Releasing the Struggle

So here we are again at the start of another year (yay!). I’ve decided to set some goals for this year and to finally make a vision board to help me visualize those goals. But just so I don’t get overwhelmed, I’ve also decided to take it all one day at a time.

Dunno about you, but this whole Life thing can seem a little (or a lot) overwhelming sometimes. This year I turn 40, and I guess it has taken me this long to figure out that I can’t do everything at once, or do it all perfectly. It has also taken this long to really accept how much of my stress is just mental struggle. Really. The idea that something is going to be hard creates so much more heaviness and resistance than just letting go of the mental baggage and doing it!

Winter Feast for the Soul
Winter Feast for the Soul

For example, January 15 begins the Winter Feast for the Soul, described as “a 40-day worldwide spiritual practice period for people of all faiths everywhere.” (See more info below) Thousands of people all over the world joining together with the intention to grow our spirits and increase the peace in the world. When I first heard about it I thought: “This is so cool!” And my next thought was “40 minutes! Where can I find 40 more minutes every day!?” Mental anguish. Resistance. The antithesis of Peace! But I guess this Yoga thing must be working because my next thought was: “For heaven’s sake, just do it! You probably spend that much time on Facebook and email!” So, to my Facebook friends, after Jan 15 you’ll have to call me!

As a friend pointed out (on Facebook :-), we can approach this 40-day commitment (and all our commitments) with perfectionism and stress, or we can resolve to do the best we can. Maybe I won’t make 40 minutes every day. Maybe I’ll miss a day. But if I’m practicing peace that means being peaceful with myself by not beating myself up (the yogic practice of ahimsa – non harming). So much of peace has to do with letting go of our mental baggage, the samskaras that block our ability to view things as they really are. Through the practice of santosha (contentment) we let go of the stories we create and accept what is. It is a lifetime of practice – one day at a time.

This year, I hope to approach my resolutions with that same sense of peacefulness. I hope to recognize when I’m bringing mental stress into my goals and creating a struggle where it doesn’t need to be. I plan to let go of the mental baggage, and just do what needs to be done. If I fall, I’ll just get up and start again without giving up on the whole process or beating up on myself.

May your 2009 be filled with many, many wonderful moments. May even the sorrows and the disappointments be openings for Grace.

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