Monday, January 2, 2012

Remember: Vous Etes Parfait!

Originally uploaded by moechslen
Happy 2012 and a bright new day to you and yours!

On this day, 2 January, after the partying, hosting, gift giving and general end-of-year merriment is over, many people wake up and focus on every one of their flaws. They take a long look in the mirror and focus in on every little thing they don't like about themselves or what they perceive to be lacking. All the gratitude conjured up over the holidays seems to fly out the window. Therein begins the process of making resolutions. The idea is, once acknowledged and perhaps spoken aloud, one will make a plan to change something that is "wrong" into something that is "right": lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking, eat less junk food, make more money...and so forth.

The problem as I see it with this annual routine, is that very few people I know actually achieve their desired result. Like with so many things, when we begin a process emphasizing the negative; the flaws and imperfections, then our energy to maintain the process wains and we go right back to the same old patterns that got us there in the first place.

I like intentions. One of the most meaningful things ever taught to me by my beloved teachers is about the power of intention-making. Intentions are inherently positive because they are a silent reminders to self that we are not flawed, we are absolutely Perfect. We are absolute Perfection. How's that for a new year's wake-up call?

However, in the process of walking this path we've been put on this earth to walk; living this life we've been put here to live, we find ourselves saying or doing things that feel just plain off. We've over-indulged. We've stayed too long. We've walked out too early. We've said things we regret. We've lost it. We've judged. We've grudged. We've hurt. And so forth. (You know the things; while in the midst of them there's this little voice inside that says, "Uh oh, probably shouldn't, nope. Here I go again.")
10 pounds later (for example), we're beating ourselves up and making New Year's resolutions to lose said 10 pounds that we never actually lose. The ego wins again!

As we delve deeper in our practice we realize that this life journey will intersect with the machinations of the ego, over and over and over again. That is certain and unavoidable.
That is Karma.
As one of my great teachers put it several years ago, "The ego's job is to give us insomnia; to help us forget that we are Perfection and therefore keep us in negative, unconscious patterns. Our job as yogis is to train ourselves to have better memory recall. That's why it's called a Practice."

When we make pure and honest intentions to foster and manifest our best selves in areas of our lives where we may have had momentary memory loss, we are literally re-training ourselves out of the old habits. We begin with a positive reminder (Perfection) and from there strengthen and reinforce good habits, instead of feeding the bad. It's a re-calibration of sorts. It's Yoga.

So, instead of "I'm going to make a resolution to lose 10 pounds in 2012." How about, "I am going to love and forgive myself. I'm going to make an intention to access the highest level of health and well-being I can, in all areas of my life."

Intentions need to be accompanied with a practical plan. If that plan is too lofty, expensive, or generally unrealistic, it won't last. But in order to lift our conscious awareness from the resolution level to the intention level and begin shifting the patterns, we must do something small, everyday. And it must begin now.

2012 classes resume tomorrow. Come set an intention and let's collectively help each other begin the year in the most positive way we can.

My new favorite quote which I intend to use over and over this year:

"Come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, fire worshipper, lover of leaving. This is not a caravan of despair. It does not matter that you have broken your vows a thousand times, still come, and yet again, come... " ~ Rumi ~