Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Welcome 2014

So much has been said about New Year's resolutions that it seems redundant and wasteful to do so here. Yet, it IS a new year, and each of us takes a bit of time to consider the year that just passed, and to anticipate the new one ahead. 

For many, including myself, 2013 brought many challenges and considerable sorrow. My life events, like yours, put me in a position where I either took action or succumbed to the sorrow. The actions might not have been the right ones, but they were decidedly better than succumbing. 

For me, succumbing is stasis. I do nothing. Events happen and I am the PRODUCT of those events. As a result, I REACT. If they are negative, my body and spirit, knowingly or not, energetically shift to negative. It's worse if I am unaware. The degradation might be small, and might happen over time, yet it is still there. The negative energy might be extreme or severe, and if I am fortunate to feel its effects immediately, I can, at least, take ACTION. 

Ultimately, taking action seems to be the answer. This certainly doesn't dismiss the power of stillness, of quiet meditation, and, of course, of breath awareness. Those, in themselves, are ACTIONS that I consciously take. Complacency and acceptance of negative energy is dangerous and damaging. Taking action, however quiet, increases the body's energy level while keeping Yin and Yang in balance.

It works every time. It's so funny how my mind actually changes my feelings, the sensations in my body, and my outlook on the situations I am in and events that happen. I catastrophize, anticipating future disasters, and they have not even occurred yet. To make matters worse, my mind reminds me of every negative moment and depressing memory of the past. 

This minute becomes heavy and painful. Down on myself, I see nothing in a positive light. I cannot do anything right. Everything that I did in the past was a mistake, every decision was the wrong one. 

My mind keeps on going. Why is it that it focuses on what hurts me? Why does it naturally go to that horrible place? My reptilian brain perhaps. Always there to protect me from harm, REAL or IMAGINED

My mind says that there is nothing I can do about my situation. Then, in the midst of this mental mess, I remember what I teach. I remember my breath. Forcing myself, I change my physical posture. No matter the lunacy that is going on in my mind, I begin to pay attention to the fact that I'm breathing. 

My posture changes. I sit up straighter. I think of the chakras, and consciously align them. I put the Bubbling Wells, the balls of my feet firmly on the floor and connect to Yin and security of Mother Earth. I reach my head upward, and the Bai Hui point, the crown of my head. Mechanical, the awareness begins this way. Feet, head, breath, lungs.  Like anything else, practice starts with the basic and lowest level. 

Of course, those ridiculous thoughts keep coming into my mind. But, I realize that they are coming less frequently, that the SPACES BETWEEN THE THOUGHTS are getting wider and wider. Meanwhile, my breathing is deepening, my muscles are relaxing more, my sense of self-comfort slowly increases. I am CHANGING MYSELF. I am HEALING MYSELF. Actually. Really.

THIS is the balance of breath and body. It is the beginning of health and the start of the road to contentment. From there, the road to happiness is not too long. 

A good plan for 2014. Breathe. Smile. Live.