I am writing this blog a couple of days early. I want to engage you during this in-between time. The days between the holidays are a time of reflection for me. A time when everyday life slows down a little bit. This has been especially true for me since our daughter’s passing. As we adjusted our holiday traditions, the events that were not meaningful dropped away. I have come to look forward to this slowing down as an invitation to pause, to reflect on the past year and to set my intentions for the coming year.
I don’t make new years resolutions. In the past when I have made them I was always striving for perfection.
Striving for perfection has always been a set up for failure for me.
When I failed, I would beat myself up because I could not meet an unrealistic goal. Those goals were often about looking a certain way or acting a certain way to be loved. These goals are paraded across our consciousness by the media again and again. It was not until I had the gift of time for reflection that I was able to unplug from all of those messages and I let go of striving for perceived perfection.
Reflection, pausing, taking time to listen to your heart’s longing, all of these things bring up uncomfortable feelings. We do not like to feel uncomfortable. We think perfection will bring an end to our discomfort. When we are grieving, whether for a loved one or for the way things used to be, we are thrust into the unknown. The unknown is uncomfortable because we like to think we are in control of what is happening in our lives, but are we? Do we really know anything about what will happen or when it will happen?
Learning to navigate the unknown is a part of learning to live with loss.
This is something only your heart can understand. Your mind will try to convince you that you can get control of your life. Take some time as this year ends to reflect on the past year and to start to get comfortable with the unknown. Here are a few ways to begin.
Choose a time when you will not be disturbed.
Begin by closing your eyes and getting quiet. Bring your attention to your heart center. It may help to place a hand on your heart. Become aware of your breathing. Just sit for a moment and breathe into your heart center. Allow yourself to be here in this moment, with nothing else to do.
If you are new to this practice, take some time to sit in your heart in this way a few times a day, for a minute or two. This alone may be uncomfortable if you are not used to it. Continue in this way until you become more comfortable sitting in this way.
When you are ready, after you bring your attention to your heart, become aware of any feelings in your heart. Allow yourself to feel the feeling exactly as it is, as it appears in this moment. Stay in this place as long as you can, continuing to be aware of your breathing. When your head chimes in to judge what you are doing, notice what it is saying, and for this moment, bring your attention back to your heart. There is no need to do anything with what your head is telling you.
This is the practice of Samyama.
The more you sit in your heart in this way, the more your practice will deepen. The present moment was unknown to most of us because we were not used to paying attention to it. We busied ourselves each moment of each day to distract ourselves from our discomfort. By learning to bring attention to our hearts and sit in the silence we find there, we allow space for our feelings to arise. We allow space for the unknown to be here with us. You can cultivate the practice of Samyama so that when you feel discomfort, or unsure of the unknown you can bring attention to your heart and allow the feelings that arise to be there, and when that happens they shift, and you will receive the gift of the present moment.
My wish for you as we end 2014 and begin 2015 is that you have time and space for reflection. That your reflections will bring inspiration that will accompany you on your journey into whatever is next for you.
I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment below, or send me an email