New Year, NewYou?
As 2017 gets underway I see lots more folk at the gym and on media beginning the usual round of – time to get fit again, eat sensibly, break out the herbal tea, replace the biscuits and chocolates with vegetables or fruit snacks and so forth – lots of New Year Resolutions! Lots of target setting. Lots of goal setting! In the words of Thoreau:
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Henry David Thoreau
I personally do not make resolutions but instead try my best to stay mindful – sometimes more difficult than at other times especially when chocolate is involved! Therefore, I try to notice the thoughts that in the New Year are driving me to make any change! If those thoughts are supportive such as – I’m feeling tired and need to rebalance my energy, then really chocolate may not be the best idea but if the thoughts are driven more from guilt or fear then I feel I am more likely to keep reaching for the chocolate and then condemn myself for doing the very thing I am “trying” to avoid! Many resolutions fade out within 3 months because fear and pressure drive us from being to trying! Trying, more often than not, to realise an impossible ideal– and more often from an ideal that has been airbrushed and or photoshopped. Social Media haunts with photographs of super fit, super motivated folk rather than of images about making choices about where they are and where it is they are going in reality – are they wanting to nurture their body, soul and mind or just fit in with the media imaging?
Through Mindfulness we can connect to the body, mind and breath to listen to what the body is saying and if the body is feeling out of balance then our goals should focus on what we want to become not just getting the body or the look! Do we want to be truly nurtured in our body and mind? Do we want to feel healthier and nourish the body?
And at another level, do we want to run away from any perceived past mistakes or pain? Or can we embrace what has happened in the past and allow it to help us to become what we would like to become? Allow it all to be part of who we would like to be!
The more we “try” to be something, run away from something, change something because we really do not like what we are seeing in those moments, the more those moments will chase us because we are not allowing, not being with, not surrendering to that which we can change and that which we need to grow from:
“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” Lao Tzu
Sometimes we just have to let go, to put something down so we can pick up something new and always in hind sight it was the best thing to do, but never in that moment which is why mindfulness can help us to see the bigger picture, free our perspective, help us to take a Breathing Space and step back so that we can see things as they really are and not what we are thinking that they are or should be in that moment. Pain, fear, sadness are all the things that keep us from living every day and instead of running away from them and wanting to “start afresh” perhaps we can grow from them, or learn from them- the difference is of course that when we have power over the mind there we will find strength:
“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.” Marcus Aurelius
All of this wisdom is nothing new but sometimes so hard to put into practice long term as our past fears and worries jump right back into the driving seat if we lessen our awareness of our own thoughts. So, by all means let us embrace 2017 but not in an effort to run away from who we are and who we would like to become but in the embracing of all that we are and all that we can be – to live fully, rather than exist at the mercy of our thoughts and fears:
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all?” Oscar Wilde
Start today with the Breath! Just four or five conscious breaths every time the mind begins to DRIVE, feel the feet on the floor, notice the thoughts and just BREATHE!
And so it begins!
Today is the first day of the rest of your life! American Proverb
A breathing space every day is a good place to start!
Happy Mindful Breathing!
If you have teens who need further information on Mindfulness please look at the following websites:
http://mindfulnesstoolkit.com/ - a website to help teens and adults in their mindfulness journey
All the above websites have many resources to help and support your mindfulness journey and in difficult times provide tools to manage thoughts and allow time to make the choice to respond rather than react!