At this time of year, it is impossible to escape the onslaught of lists compiled from the year before , everything from the top news stories, favorite cat videos to the best music of the year (which is my favorite to be honest). It is also impossible to avoid being asked about what your resolutions are for the coming year. I suppose it is natural, whether you celebrate the beginning of a new year in September, March, February or January 1st, to use that milestone of your own. Every new action needs a starting point.
I am not big on making a list of resolutions at this time of year. I have commitment issues. I like to go with the flow of life, my creative energy and I don’t like planning my days out to the letter. Making a list goes against my fundamental approach to life. I also don’t like making promises to myself (or anyone else) that I cannot keep. I like to live in the moment not be held captive by it.
That all being said, having some goals in my head of what I would like to do, try or resolve sometime in the coming months, is not necessarily a bad thing. It really doesn’t mean sacrificing spontaneity but can be more like a gift or even permission to let go of what isn’t working in order to try something that might be a better fit or make more sense to do now.
This is the reason why I made the decision yesterday to return to my mat and renew my yoga practice. I started learning asanas when I was young, from a book that my parents had tucked away on one of the bookshelves in the summer kitchen. Over the years, asanas and sequences became a regular part of my daily “routine”. I never took my practice to the next level to become an accredited teacher. I used to volunteer to share what I knew/ did with others, in particular with my kids, but I have kept my practice personal and private of the most part. I suppose I never felt ready to teach, that my learning had not reached that point yet, and truly I still do not.
The past year has taught me one thing; I need to renew my relationship with the mat. I didn’t come to this realization two days ago while the ball was dropping. I have been thinking about this for a long few months – always telling myself that I should get back to the mat, but never actually doing it. I have a lot of reasons and excuses that kept me from returning. All of the grinding moments that life threw at me last year and the year before that and the year before that seemed to weigh me down and keep me rooted in a dark, unrelenting rigid place. Fears about my health, cancer screening, tests, trips to the hospital, employment changes and challenges, personal challenges, relationship failures, worries about my children, and a thousand little disasters kept me from doing what I needed to do – get back to the mat.
This is why I made the decision New Year’s Eve to begin again. It is not so much about the number of days that I will keep returning to bend and stretch, strengthen and balance my body, but more that I am doing it. No more talking, just doing. The return to my mat is a return to myself. That alone is worthy of a new beginning, don’t you think?