On New Year's Eve
Coming To Terms With The Conditions Of The Present
Well here it is... the end of another calendar year. And... since I use an academic calendar, the only hard edge for me is the financial records. As contemplation is such a big part of my yoga practice and teaching, I am taking time to help myself and my students reflect back on a tough year from a place of gentleness. It does seem that certain "ceremonies" can help bring a sense of closure on difficult times and transitions. And yet.... I wonder..... can we ever really let go of the past. More truthfully, what happens in our past has shaped us. Over time we become a sum total of our gut reactions and patterned responses to the circumstances of life. And so while I don't believe we can really ever resolve the past, we can learn from it and adapt as we move forward in life.
So rather than thinking about shutting the door* on 2020, I am working and encouraging students to be in a place of coming to terms with what is as a first step of moving forward more clearly, peacefully, and joyfully.
This is a major aspect of the practice of yoga. In accepting life as it truly, fully, and wholly is.... does not mean we are "agreeing" with the conditions that brought us here, or that what is... is ideal and meant to remain as is. Accepting the conditions of the current reality is the only way to get a good and clear understanding of the foundation that you're standing on or in. Life may be what it is.... but life also always holds a capacity for growth and change. In accepting what is true for us in the present moment, we can more purposefully choose our responses rather than move from knee-jerk or conditioned reactions.
With better and fuller understanding of the conditions of our current situation, we are better able to meet life with compassion, understanding, wisdom, and loving care. With those qualities we have a better capacity to "co-create" with life — a future that aligns more fully with our soul's deepest desires.
Taking time to pause, to breathe, to let our mind's eye soften & broaden; we can see and feel more fully into the truth of who and where we really are in our lives. From that place of awareness, understanding, and acceptance of the whole beautiful mess of life; we can decide what parts of ourselves — memories, habits, patterns, perceptions, and projections we want to soften our grip on so that they can dissolve over time and to reaffirm which we will reaffirm by focusing our mind, energy, and capacity for co-creation in our lives.
From the bottom of my heart, I do hope you have many happy & fulfilling moments in the new year! With love, Kate
* This post was partly inspired by a social media meme which said it was an old Irish tradition to open the door at midnight to let the past year out and welcome the new year in. When we were kids we'd all go outside at midnight and bang on the pots and pans. It's funny being a product of the American melting pot, it's not clear where are individual traditions really come from. My dad was from Ireland and so maybe our tradition was rooted in a more ancient one. It's hard to say -- and that my friends is the whole point. We become. We don't have to be able to explain every aspect of life. We don't have to... and certainly can't correct every mistake and wash away every hardship. We become. It's an ongoing process.