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…
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.