discomfort, so it’s a resolution with immediate benefits. (Aren’t those the best?)
6. I resolve to cultivate a daily meditation practice. This one, too, is likely to pose a challenge. I don’t know how many times I have tried to start a meditation practice. And on the rare occasion that I’ve actually managed to start one, not one has lasted more than about a month … and that’s a month of scattered practice. So, I have set up a little sacred space in my bedroom with a little side table-turned-altar. I am placing inspirational and meaningful objects on my altar. I am hoping these objects and this lovely little oasis will entice me to want to get on the cushion to meditate. And I’m willing to mix things up for myself, too. I can do any kind of meditating I want for those 10 minutes: mantra work, pranayama [breath awareness], tratak [candle gazing], visualization, mindfulness, etc. If I know it’s going to be a challenge, I may as well give myself a little leeway in the particulars, right?
7. I resolve to get a pedicure every two weeks. This resolution made the list for two reasons: 1. Sometimes it’s nice to allow myself to feel pretty. Pretty feet and toes are a nice, simple way to do that. 2. With all the walking I’m doing and foot cramping I’ve been experiencing, I figured this would be a great way of being nice to my feet – helping them with the healing process – to counterbalance all the stress from walking (and the occasional wearing of heels at work).
8. I resolve to get a massage or other healing bodywork session at least once a month. This one is also pretty self-explanatory. What might not be so apparent is the fact that I am one of those stereotypical wounded healer types. I am quick to help other people find healing in their lives, but I neglect my own healing and well-being much of the time. This - and every other resolution here - is about correcting that imbalance.
9. I resolve to dance at least once a week. Dancing is fun. Dancing is expressive. Dancing is freedom in movement. Movement is good for the body, the mind, the spirit and the soul. Enough said.
10. I resolve to write in my blog at least once a week. You can help hold me to this, darling reader. I openly invite you to chastise me if I fail to honor this resolution. And while I write largely to give myself a better perspective of my Self, I also write with the hope that some of my experience and insight might be of use to some of you. If there are things you would like me to write about, or experiments you would like to see me perform (within reason, please), then I invite and encourage you to contact me with your ideas.
11. I resolve to cultivate a daily practice of acknowledging and expressing gratitude. I think I might start writing in a gratitude journal every night. But right now, this practice equals me going over all the wonderful things in my life for which I am grateful, and giving a cosmic thank you to the universe for those things. In fact, right now, I am grateful for you!
12. I resolve to take at least 2 vacations (min. 3 days) each year. I have long been a believer in the whole notion of vacations. I believe that we would all do well to remember that it’s more important to work so we can live rather than living to work. That said, while I really, truly believe these things in my heart of hearts, I have not practiced these beliefs. (Are you sensing a theme here? I am.) Aside from my mass exodus last year, I have rarely carved actual vacation time into my schedule. I intend to remedy that now. And I mean ‘vacation’ in the very literal sense of the word. I intend to take these holidays to vacate my usual routines, environments, habits and experiences. They will, by their very nature, be true experiments in bliss.
13. I resolve to experience at least one social activity with friends every two weeks. Okay, so some of you may be thinking that one social experience every two weeks is a ridiculously low bar for which to reach. However, I tend to be very hermity and nesty. Most of this comes from my poor time management skills, to be sure, but I am also actually an introvert by nature. As a kid, I could often be found hiding behind my mother’s legs when she was trying to introduce me to new people (or sometimes even around familiar people)! So, this is a realistic, but still honorable goal for me. I do enjoy time spent with friends, and I am very lucky to have some really wonderful and eclectic souls in my life. So, I resolve to spend more time with them … just at my own little pace.
14. I resolve to support my local organic farmers by buying much of my food from my local farmers’ market. This is kind of a rehash/sub-genre of number 3.
15. I resolve to drink at least 3 Liters of water every day. This is already something I work toward every day, and usually succeed in achieving. However, I list it here as a good reminder to myself that hydration is imperative for me. When I start to get too busy and overworked, I often get distracted, and forget to drink water. This, of course, compounds the negative effects of the stress I am feeling, adding headaches, ringing ears, stagnant digestion, poor sleep/insomnia, and other such ill effects to the mix. No fun. But when I remember to drink my water every day, I don’t have to worry about such nasties infiltrating my life. Yay for water!
16. I resolve to give my Self a full body exfoliation every week. In order for the skin – the largest organ of elimination – to do its job properly and efficiently, it must be free of built up residues and toxins. How do we achieve this freedom? By exfoliating regularly! For me, this is either in the form of dry skin brushing or homemade scrubs made with salt, sugar, coffee or the like. Crafty and healthy! Plus, exfoliating leaves the skin soft, rosy and glowing. Boon!
17. I resolve to fast on each full moon and new moon. This is a practice that I started half-heartedly last year, inspired by my sister’s research and practice of Moon Diets. I have found that when I adhere to a full liquids-only fast on both the full and the new moon, I feel so much better in my body. I have more vitality, equanimity, and just feel cleaner and healthier.
18. I resolve to observe the power and magick during full moons, new moons, and the holidays of the Wheel of the Year. Celebrating the Wheel of the Year and the moon cycles is something I used to do quite regularly with friends. But once I lost touch with those folks, I sort of just let the practice fade to nothing, too. Being someone who feels a very deep spiritual connection with Nature, I have really been missing these celebrations. I feel I have been doing my Self a disservice by not openly acknowledging these Natural rhythms and cycles. So, I resolve to revive those celebrations in honor of the rhythms and cycles that connect us all in the great tapestry of Life.
19. I resolve to avoid looking at my computer screen first thing in the morning, or just before bed at night. This is just good advice for anyone, really. Let’s let our brains and eyes actually have the chance to transition to deep rest and daily activity!
20. I resolve to always resist the temptation to say something negative about my Self, opting, instead, to say something positive and wonderful, and maybe even glorious. It is often said that the negative is easier to believe than the positive. I think this is a fallacy. I just think that we, as a society, have forgotten the power of positive thinking. And I don’t mean that in a Tony Robbins kind of way, though there is nothing wrong with the Tony Robbins way. What I mean to say is that we have trained ourselves to repetitively seek out the negative. We make jokes about misfortunes. We put others down to lift ourselves up. We compare ourselves to others by noting how one is less than the other. We celebrate sarcasm. Advertisements try to sell us things based on our deficiencies without a particular product. So, with so much negativity in our periphery – in our faces – it becomes very easy to default to a negative way of thinking. But I postulate that if we can catch those negative thoughts as they are about to happen, and swap them out for positive thoughts, then we will begin to see the entire world in a new light; a positive perspective. And that’s what I’m going to do, goshdarnit! And I challenge you to do it, too.
21. I resolve to resist the temptation to mindlessly eat/drink in an attempt to sate my emotional needs. Okay, another rehash/sub-genre of number 3. (I told you that dietary changes were a big challenge for me!) This is what you might call The Grand Poobah of my food issues. Wish me luck and fortitude, please!
22. I resolve to resist the temptation to beat my Self up if I break my own rules or resolutions. Say it loud … say it proud: I will remain kind to my Self if I slip up along the way. I will encourage my Self to just get back up and keep on truckin’. I will love my Self no matter what. And that’s what life’s all about, isn’t it?
So … what are you resolutions for 2012? Are you resolving? Are you abstaining from resolution? How do you incorporate changes into your life?
Happy 2012, darlings! I hope it will be a year of enchantment, fulfillment, contentment and LOVE!