I’ve always shied away from New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve never really thought of it as “my thing” and to be honest, I know that part of it is my fear of failure. Sure, I want to cut back on certain things in my life – sugar, TV, worry. And I want more of other things – exercise, energy meditation, reading, writing, quiet. But I’ve never wanted to set myself up for failure. Besides, is setting a resolution really the best way to get those things?? Along with my fear of failure, I’ve long had my doubts.
In 2007, I began the Yoga Nidra practice of setting a heartfelt intention, known in the yoga world as a sankalpa. A sankalpa takes what we want and places it in the present moment, the only time zone that exists. Intentions need to be positioned in the NOW time zone, not in a future moment that never comes. We actualize our heartfelt desires when we claim them as being true, and real, right now – in the precious present. Through Yoga Nidra, I came to understand this philosophically, but more importantly, I could feel the difference in my body. Claiming a felt sense of vibrant energy in the moment had a wonderful felt sense that was not to be found by resolving, or wishing for more energy in the coming year.
It is this moment that lays the path to the next moments, which will soon become our NOW. What if, our New Year’s intentions and resolutions reflected this?
A desire to free myself of some Christmas overindulging in Netflix, I picked a book off the shelf, stretched out on the couch and began to read. The story covered a short segment of the life of a 53-year-old CEO, of a large accounting firm based in New York City. He was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer and given 3 months to live. Such a diagnosis would really narrow one’s focus and I wondered what nuggets for living might await me these pages.
Upon facing this diagnosis, the author abruptly left his executive job. Overnight, the 90-hour work week, international travel, goal-driven, strategy-focussed, success driven executive life-style ground to a halt. In a desire to have a good death, the author came to embrace what he called “perfect moments”. These were spontaneous, less-cluttered, deeper experiences of the moments that comprised the precious few days that lay ahead of him. I came to understand these moments as times of heightened consciousness, spot-on attention, and full-hearted openness. They had the flavours of delight, surprise, wonder, and joy.
As I closed the cover on this book, and opened the pages of a New Year, I found myself pondering the possibilities of opening to more ‘perfect moments’ in my own life. Covid-19 has made it obvious that we have little control over many things in life. And it is clear that the challenges of the pandemic will continue on for some time. Despite that, I know that the upcoming year of challenge and uncertainty will be saturated with the possibility of perfect moments. I intend to show up for many more of them than ever before. Hey, have I just made a New Years resolution?