I am at peace with my not being at peace. This sums up how I feel this New Year’s.
Gradually, year over year over year, I have moved away from setting ambitious goals and resolutions and moved toward setting intentions – to choose to be more happy and open to love, to listen to my heart more than to my ego, to see what is good – not what is lacking.
Of course, I still want to have more money, achieve more success, eliminate meat and sugar, be a better citizen of the world, read more books, stop picking my cuticles, throw away stuff, get organized already, be a better mother, and so on. And on. And on.
I am familiar with these goals and make mild progress on them from time to time. Really though, it is exhausting. Bordering on boring.
But when you really stop and ask: what do we want from life? Isn’t it: To feel joy, experience love, reduce suffering.
Peace. Inner peace, if not world peace.
B.K.S. Iyengar says that Uttanasana is “a boon to people who get excited quickly, as it soothes the brain cells. After finishing the pose, one feels calm and cool, the eyes start to glow and the mind feels at peace.” Indeed.
When, at the height of my mid-life anxiety, I would do forward folds in yoga class, I would weep. Turning inward, calming down from my busy busy busy pursuit of not feeling, I would feel. My hamstrings. My breath. My sadness. Of time passing. Of rejections. Of goals not achieved. Yoga class was the only place I would let myself be still, still enough to feel.
Folding forward is private. You can be with your self. Feeling your body, your breath. Just feeling. Just being.
Now, on the other side of my mid-life anxiety, Uttanasana is a pause. A transition. A comforting place to breathe and reflect. Kind of like New Year’s. When I look back on the last year (or years), I see a woman who is happier, more open, more grateful, more able to laugh, more loving.
Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, can we focus on what we do have? What is good, not what is bad.
As this year has ended with great uncertainty about what our world will be like under President-elect Trump, I have to fight against anxiety, anger, panic, despair. It is easy to succumb to the swirl of anxiety.
I will not contribute to negative energy. I resolve to be a force for love, compassion, and positive change.
I will choose peace.