New Years always seemed pretty stupid to me – a holiday in which people go out and get
loaded, and then immediately “resolve” to lose 10 lbs, pay off debts, or whatever it is. If we see it as a new beginning, well, every day is a new beginning! We can reinvent our lives any time. I think of how in Egyptian myth, Ra, the sun, dies and passes into the underworld every night and is reborn every day. That is us too, we all have that changing, self-renewing power within us. That said, this baby new year of 2015, this first month, really does feel new to me; I don’t know why. But I feel the collective turning towards the light, towards renewal, powerfully now, even as many around me are struggling with big life changes and difficulties, and there has been so much social unrest. I feel the heaviness of the dark time of the year, I feel the turning toward the light, and I feel the fire of transformation too.
Without getting too caught up in armchair gardening – do you know what armchair gardening is? It’s when gardeners sit in their armchairs in winter, perusing seed catalogs and planning their amazing spring gardens on a scale much more grand than they could ever possibly maintain – I do invite everyone who hasn’t done so already, to consider what life you want to create for yourself at this time. If your resolutions for the new year have already gone by the wayside, what got in the way? What can you do to change it? What stories are you telling yourself that are holding you back? About your health, your work, your relationships, about money? Most of you may know this great Marianne Williamson quote, from her book A Return To Love, but it bears repeating, arguably on a daily basis:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Bam! Thanks Marianne! Hold that in your heart as you contemplate what you want to create. I have contemplated this a lot recently, and I have gone and done something so out of my comfort zone, I am still surprised when I think of it: My partner and I joined a fancy fitness studio. (Not going to say which one, because the wheel is still spinning – we are giving it three months to see if we like it want to continue.) I have gone to an hour-long class about 4 times a week since December 31, and I’m starting to feel pretty addicted. (So good to have healthy addictions!) Cait and I were both feeling a bit out of shape and wanting something different, with some guidance and community support. I have a long background in yoga and different styles of dance, but I wanted something new, something more focused on building strength, and something that really took me to my edge physically and out of my comfort zone in terms of my habits. So far, this is hitting the spot. It feels like just want my body needs right now. It is also a sweet thing to work out in a room full of other go-getter women.
Yoga and dance can be a remarkable, deep, and soulful way to connect with the body and honor the body’s needs. A way to explore the inner landscape, the subtle and gross terrain that is our makeup. Last year, I attended a dance retreat (like, modern interpretive dance) with Margit Galanter, who is now my friend, and I was blown away by the peace I felt exploring movement in such a free and open way. We scooted and rolled around on the floor and did all of this group improvisation with our eyes closed, and I recall having the thought, “I have never moved this way in my life, at least not since I was an infant.”
That is the deep inner well that I draw from when I move now, whether it is walking, giving a massage, or doing 3 sets of 20 push-ups (most of them from the knee, obviously:)). Intense workouts aren’t worth anything if we aren’t feeling deep into our bodies and HONORING them, not trying to subjugate them to our will. Honoring our bodies leads to greater and greater peacefulness and freedom, subjugating them leads to burn-out and injury. And I don’t even mean to avoid the intensity! I’ll freely admit I’m an intensity junkie – I want to live life and really feel something. What I mean is, even in the heat of muscle-quivering, burning, I-don’t-know-if-I-can-do-this-for-another-ten-counts intensity, our awareness still stays internal, right in heart of that fire, and doesn’t go flying out into space, into a dissociative state. The party is right here, right now, this moment, forever.
So listen to your body, what sort of movement does it need now? It knows, even if your mind doesn’t. What fears are holding you back from your next step? In which ways are you playing small? Are you afraid to play big – to be fabulous, talented, et cetera – afraid to own your power? Are you afraid to be healthy because you have known disease so long it is comfortable and familiar? Are you afraid of looking foolish if you “fail” at something? Spend some time with these questions if they feel real to you! Start your life anew any time. Recommit to yourself right now.
by Mollie Moorhead