The tradition goes, when the New Year rolls around we are awarded a clean slate and the chance to start over by dreaming up fresh ideas and intentions. We get to plant the seeds of personal development and growth. We get to set our declarations to make the necessary changes in order to live the best life we can envision for ourselves.
I do like this tradition because it is a positive and motivating practice and as the saying goes, “thoughts are things, so choose good ones!” How I perceive the world around me affects the outcomes of my endeavors. Each year, I take time to make a vision board for myself and as the year goes by, I enjoy having this visual to record and see my achievements as they unfold. There is one problem though. After giving the New Year Resolution thing some deeper thought, I realized that in the efforts of setting intentions to make “necessary” changes to my life each year, I am also implying that I am not satisfied with how my life already is! Some might argue that I am subconsciously and simultaneously planting seeds of dissatisfaction and emptiness. I’ve decided that instead of resolving to change things about my life that I don’t approve of, I will give thanks that my life is just as it is. All year long I have been taking steps towards the things that make my heart and mind happy. This has been huge for me and so my plan is to simply continue to trust in my process and follow the path I have forged with compassion, unconditional love, and JOY. New Years is time to celebrate everything that I already AM.
In yoga philosophy, the word Santosha means contentment. Santosha is one of the 5 Niyamas; Niyamas are 5 principals for observing our internal behaviors. To practice Santosha, one chooses to view their reality from a place of non-judgment in order to see life just as it is through uncolored lenses. We see where we are along our path and where we would like to go. We then take mindful steps towards the goals and aspirations we wish to attain and in the process, resolve to be happy with whatever outcome the Universe has in store. The magical bonus feeling that comes from this practice is JOY — The ability to simply be happy with life exactly as it is. What an interesting phenomenon!
I’d like to share a quote from Buddhist teacher Michael Stone – I think what he had to say about mindfulness encompasses what I am hoping to express about Santosha and how it applies to the way we can choose to enter into 2018.
“When we accept what is in this very moment, without pushing or pulling, when there is no running after or running away from, we find in our practice a level of deep acceptance and peace.”
Happy New Year!!! May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be safe, may you be free of suffering and may you continue to walk down the path that leads to the greatest and truest version of yourself. Namaste friends — the light within me, sees and acknowledges the light that is within you.