As another year comes to an end, I wonder if we should say “chapter closed”. It seems that every ten years, I complete a cycle. Some cycles have been harder than others, but all of them are constructive experiences that have placed me exactly where I am right now. Two Thousand Seventeen was a year of a lot of “What If’s”. As we submerge our thoughts on those what if’s, we enter a dark room filled with sadness, doubt, and uncertainty. What is even more shocking is that the what if’s periods can go on for weeks, which can trigger our ability to function well, relate to others, and ultimately, they are the main creators of illusions in our brain. Illusions that are not necessarily good ones, instead, they are dark creatures that makes us see our day-to-day as if we had a veil in front of our eyes, sometimes blurry, sometimes with a white coat that makes all things appear as if they are the same color. In the end, we become victims of our insecurities and we do not take advantage of all things the world has for us to experience, to share, and to enjoy. The clear has to be created in our heads, every day. It is a work in progress.
December, despite if you are a religious person or not, has the ability to bring the best of each one of us to the surface. We tend to be more grateful, we spend time thinking on our dearest ones, what to buy for them, what to cook when we all get together. We travel, we dress well, we enjoy the snow even though most of us know it is only cute because we do not have to go to work under those conditions. If you stop to think what you did from January to November of this year, maybe you can set realistic goals for the following one. If December does make you feel happy for no reason, make sure you keep doing the things you have been doing for the past three weeks (although eliminate sugar… sugar is REALLY bad for you. I see the effects with only 10 days of overdosing on sugary foods). There is no reason why we have to become a different person for the holidays. It just does not make sense. Thus, cultivate patience, kindness, empathy and compassion during your lifetime. If not, you are just a hypocrite. Sadly, we have enough of that in the world.
When you do the famous “New Year’s Resolutions” be calm, be in peace. A lot of times we write down these “goals” in a big rush of adrenaline or in a deep state of sadness. This will just translate in eating more crap and seeing the year go by without major changes. As for me, I have seen how politics affect me so deeply that I become physically ill, I have seen how I realize that after moving so many times I do not “belong” to a specific place anymore… so I just have to make it work wherever I go. I realized more than ever that my asana practice is more important than 30 more minutes of sleep every morning and that my sugar consumption just depletes my body in such a high level that it does not matter how well I eat 90% of the week if then I act as an addict and eat obnoxious amounts of processed sugar and carbs.
Instead of wrapping up 2017 with best wishes, I hope you take the time from January to November of 2018 to:
* Call someone (not What’sApp… CALL) that you have not heard their voice in the past 6 months.
* Have a morning ritual that does not involve electronics for the first hour of your day.
* Read less news, watch more documentaries and read more books.
* Check your closet, be honest… you have not used 60% of the stuff you have in there yet you bough more things for the holidays.
* Use more your hands to write on paper and do arts and crafts, pass that along to younger generations around you.
* Be interested in another culture to the point that you buy different spices to cook, take classes to learn their language, read about their history… maybe this way we will stop thinking refugees are coming to take our jobs.
* Go on vacation to a place you do not speak the native language. Allow yourself to feel vulnerable. Allow yourself to be a minority. It is the only way to be truly compassionate towards complete strangers. My husband often reminds me of a mural we saw in Valparaiso, Chile that mused, “Travel is the only thing that you buy that makes you richer”.
* Cook a meal that does not involve ingredients that come in a can, plastic wrap, box or that it comes from the other side of the world. Incorporate local products, connect with nature, learn what is in season, and buy locally.
* Plant something in your house. Basil is really easy. What about dill? Even if you live in a very small apartment, dedicate a few inches to herbs. Cook with them or just enjoy how they look. You will not regret it.
* Have ONE clear goal in your head and repeat it every day. It works, you just need to fight a bit with your thoughts from time to time. Don’t let “What If’s” deviate the route. You know where to go. As my mantra teacher told me one time; Ganesh is just the representation of you in an sculpture of an elephant. YOU are the one that blocks the path, therefore YOU are the remover of obstacles.
These are some things that I have been working on for a while now and I am far from being perfect. This post is just a reminder to myself of a few things I need to put my attention to in moments when I feel bored, tired or without a sense of purpose. Remember, we do not find purpose while doing a yoga teacher training or going on an adventure… we must create it.