The classic Vedic text known as the Upanishads declares, “You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.” – Deepak Chopra
Around this time each year I think back to the same time the past year and marvel at how much can change in such a short amount of time. This moment last year I was in a relationship with a man I loved, taught yoga four times a week, and overall was pretty excited to see what 2016 would bring. And then 2016 happened… and kicked us all in the face. Over the course of the last year I broke up with my boyfriend, moved to a different state, took a new job, found new friends, and got a cat. Everything can change in a year.
Looking back to what I had written for my 2016 resolutions, I found aspirations like be the best girlfriend I could be, work out every day, write more, be more self-loving, etc. I made lots of lofty goals without taking the next step to figure out how exactly I was going to measure the success of my efforts. I found myself forgetting these self-improvement promises when the time came to enact them. This year I’m trying something different.
Instead of sweeping declarations to eat healthier or save more money, I’m thinking about everyday lifestyle changes that aren’t too tough to commit to, but also allow myself some wiggle room. I’ve also found that being specific is helpful, such as: Every day I’m going to take 5 mindful breaths.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the resolution-making that we forget that the point of a New Year’s Resolution is to help us live our best lives. Resolutions are steps we take to act in the interest of our own highest good. Enacting resolutions means we consciously give energy to the outcome we want. This can mean having the resolve to get up an hour earlier to run, or something as simple as one minute of mindful breathing. In terms of channeling our energy to influence our states of consciousness, we are more powerful than we realize.
So, how does our energy work and how can we channel it? One way is through yoga. In yoga philosophy we talk about energy centers of the body, or chakras. There are seven primary ones, including the heart chakra, keeping us open to love, the root chakra, keeping us grounded, and the third eye chakra which is the home of our intuition. The yoga poses work to keep energy flowing through our bodies so we stay physically vibrant and healthy, while the work we do off our mats like meditation and mindful breathing keep us mentally healthy.
Our energy is affected by everything we do: what we eat, how much exercise we’re getting, the quality of our thoughts and actions, how we sleep, etc. The law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but rather is transformed from one form to another. What kind of energy do we want, and what is a worthy recipient of our energy? I think about my energy in terms of what’s going to feel good; sometimes I want to do yoga and drink green juice, while other times I want to go out with my friends and have a doughnut–it’s all a balance.
However, there are other things that don’t deserve my energy. I struggle with anxiety, and more and more I’m becoming aware that I don’t want to give energy to being anxious. The more cognizant I am of how much I’m letting anxiety or fear influence my thoughts, the lower my energy sinks. The more compassion I have for myself and the braver I feel, the higher my energy rises. My energy is higher when its being nourished by compassion, courage, and positive activities like yoga and laughing. Have you ever heard the phrase, “You get out what you put in?” Some call it placebo effect, and we just think we are happier because we’re trying to be, but there’s no denying that we, as energetic beings, we are constantly in flux with all other energetic beings, and taking responsibility for our own energy is a pivotal step in cultivating a more peaceful society.
The first step towards manifesting your highest good is knowing that you can. Of course you can! The second is becoming aware of your energy, and how you both affect and are affected by the energy around you. Do crowds make you anxious? Does watching movies with your family make you happy? Do you feel better after a walk to the park? Notice what serves you, and what doesn’t, and in 2017 do more of what makes you happy and keeps you healthy, whatever that is. And the third is faith. Hold with loving gratitude the belief that what you desire most, that which is in the interest of your highest good and the highest good of the universe, is coming to you.
As you’re thinking of what you want to manifest in 2017, give yourself some grace to buffer your resolutions. Instead of saying, “I’m going to attend a yoga class five days a week,” and then feeling guilty when something truly unavoidable comes up and and I miss a day, I am adopting a resolution from my teacher: “Every day. I will bend forward, backwards, and to both sides. I’ll invert, I’ll twist, and I will breathe mindfully.” Sometimes it’s three minutes of yin. Sometimes it’s two hours of ashtanga!
As we close 2016 and welcome 2017 with love, humor, and grace my intention for us all is this: May the divinity that lies within each atom of the universe bring each one of us exactly what we want, that which is in the interest of our highest good. May this year bring each of us peace, love, joy, and laughter in whatever forms these virtues shall appear. This is what I want for us. Or, something better 🙂
Happy New Year! Namaste <3