Happy 2016! While I’m currently in Australia and already celebrated my New Year’s eve a few days ago, modern day calculations say there is a whole new calendar year starting today and in some cultures, it’s a relatively huge chance to start all over again, this time getting it right.
Making a list of resolutions is a great practice but can most often lead to disappointment when they are forgotten months, sometimes weeks, sometimes days in to the new year.
Take it from someone who has spent the past 6 months fighting for her life, changes don’t happen overnight.
I feel like I was lucky to get sick. If I didn’t I’d still be on the same blind plan, thinking I’m healthy but in reality am so very much not.
The me in June this year was so confused as to how I could be diagnosed with stage IV cancer. I ate right, for the most part. I exercised, for the most part.
It wasn’t until months later I learned the truth. Just shopping at the farmer’s market and working out when time permitted, never really drinking so much to be fully intoxicated anymore, and genuinely keeping myself in good spirits was not enough to keep me away from serious illness.
The truth is I was eating out at least four or five times a week. Most often it was in a rush and all the time I had no idea what was in the food. While I made an effort to get as much sleep as I could during the week, I was sleeping with my phone, so not really sleeping much at all. I was scrolling through so much Internet consuming so much negativity and secretly holding in so much resentment but making false statements to myself that everything was great. While I thought I had a great life balance between my work, hobbies and community service I was saying yes to too much and working too hard to please too many others and getting further and further away from myself and my own inner peace. I was holding on to everything and letting go of nothing. This also trickled over in to my living situation, as it took at least four sessions with six different people to fully purge my apartment of too many things I couldn’t let go. Now a few months later I feel so much lighter and a million times healthier.
I’m revealing all of this to you now at my own expense because hopefully I can help other people make some good changes and not see them as resolutions… more like life changes. Resolutions are almost doomed to fail. Life changes are not resolutions. Resolutions are empty promises you make yourself. Life changes are the big steps you make that you have to always work to keep intact. Eventually these will become your practice and everything else will fall in to place.
Consider taking a stab at these life changes, and the resolutions will most likely follow. Focus your energy and attention on these and tell me what happens at the end of this year. What have you got to lose?
Life Practice: Respect My Body as a Temple
Resolutions it Covers: Lose Weight, Drink Less, Quite Smoking, Save More Money
“At least you have your health” isn’t something I wholly understood until I lost mine. Having issues with your health or your body really is one of the worst things that could be happening to you. Yet we do so much to destroy it daily. Our bodies are such complex systems, with an estimated hundred billion cells and five vital organs working around the clock in a beautiful harmony to create an existing you. When you respect your body as the temple it is, you want to keep it conditioned and healthy. You know that eating fried foods, fast foods, overly processed foods, added sugars or chemicals is bad for it. Once you decide to start cutting back on that, you will also want to keep yourself hydrated. Drinking enough water is something hardly anyone does, but with the rising popularity of Hydroflask and all its accessories I’m betting this can change for the better in modern practice very soon if it hasn’t already. Eating from Earth, good vegetables, grains, seeds, roots, fruits and nuts as often as possible is something your body really likes, and will reward you for once this becomes a life practice. Scrubbing the skin daily, keeping the muscles conditioned, stretching and giving your insides the best access for blood flow are also great ways to respect your temple. Circulation really does make the world go around.
Life Change: Meditate Daily
Resolution: Enjoy Life to the Fullest, Travel More, Live a Happier Life
Meditation and yoga. It’s been gaining more momentum in Western lifestyle over the past decade what Eastern cultures have known all along and at a rate that pleases me. For this practice and despite some hilarious sad but true viral videos, there is no veteran angst for the n00bs, only secure pleasure in knowing that we all may live to see true peace in this world, in our lifetime. With so many jumping on the bandwagon either by self realization or in my case forced on by an illness, this time there is nothing but good that could come from it. Mass consumption will certainly mean many trying to cash in on it but what harm can there really be in a wellness retreat? A yoga class? A self-empowerment workshop? This, my friends, is not a competition. We are all one.
Meditating just means sitting in silence with no distractions, and thinking about nothing. Letting the thoughts that try to pop in to your head flood back out of your head and just observe your inner self. The thinking mind is a noisy bugger that will always be trying to overtake your true self. Once you can separate your thinking mind from your true self you will understand that the ego is something completely made up and not who you really are. Breathe in until your entire lungs and belly is full, then let it out slowly all the way. Do this for as long as you can, knowing that when you first start the longest you can probably do it is like 3-4 minutes, with a goal of at least 30 minutes each morning and night. If it’s the first and last thing you do for the day there is a whole new level of life that you can unlock.
Life Change: Overcome your Social Media Addiction
Resolution: Spend More Time with Friends and Family, Life a Happier Life
The first step in addiction is admitting you have it. I can fully admit how I would spend hours before bed and when I first woke up scrolling through Twitter then Instagram then Snapchat then Vine then Facebook then by that time there could be more posted on Twitter then Instagram and so forth. It was a never-ending cycle of empty consumption, with very very little of it making me a better person. As a single person there was nobody to call me on it but sadly when I was out I would see so many couples, families, and groups of friends out doing the same thing, which made me feel better. We all do it, so there.
My eyes burn thinking about it, and it was only my recent illness that weaned me off completely. After a few months of no social media when I finally did go back to scrolling instead of just posting I could see a significant difference in what is being put out there. It’s toxic stuff, you guys. Overcoming your addiction is a slow process, not an overnight cold turkey thing. Start by unfollowing or muting the habitual negative ranters or conspiracy theorists. Change your five-six times a day down to once a day down to every other day down to only on Sundays. You might notice time spent on the Internet now is better time spend with humans. Millennials especially: do not lose your human connection. Be present. It’s ok to take photos and share and post but scrolling when you are in others company it a blatant billboard saying “I AM LOOKING FOR SOMETHING BETTER THAN WHAT I AM EXPERIENCING RIGHT NOW WITH THESE PEOPLE.”
Resolution: Pay off Debts
Life Change: Give Freely
Holding on to anything is not good. This means holding on to debts, but start giving a bit more freely and see if you notice a more positive stream of wealth come in to your life. Nothing is meant to be hoarded and that includes your wealth. Circulation makes the world go around.