I’ve entered into 2019 refreshed from a wonderful long visit from my family, all the way from Canada and from Sydney. We’ve celebrated a milestone birthday for me (60!), Christmas, New Year’s Eve, spent time at the beach, long walks and talks, reminisced about our growing up years, all that good stuff. I am enormously grateful for these people in my life, some of my best friends on the planet I’d say. I hope you had a good holiday break, and are entering the new year with refreshed energy too.
Over this past year as I’ve delved more deeply into my mindfulness practice, study and teaching, I’ve come across some concepts that ring so true for me that I want to share them here. The various meditation practices of mindfulness derive from the contemplative tradition of Theravada Buddhism. Having been a student and teacher of yoga for many years, I am well familiar with the eight-fold path of Yoga. Now I have come across the eightfold path described in Buddhism, all about finding the ‘right’ balance in the following areas: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right concentration, right mindfulness.
Both of these pathways – Yoga and Buddhism – and probably most pathways of deeper self-understanding – are all about becoming fully enlightened, liberated from the fog of human misunderstanding into the light of clear understanding of what this precious life is all about. I’ve heard these many pathways described as fingers pointing at the same moon – this multi-faceted quest has been an ongoing one in human history, through all traditions and cultures.
Yet, in the busyness of our modern fast-paced lives, how do we know what is ‘right’?
The new year is a time when many people will make resolutions for a better life in the year ahead. Many of these resolutions are about changing some aspect of self that is deemed to be falling short in some way on the personal health, finances, work, or other scale. “I will lose 10 kgs”, “I will stop smoking”, “I will save for that holiday” etc. In the yoga tradition, instead of a resolution, we look deep within our heart to find our truest heart’s wish, or ‘sankalpa’. Once this sankalpa is discerned, perhaps through meditation or contemplation, it is felt in the heart and there is a palpable feeling response to it. In the Buddhist tradition, a new year’s resolution parallel might be coming from the pathway of ‘right intention’.
Intention is a powerful thing, and when you think about it, every single thing we do comes from some intention, whether we are conscious of it or not. To find ‘right intention’, your life’s sankalpa, there is a deep calling to come into stillness and to listen. In the essence of truest presence, that deeply felt sense of ‘rightness’ arises. I believe this is accessible to all of us if we give ourselves the space. In this sense, ‘right effort’ is paramount – this is a process that requires a balance of ‘trying’ and ‘receiving’; ‘active’ and ‘restful’. The effort must be consistent, it involves concentration and mindfulness, and must come from that deep heart desire.
Goldilocks found her balance of not too hot, not too cold porridge to be ‘just right’. Not trying too hard and striving for some fantasy of perfection. But trying soft. Opening to the sense of ‘rightness’ that comes when we stop to truly listen to what this moment is bringing. I’d like to live my life like that this year – less striving, and more listening. Leaning into the light of life, my being, this incredibly varied and beautiful experience of just being alive.
For me, this year, my sankalpa (intention, heartfelt desire, resolution) is to “Lean into the light”.
What is the light? It is my beacon, it represents my continuing quest to live my life to the fullest, to pursue my multi-passionate approach to understanding myself, to finding the ‘right’ balance for the expression of my being, and the right livelihood to express this through. I feel very fortunate and grateful for all the opportunities that are here and now.
For a perfect opportunity to tune into ‘heart’s desire’, your deepest intention for your good life, spend a couple of hours with me in restful, renewing restorative yoga – first Sunday afternoon session is coming up on 17 February, 1-3pm (book in at: https://www.thrivetherapeuticyoga.com.au/restorative-yoga/). As a balance to the busyness of life, and the active nature of our lives, coming into a deliberate time of rest impacts the body, heart and mind. From this quiet place, breath deep. Listen. Soften. Open to your perfect life’s design that longs to come through you.
I welcome you into this space, with love and blessing for this big journey we are each on… may 2019 be a ‘just right’ year for you!