New Year’s Resolutions, bah humbug!

It seems like nearly all yoga studios and yoga instructors offer some kind of New Year’s practice that revolves around “intention setting” – which is yogi-speak for New Year’s Resolutions, isn’t it?  I’ve missed the chance to teach this class this year, as my studio chose not to have a 9am Saturday class on New Year’s Day (no one would have come).  Nevertheless, seeing 1/1/11 on the computer screen this morning and listening to the year-end review and new-year preview radio shows today has made it impossible not to head down this path.  And I’m having a hard time with it.

Here’s the problem for me.  The last four years of my life have been largely focused on the goal of Anusara Certification.  Certification is of course an external recognition of progress on an internal path – growth as a yoga practitioner and teacher.  It is this internal journey that has been important, and that has kept me going through workshops, trainings, videos, and countless classes.  And being certified does not mean that this process is over by any means.  But I’d be lying if I said the certification carrot dangling out there wasn’t important.  And the achievement of it has given me a new perspective on goal-setting for 2011…namely, I don’t want to do it.  Really.

That’s not to say that I’m a slacker and don’t want to do anything, or achieve anything, or grow and change in beautiful and surprising ways.  I do; it’s just that I don’t want to establish a “resolution” around it.

There are some Sanskrit words to which English doesn’t do justice.  One of them is the word “purna.”  Some folks translate it as “perfection.”  I’m not a fan of that, because in western culture, we’re always going after perfection, and we never get there.  Sounds sisyphusean – no thanks.  I prefer the translation “fullness” or “lacking nothing.”  In the Tantric tradition, purna describes the essential nature of our being.  We are born full and lacking nothing.  Or as Douglas Brooks would say, we have everything we need to thrive in this embodied existence.  Cool!  Great news!  So, why do we need to resolve to be different, and “better?”  Can’t I just BE?

What I want to do this year is live more.  Yep, just that.  Tonight I stood outside and watched the pink alpenglow on the Grand Teton from my driveway when I got home, even though it was 9 degrees out there.  Because I had no immediate goal to achieve, finally.  Today I spent an extra half hour listening – really listening – to a private client talk about his collegiate swimming career in the 1950’s, because it was interesting.  And because I had no immediate goal to achieve, finally.  And I did my practice – not because I had to in order to be a yoga teacher of some stature, but because I wanted to.  And because I gave myself permission to have no other immediate goal to achieve, at last.

If I am already “purna” I don’t have to resolve to be anything other than what I am.  Phew.  But I guess I’d better get to know what I am.  I don’t think I am going to figure that out by chasing after more goals and resolutions right now.  I might have a better shot if I reside more in the current split second that is present and about to pass away.  I bought myself a couple new (well, new to me but used!) CD’s yesterday and spent my New Year’s Eve listening to them.  Just listening, fully, which seems like a good start.  I ate my salad tonight sitting down on the couch.  Not reading, talking or typing.  Just eating.  Those actions aren’t going to “better” me at all, or get me closer to achieving any sort of goal…so they must not be resolutions.  I don’t want to change me, I want to appreciate me, the result of billions of chemical reactions gone right to make me a unique expression of the divine.

So what’s that?  I guess it must be what everyone calls an “intention.”  Isn’t it?


~ by bridgetannlyons on January 1, 2011.

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