Namaste Beautiful Shining Lights!
For those of you who are new to this ancient Sanskrit word, let me take a second to explain it to you. It is a very sacred and a deeply spiritual word with several meanings. Many of you have heard Namaste in a Yoga class, but do you really know the meaning of the word? In the literal translations it is broken down like this: “Namah” breaks down to salutation, and “te” breaks down to you. So, basically, “Salutations to you”. I have also heard/read the spiritual translation as “The divine in me, sees and respects the divine in you.” I, of course love this translation especially. When I traveled to Nepal, India, and Bali last year, I heard and spoke this word dozens of times a day with my hands at my heart and bowing to each soul who looked at me. It was the greeting you heard everywhere, by everyone, usually followed by a “Hello”. I fell in deep love right away! So much respect for each other. What a concept!
So anyway, here we are, the first day of 2018. I have to be honest, New Years Day has never really been a huge deal for me. I tend to view my new years day to be my birthday, personally. That day truly is the beginning of a new year, but besides the point! 2017 had so many ups for me, and so many downs as well. Highlights of course being the above mentioned trip full of yoga, meditation, connection, and spiritual growth that has propelled me forward; teaching yoga and meditation three to five times a week, beginning ESOL (English speakers of other languages) training for volunteering with the Literacy Council in my county, (which I start in ten days with a woman my age from Honduras who wants to learn to read and write English); beginning a two year training with my Meditation teachers to become a certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher; being a guest on another of my teachers radio shows discussing yoga and meditation as a form of healing in recovery from trauma; finding an amazing therapist to deepen my healing process as a child of neglect and abuse which has led to many years of shoving emotions and trauma into the pits of my belly; and speaking of belly, starting an intense elimination diet to try and heal 30+ years of digestive disorders; which includes eliminating all forms of sugar, (now at just under 7 months sugar free!) So many lows as well: accompanying my love, Kevin to Buffalo and being with him and his family as his father passed away from cancer; two car accidents (both minor enough, but insurance rates increased regardless that they were not my fault), Kevin’s intense relapse from recovery (thankfully the bottom he needed to propel him forward! And he is crushing it!), Trump being elected into office and watching my rights and country slip fast before my eyes, and again, cutting myself off of sugar! This has been amazing to eliminate, but I can not believe the vicious grip sugar possesses over me. I mean it is intense. Finding out that you are truly an addict to a substance is insane, especially when it is more than legal! It is in every food in America, damn near. It is eight times more addictive than cocaine, so snicker away if you think it does not qualify as an addictive substance. And then challenge yourself to cut it out and then we’ll talk! All in all, I had a pretty decent year.
That brings us to today and the upcoming year. I strongly discourage “resolutions”. I never set them. I feel like they have this sense of attachment of failure and unrealistic goals meant to “change” something about your self that is bad or wrong. They are a sick trap, only causing self esteem issues and the overwhelming sense of pressure and impending disappointment, because most only last a few weeks to a few months, before we slip back from new habits of promises. Life is a constant growth process, and it should really have a more positive light around it, other than the negative feeling of a resolution or “need” to resolve or change something negative about yourself. I personally like to set intentions for my day, and repeat affirmations about myself that uplift me. What is the difference between an “Intention” and an “Affirmation” anyway? I looked both up on Wikipedia, because my explanations may be an around about confusing blurb of words! So here goes: an Intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought. And an affirmation is a declaration that something is true. For an affirmation to be effective, it needs to be present tense, positive, personal and specific.
So, for example, when I get up and really start to think about my day ahead, as I am grinding my coffee beans, this is when I decide how my day is going to go. (Of course, the coffee helps!) I can choose to be grumpy, cold, tired etc…or I can set my intention on being mindful and present, happy and content with all the gifts I am lucky to enjoy each day: food, clean air and water, a loving partner, a roof over my head and a wonderful community who supports me. I can decide to concentrate on being more patient, more accepting of how things are and that I have absolutely no control on other peoples lives and choices they make for themselves. I can intend on being more compassionate in every situation that is presented to me that day. I can intend on working on being kind to every one and showing them the love that I truly have in my heart just waiting to be expressed to someone who will stop long enough to give me a hug or a smile.
My affirmations that I repeat to myself pretty regularly, are I am statements: I am so fortunate to have food, clean air and water and a loving partner. I am generous and kind with my time and love to serve others in need. I am patient and accepting of what life throws at me. I am part of a loving community, and really communities, that support me and I support them. I am loving and positive and forgiving. I am embracing what life gives me and accepting of the challenges I am given, realizing they are opportunities for learning and growth. I am grateful. Truly grateful. I am LOVE!
I have many intentions for this blog going forward. Life shifted my priorities this last year, and I focused where I needed to. But moving forward, stay tuned for new things. I plan on sharing a recipe page for new ideas you can incorporate into your life. Fresh, organic, sugar free, easy and beyond nutritious. Guided meditations and yoga practices. Meditation and Yoga daily challenges and support. And who knows what else?!
So, in short, the next time you step on your mat and you hear the teacher suggest setting an intention, maybe you will look at it in a different light. Maybe you might think about doing this when you step out of bed. Maybe throw in a couple affirmations for yourself while you are at it. Remembering that positivity brings positivity. Showing yourself some love and appreciation, reminding your self of the things you are and that you are grateful for, can only help to shift the mind into a more consistent positive outlook. Trust me, if we all tried this even for a little while, maybe we can bring some change to the world. It can’t hurt.
Namaste! I deeply bow to each one of you who are so kind to read my words!