A Place to Begin

Just like the rest of the world, I am “beginning again” today, setting new goals for the new year, and searching for ways to keep myself on track and motivated to accomplish my dreams.  Ahhhhh, the beauty of a fresh start.

For me 2016 will be a year of self direction.  At least, that’s the plan.  This past year was quite a whirlwind – albeit a fun one, a whirlwind just the same.  Between moving to a new city, setting up a new home, getting the kids going in a new school, following Coach in a new job, and jumping into a new realm of education and learning for myself, the last 12 months were full of activity, movement, and feeling a bit out of control.  (Perhaps “new” should be a banned word around here!!)

I realize that my life over the last 365 days was directed by commitments, obligations, meetings, schedules, and “have to” items on my calendar.  I had a fantastic time, I would not go back in time to change a thing, and yet the time was not my own.  All those experiences provided beautiful growth and discovery; they also planted in me a huge desire to take back the reigns and steer the cart for a while.

This year I want to be self-directed.

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Saying that is the easy part; defining what that means is something else entirely.  I figure that the first step in directing my own days is to determine what I want to be doing:

  • Finish settling into our home, complete house projects that I have neglected, and [FINALLY] sort/clean/purge/organize/file/burn/shred paperwork that multiplies exponentially every time I turn around.
  • Return to my hobbies such as scrapbooking, quilting, reading, and writing.
  • Stay home, get back to meal planning and home cooking, keep the kitchen clean and the laundry reasonably caught up throughout the week.
  • Be present.  Focus on what I am doing rather than multi-tasking to the point that no person, no pet, no chore, no job gets my full attention at any time.
  • Slow down to savor the days I have left with my children at home, create lasting moments and memories for us all to cherish, and promote “down time” spent together.
  • Develop my yoga life through both practice, education, and development of my teaching abilities.
  • Be consistent!

Doesn’t that look fabulous on paper?  I admit, it really does!  But how does it translate into real life?  MY real life??

Well, I’m an analytical kind of girl, so it makes sense to me that the above wish list must now become a concrete set of goals:

  • MONTHLY:  Attend a workshop, training, or intensive practice to continue my growth and improvement as a yoga teacher. Publish a sample yoga class online to practice my craft.  Preserve empty days to spend on me, doing things I enjoy, and not allowing guilt or judgement to dampen nor diminish my spirit when those days arrive.
  • WEEKLY:  Schedule my calendar to match my intentions rather than chasing my schedule as others set it for me on the fly.  Plan meals according to the week’s activities.  Block out time to tackle paperwork, bills, and phone calls.
  • DAILY:  Share a pose, a scripture, and a thought that others might find inspiring or helpful in their own lives.  Write.  Be still.  Be silent.  Set everything else aside to have focused time with SonShine and Angel Girl.

So, here we are: Day 1 of 2016.

A great place to begin yoga is in a nice, comfortable, seated position.  Many well-known yoga postures have commonly used names in both Sanskrit and English.  Today’s selection is Sukhasana, or Easy Pose.

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You might use a wall or chair for support.  Your legs might be crossed, butterflied, resting on a chair seat, underneath you, or straight out in front of you.  Once you are settled comfortably, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and just sit.  Sit there quietly for a good, long while.  Try to stay there for a full 5 minutes, perhaps even 10 or 15.

That sounds easy, right?  I mean, 5 minutes??   Five short minutes fly by over and over throughout a normal day.  But 5 QUIET, STILL minutes are something else.  You might even find that they are a tumultuous force with which to be reckoned.

When I began yoga teacher training last fall, 5 minutes of silent reflection was torture.  I am still not great at it, but I do understand the necessity in it.  Your mind might flit and fly and fling itself around like a fast pinball in a flashy arcade.  Mine sure does.  That is just fine.  Let those thoughts come, and then let them go.  Release them.  Give yourself permission to take a break from those mental meanderings.

If you need some help or would like to learn more, take a look at these two books:

10% Happier by Dan Harris

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Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program

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They were recommended to me by my YTT (yoga teacher training) instructor, and they are phenomenal.  Truly worth the read!!

Finally for today, I’m reading Genesis 1:1-5.  It’s where it all begins, so it’s a great place to start a new year:

The Beginning

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

With love and hugs on New Year’s Day,

Ashli

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