One of my Sensa articles from March 2014.
It's the 30th of December 2013 as I'm writing this article. You will read it in the beginning of 2014, probably in March. This creates a funny distortion in time. I write it in the present moment as the year is changing and you read it in the future as it's something from the past. This gives you the possibility to look back and reflect on your decisions and the actions you did or didn't do.
Two days and again another year is changing. Many people use this time to to look at the past year and make plans for the future. Did you? Did you decide to do something different this year. Is this the year you are finally going to loose that extra weight? Or start yoga, dancing, cycling? We all know that our resolutions don't usually work, right? Changing can be difficult but it's not impossible, if you know how to do it. This article is about that. Change. The ideas I share are simple, maybe not that exciting, but that is how it works. There are no shortcuts.
Fear or love?
The first thing I do when I make big plans about life is that I ask myself if this really resonates with me. Am I choosing something from a state of fear or a state of love. This can sound a little too "new agey" so I want to explain it and make it more real. Am I choosing to loose weight so that someone would love me more, or am I choosing to gain health and the weight loss is a side effect so that I have more energy to experience life more fully. This is the difference between fear and love. Another great example is one with finances. A common one for many, I believe. A fear based thought goes something like: "I need to earn this and that much money each month, to be able to live the life that I want." I prefer another way of thinking about it. "I choose to do what deep within resonates with me and the finances will sort them self out automatically." We live in a universe that has certain laws, one of them being the law of giving and receiving. If we live from our hearts with no fear, and do what resonates with us, the universe will support us.
If you choose from fear, you will not become fulfilled, even if you reach the goals. You can meet your financial goal but still work the job that you don't like. You are sacrificing your happiness for the attempt to control your fears. You might loose the weight but it doesn't change the fact that you still don't love yourself and that is why you have the fear that you don't deserve to be loved. Trust me, you do deserve it.
So what were your resolutions or goals based on? Fear or love? If they are fear based, guess what? It's ok to trash them. We always have the right to change our mind. Choose one from love and just give it a try.
Ok, so now we have listened to our heart and we know what really matters to us. What's next? It's decision time. Are you ready to commit yourself? If you "kind of" feel something is worth doing, you will certainly not do it. You have heard it before... If it's important enough, you will make it happen. So when I talk about important decisions I talk about committing yourself to it. It means that the issue at hand, is moved higher up in your priority list. This is the reason it's important to listen what resonates with you. If you choose something from fear and it really doesn't feel good, it's really hard to move it up in the priorities and really commit to it. Most people are "kind of" ready to do what it takes and the successful people are the ones that commit to it fully. This has some consequences though. You can't commit to everything. You have to choose what is important for you at the moment. So that is why I have to repeat it again, listen to your heart. What is it that resonates with you? Do some soul searching and find out what makes you feel excited and joyful, and then decide and commit to it 200%. You don't have to make permanent decisions, just choose to give it a good try.
The decision to change, and the start of this "new life" is a great source of energy that can power the actions needed for this change to happen. We feel motivated and it's easy to stay on track. This is great and we should enjoy it, but we also have to understand that it might not last long. If you chose from your heart and you can stay connected with the heart, it can be easy and long lasting, but usually this is not the case. Life with its many different parts (family, work, relationships, finances, etc.) distract us from our core. Staying connected becomes more challenging. Doubt arises. This is the time to roll up your sleeves and use the muscle that we all have been given but only few use, the discipline muscle. When we train it, it becomes stronger. When you meet challenges, embrace them as part of the roller coast ride called life and learn how to use the muscle. If you get knocked down, do what all the champions do, get up again and keep going. It's ok to "fail", just get up and get on track. Do it enough times and it becomes part of who you are, and then just enjoy the results.
Just so that you understand where I'm coming from. I'm not sharing interesting ideas from some books I have read. This is what I have actually done in my life. I gradually transformed myself from a fitness professional (trainer, educator, manager) into a yoga practitioner/teacher and by actively using the discipline muscle together with a 200% commitment, our body&mind studio became a traditional Ashtanga Yoga school that is now recognized around the world. It resonated with me, I committed to it, I used discipline and I was patient. That is the next step. Patience.
We live in a world where everything is speeding up. We expect results right away, no-one has time to wait. We think that one year is a long time and very few could imagine committing to something that could take many years. I'm saying you should. A year is a short time and you shouldn't expect too drastic changes in that time. In yoga I often say that the first ten years we are beginners. It's a slow process but it's definitely worth it. Loosing weight should also be a slow process. Loosing it quickly is not good for health and it is probably not long lasting, it will bounce back. Fixing your finances can be a quick fix but the process of finding what truly resonates with you and to make that a way to give you a living, might take years. It doesn't necessary have to, but it often does. My life as a yoga practitioner is another example of this. I know what is important to me and I keep doing that. Sometimes it means a year without pay but I'm committed and I know that it will eventually sort itself out. Remember, the law of giving and receiving.
If you know what you truly want, if you are ready to commit to it, if you are actively making your discipline muscle stronger, patience is the last thing to master before you can enjoy the amazing results. Don't hurry. Just keep doing what you know to be right for you. When you do it from the heart, it's not a struggle. It might require some time and effort but you know it's worth it.
When you get the experience you are looking for, remember to be grateful for it. Gratitude is an energy you send to the universe, saying: "I like it, please send more of it.". Many people live through their lives without really knowing what they want, not reaching their true potential, and in a general state of disappointment and unhappiness. You can have a different experience and when you do, value it.
Life is an interesting journey for me. I don't take it too seriously. I try to listen to my inner voice, to really know what is important for me. I'm ready to work hard but I'm not into struggling. I'm willing to use effort but I'm also sensitive about finding a state of effortless action. I'm grateful of the life I'm experiencing, with all of its ups and downs.
If you want to take anything from this article, I hope it's this. Listen to your heart! Change can take a long time and it could require quite a lot of effort. Thus, focus on something that really means something to you. Don't focus on fear, let love be the motor for change.