As a new year dawns…new hopes and new dreams await us. 2015 is anticipated by many (as with most beginnings) to be the best year yet. Why?…because “we get to” make it our best year yet. It is our responsibility and no one else’s to set such an intention for ourselves. As humanity starts to expand in consciousness and becomes more self-aware through practices such as yoga and meditation, what works in conjunction to help loosen and change these limiting perceptions is mindfulness (the act of being present to the experience through observation and without judgment). By this, I mean being present helps us become more and more aware of what is working for us and what isn’t, without attachment. And with this knowledge we can take responsibility for making choices that continue to support us, and consequently, through these persistent choices we shall create the life that we want. Many times it can be hard to stop and pay attention because life is so busy and noisy. So let’s try this exercise in mindfulness to help increase our internal awareness. Take a moment to imagine how you would receive the examples below. Witness how you can be present in both mind and heart. For example: Ever watch a newborn smile and coo at you? In your heart you may feel so much love and in your mind you may be thinking, “I never thought I could love something so much.” Now try this list on for size:
- Ever find being honest with someone you care about difficult at times?
- Ever extend a hug to a child in pain?
- Ever made a checklist of things?
- Ever done something before and not been sure why you did it?
- Ever not follow through with your words?
- Ever taken inspired action?
- Ever solved a complex math equation?
- Ever kiss someone and feel your toes curl up?
- Ever wondered what your purpose is?
First and foremost, I want to acknowledge that both ways of receiving information are invaluable, as much as the functioning of the left and right hemispheres of our brain is critical to our existence. But the difference in how we receive the experience is this: Did thoughts (in the mind) precede/follow or did emotions (in the heart) precede/follow? What experience(s) did you have? More importantly, how were these perceptions received regardless of the manner in which it came? Did it help you love, care, understand, and open up a little more than you did yesterday? Or did it cement another brick upon your proverbial wall? If it did add to your wall, make a different choice even though it may be difficult at times. This will loosen its grip. As the author Anaïs Nin poignantly states, “We see things not as they are; we see them as we are.” It follows then that our repetitive and conscious choices to see a certain way will shape our perceptions and indelibly become the manner in which this upcoming year and the ones to follow will be shaped. So stay mindful and make choices that support both mind and heart in openness and possibilities.