This blog is too long. You are too busy to read all of it. Here’s what you need to know:
Give up New Years Resolutions – set a single word intention instead. Carry it every where with you. Use it to realign your life and allow you to be more present. Take ten minutes every day for yourself and let the intention seep into your pores. Wait, Stop, you are too busy for that – never mind.
Happy New Year!
This year I thought I would throw out the tradition of setting New Years Resolutions and replace it with setting a New Years Intention. My goal was to distill my hopes for the year into a single word that I could paste to my computer, mirror, desk and other such assorted places. A word that would call me back to the moment and remind of what I want to embrace in 2013.
Choosing the word/intention wasn’t as easy as I thought. I mean if it was to become my mantra for 2013, I’d better choose pretty carefully. But of course there is always that problem of over-thinking. What the heart puts forward is usually right, even if my brain wanted to do an override.
On Sunday, as I was listening to a free jazz concert at Seattle First Baptist Church (Sunday Jazz Vespers – first Sunday of every month) my intention rang out. Enjoy! I had toyed with words that were similar: chill, relax, smile, cherish, relish, but when “enjoy” popped through I knew it was right. There I was in a great old Seattle church listening to some really good jazz. It was wonderful. But as often happens, my mind would wander and I would find myself thinking about what I had to do this week. The music would fade and for a few moments I would no longer be there. As the mantra enjoy crept back in, I would return my attention to the moment and immediately I was happy, thrilled in fact to be sharing this moment with my husband and loving the music.
My goal for 2013 is to bring more joy to my life. Or maybe a better way to say it is, I want to take time to truly enjoy my life and all the beauty that surrounds me. I have a wonderful family, amazing friends, I live in a beautiful place and I have the best job in the world. On top of that, there is so much to see and do here in Seattle and on this great planet. So why not enjoy it? What keeps me and so many I know from feeling truly happy? I am too busy.
I posted this link on my Facebook page and I encourage you to read it. The author Reggie Ray reminds us that most of us are so caught up in our busy-ness that we lose our ability to simply enjoy the moment. This really struck a chord with me. How often do we find ourselves rushing from one programmed event to the next, telling ourselves and everyone around us how busy we are. Busy-ness has seemingly become a badge of honor. “Hi, how are your? I am super busy, how about you? Yep me too, you should see my to-do list…” I think that it is this busy-ness that has gotten in the way of our simply enjoying the moment. We run from one thing to the next, each event important, but each losing its value as a result of our obsession with doing so much all the time. It gets so bad that we find ourselves unable to stop. And even if we do stop, we are busy planning how we will get the next thing(s) on our “to-do” lists done.
So for 2013, I will embrace joy. Joy in the moment. Joy in doing less. Joy in not multitasking. I am reminded of the Tasahara monk who spoke of the joy of dish washing. Now dish washing can be a drag, especially if I spend the time washing dishes thinking about what I am to do next, and next after that and so on. But if I harness my awareness to the dish washing itself, then I can enjoy the feeling of warm water, silky soap and squeaky, clean dishes. Even the sense of completion when the dishes are done. And so it goes with all things.
Being present in the moment enables us to find more joy in whatever we are doing. And if it turns out that as we become more fully present, we realize that what are doing brings us no joy at all, then at least we have attended carefully enough to know we must create change. We learn to identify that which brings us joy and that which brings us pain. With this knowledge we can then make choices that will enable us to gather more joy into our hearts and to let go of those actions, commitments, activities that simply contribute to our busy-ness and not to our fulfillment.
To those of you who are now firmly convinced of my polyanna-ness, let me acknowledge that I know most of you are householders, as am I. Householder is a term used to recognize our need to work and maintain a home/family. We all have jobs and burdens to carry, and families who need us. Our workloads may be heavy, the kids may be tiring, our parents my be challenging, but that is our life. The question is how do we live our lives and not just pass through them.
For me it has always been through yoga and meditation. But this year I plan to up the ante and embrace joy. What will you do?
Questions to ponder:
- How much of my life is consumed with busy-ness?
- How present am I in my daily actions (e.g.driving, walking, bathing, working, playing, resting)?
- How often do I simply stop and rest for 10 minutes without trying to do anything?
- Could I set aside 10 minutes for myself on a daily basis?
- Did I set some resolutions for 2013? What do they have in common?
- What single word could I choose as my intention for the year?
Happy New Year
Shalom & Namaste