As I sat in my parents living room this morning, watching the beautiful, silent snow fall gently on the grass, trees and roofs of nearby homes, my mind drifted to the annual hype of making New Year’s Resolutions, it being already a few days into January and all ;-). I’m not being a smart a@! by referring to it as “hype”, I was just reflecting on how much we get focused (including myself) on what we are going to change once the clock strikes 12:00 AM every January 1st.
Our stay so far in the Mitten State for the holidays has been a whirlwind, with the last 2 weeks events being unexpected and not the “norm” for what usually our December trips hold. My husband’s grandpa passed away on Christmas, with him spending most of the day at the hospital with his grandpa until he moved on that evening. I was blessed to be able to call him my grandpa as well, the last 15 years, as he treated me as his own grandchild, growing into the family as a girlfriend, fiance, then an in-law. He hadn’t been well, however a surprise health challenge a couple days prior turned into his soul’s journey home. Although sad to think about, I thought it was such a special moment for my husband to be able to be present as his grandpa gently and peacefully drifted out of this physical world. It is the cycle we go through in this life, and it was precious for him to be able to be there, giving his loving energy to his grandpa as his soul moved on. This event, along with a few others that I’ve reflected on over the last few years of my life, including the death of my paternal grandpa in 2010, are just small reasons as to why I sat this morning in a reflection mode, letting thoughts of a New Year float around in my head. With all that said, these moments in time make you realize how important it is to be IN those moments, every second of that moment, as we never know when our last moment will be. Everything is happening right NOW…
To step back to my original comments above about getting pumped up about all the changes we are going to make because it is a New Year, a fresh start, a blank canvas, etc… The big holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, often bring on a little bit of chaos – excessive shopping, deadlines, overeating and drinking, busy schedules, getting out of a routine, and so on. People are enjoying themselves and let their minds take a break from the other 10 months of the year. But when December 31st rolls around, whether you are gearing up for a big blow out night, or curled up on the couch with plans to drift off before midnight, the thoughts are in full force about what is going to be different for the next day and the 364 days to follow.
I think it is great to have goals and resolutions for oneself for a New Year – something to work towards and try to accomplish, for stretching and aiding oneself in growth of one’s soul. However, when I started to think more and more about the ending of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, and my thoughts surrounding what my goals/resolutions were going to be, I stopped myself and remembered how I had recently been thinking about the importance of living in the now. IT IS HAS BEEN HARD TO DO! There I said it! It has drove me NUTS when I’ve tried and and then caught myself NOT doing it 🙂 OK, purge over… 🙂 I had learned of a book 3-4 years ago by Eckhart Tolle entitled The Power of Now. I was familiar with its content and it was always a book of interest that I had anticipated picking up one day, however hadn’t purchased it yet. A couple of months ago, while sitting in easy pose before a Tuesday yoga class, my instructor read a small excerpt from the book. I had been recently struggling personally with the concept of living in the present moment, prior to that class, knowing of its importance for ultimate peace of mind, and took the reading as a sign to get the book ordered up, which I am now reading. Although only a few chapters in, I’m excited to implement the words that will aid in more enlightenment of my soul. One of the few things I’ve read thus far by Mr. Tolle in his book, with reflection on a piece of my own growth, was this snippet: “The single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind… Your mind is an instrument, a tool. It is there to be used for a specifics task, and when that task is completed, you lay it down. As it is, I would say about 80-90% of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful. Observe your mind and you will find this to be true. It causes a serious leakage of vital energy.”
With respect to taking on our New Year’s resolutions, our mind can be helpful in that task mode if used properly, or it can majorly hinder the whole concept of setting and accomplishing those goals. Wayne Dyer said in his recent message post on Spirit Library: “Any resolution that involves making decisions about future behaviors is a waste of time. It also reinforces the self-defeating notion of living in the future… This day that you’re living right now is the only day you get. Period. You can resolve to be skinny when next July rolls around, or to quit smoking next month, or to write that book you’ve been meaning to…The New Year is a good time to initiate a plan so you can make some changes and help live your life to the fullest. See if you can practice thinking differently. Decide very specifically what it is that you would like to change about yourself in 2015. If you have some goals in mind, vow to work on them day by day rather than making them a year-long project…Remember, you are in control of all thoughts in your head. When you are using up your present moments to worry about the future, constantly reviewing the past to come up with how you should have done it differently, or contemplating disaster, remind yourself that you are wasting this particular present moment.”
Let me just say that I’m not trying to offend anyone, push anything on anyone, or say that the intentions or plans for an individual’s New Year are pointless and bunk. They make a person grow and accomplish, but if you don’t get to the ultimate result that was in your mind or was your expectation, shake it off and appreciate the moments you were/are in. Otherwise, we can beat ourselves up in some way, shape or form, hindering the process of our soul’s purpose here, in this life. We will learn one way or another, and our journey is already mapped out as to how we are to ride on through these experience’s, but maybe this year’s focus could be living in the NOW, processing, appreciating and embracing each moment whether “good” or “bad”. I’m chatting with myself more than trying to impose thoughts on someone reading this, but maybe it will help someone’s thought process that they were struggling with, if wanting to break out of an old way of thinking.
I have my own set of goals that I would like to implement into my own routine for the New Year, however I’m approaching it differently daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. I would like to try to live more in the present moment and not stress out about the past or the future. It will require some work, as I break out of a mold and old way of thinking, but I think that the top “goal” on that list will be being more mindful about living in the NOW, and observing when I may step out of that process. Not get down when catching myself “slipping up”, because there is no such thing – it is just a part of our own process of growth.
These are some thoughts for implementation in my next 100 New Year’s Resolutions lists, and at the top of that list I’d like to always put LIVE IN THE NOW – be present always. I’m not an expert on these subjects, a spiritual teacher, a psychotherapist, nor do I play one on TV. These thoughts and events have just been feeding my soul lately. Maybe they will feed yours, too.