Inspiring Ideas for 2015

 

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Dali Monastary, Darjeeling, India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) Plan adventures, both near and far….Why not plan a trip to look forward to while you survive the bleak, frozen-fingered month of February? A Dutch study from 2010 found that anticipating a vacation gives your mood a bigger boost than the trip itself. So by all means, plan a trip to a place you can daydream, read, and obsess about for a bit before. But also plan adventures closer to home. Take a fitness class you’ve never done before. Sign up for a knitting workshop. Leave town for brief hiking expedition. For me, the year 2015 will include a trip to India. To Mysore, of course, to study Ashtanga at the source. But also, I hope, to Agra, Jaipur and Darjeeling, to inhale the green breath of the tea plantations high in the mountains. (Yes, I’m aware that India is also chaos, poverty, riot and color..and I’m looking forward to it ALL 🙂 Closer to home, I’ll be catching the Art Spiegelman show at the AGO. And trying a Barre 3 class. And maybe trying to corral a few friends into doing a salsa lesson with me at Lula Lounge…

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2) Go veg more often…Since returning from Miami, I’ve been eating and cooking mostly vegetarian food (it’s a yogi thing…more on that in another post). I don’t really want to preach about it, because I believe in the power of gathering over dinner, and good food cooked with love. I’ll always eat whatever the people I love serve for dinner, even if it’s meat. But on my own, I eat vegetarian food. So far I feel lighter, happier and more alert this way. In my case, it makes a difference in my practice. Studies show that reducing meat consumption is good for all of us, and the planet. And, gingery lentil soup, jam-filled vegan cookies, black bean burritos…are YUMMY. It’s not about deprivation, my friends. Check out some of my favorite vegetarian chefs: Angela Liddon of ohsheglows.com and Amy Chaplin.

3) Take up a practice...it doesn’t have to be yoga. But it could be yoga 🙂 🙂 If you practice, keep practicing. When it’s dark and cold out so early, it’s easy to let your warm covers seduce you back into slumber. But take heart…once you get there, the shala’s heated. Do yoga, take deep breaths, keep a gratitude diary. If your practice is writing cheerful notes to put in your children’s lunches, keep on doing that. There are so many little but important ways to celebrate our days. Don’t let anyone make you feel like these things are trivial. They’re not. They hint at the heart of why we’re here.

4) Put details behind your dreams…If you’re thinking of making a big change, or even just a little change, create a plan. Write down two or three different versions. Make budgets. Talk to people. Not so they can talk you OUT of your plan. But so that you can back your optimism up with realistic detail. More on how I’m doing that soon.

5) Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes...Something I’m working on is having more compassion for myself and others. Sometimes it’s really hard, as when you feel someone is making an unreasonable request of you. Ultimately though, yoga’s only worthwhile if we’re living it off the mat too….

After all that happened last year, I’m trying to strike a balance between regrouping and moving forward. My hopes are quieter now. but they are real.

Is it too late, on January 22, to wish everyone a Happy New Year? Nonetheless, I do wish all manner of health and fun and good fortune to YOU, my loyal readers. May you rock this year. May IT rock you, in the best possible way. As Elizabeth Gilbert writes: “Transformation is risky, but sexy.” Here’s to making 2015 a year of salutary changes.

 

Three Stars and a Wish

As we close out 2014, just wanted to say a few words….It was a roller coaster year, marked by illness, depression, and a slow but sure recovery. And an amazing experience to end the year. Here, in order, are my three “stars” and one wish about this year.

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STARS

Family and Friends: Mom and Papa. My seestor and her kind fiancé. Aunts, uncles and cousins. All my friends in Toronto, at Howard, at Breathe, in Miami. During the worst parts of this year, from June to November, you lifted me up. For hugs, encouragement, spontaneous dinner invitations, laughs, listening when I was ranting, handing me kleenex when I cried. For being there at the airport when I got home from my big adventure. For your love. If I have recovered from my depression, it is because of you. THANK YOU.May I be there for you in the same way you were there for me.

Yoga: Because no matter what else was happening, placing my feet in samastithi always meant a better day. Because this practice has taught me more about health, effort, love, and letting go than anything else I have tried. Because Marichyasana D is getting easier. Because Svitlana and Christine keep placing me in Supta Kurmasana with infinite patience, believing I am getting somewhere.  And Tim Feldmann’s dropback assists were a revelation (Who knew being tossed upside down could be a blessing? )Yoga has brought me friends near (shout out to the open-hearted early morning gang at Breathe) and far (shout out to the amazing yogis from all over the globe who studied with me at Miami Life Center. Check out my course roomie Sydney’s website Sydney Resner Yoga. Proud of you, friend 🙂 Yogis are always kind, fun and compassionate people. They are often vegetarian, animal lovers, travellers who live lightly on the Earth. Their hearts and minds are open. I am grateful for this path, and all who travel it with me.

And that means everyone–busy moms doing a quick downdog while their toddlers crawl underneath them, busy construction workers who meditate, and all those with whom I practice. There are seasons of practice–seasons where you can do more, seasons where you can do less. Working, taking care of family–it’s all yoga. Yoga is about the quality of awareness you bring to Life–the sthitau, or steadiness of mind.

Writing/Books: This space to write about yoga. My short stories and the amazing coaching I have received from Editor and Writer Stephanie Vandermeulen. The escape, or the peace or being wrapped up in a good book. It was Emily Dickinson who wrote: “If it makes me so cold that no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.” Thank God for the words that feed our souls.

WISH

Perspective: A year ago someone asked me a question to which I wish with my whole heart I had said yes. With my depression coloring every interaction, the walls of my world became charcoal. I was a drama queen, unable to understand the feelings of others and convinced my sadness and anger were the only important things, I feel such shame about this now. I wish I had sought treatment sooner. Then I would have the perspective to know that  it doesn’t matter who owns the house or whose ex comes for dinner. I wish I had known that conversation with people you love is way more important than an extra half hour of sleep. May I know it now, and cherish the people around me.

Happy, Healthy 2015 to everyone who reads. Back tomorrow with some inspiring ideas for the New Year.