Updated: Dec 31, 2020
I never was one for New Year’s resolutions. Thankfully, because according to statistics, I would have abandoned mine by now.
New Year’s Eve festivities in general never were ‘my thing’. They seemed to come with obligatory sleep deprivation and a high potential for kisses from strangers in tinsel-trimmed red foil hats. The only hope for protection from the trill of kazoos, was a chance encounter with a blowout party-favour propelled into my ears, likely powered by breath thick with alcohol.
Nope, not for me.
There's little threat of a traditional New Year's party with Covid-19 this year, but the New year itself can be a reminder to honor the voice of our heart in any decision we make.
For years my mind said of a New Year party, “It should be fun”. But my heart crumpled and said, “Meh”.
However, some New Years celebrations sparkle in my memory, still warming my heart today.
They were gentle celebrations with family, or when I turned off the TV before the ball dropped in Times Square, choosing instead to snuggle into sleep. They were the years of following my heart rather than selling out to the cultural idea of New Years’ that my mind prostrated toward.
These were the New Year celebrations when “meh” transformed to “yum”.
Conforming to perceived obligations could be the reason why most New Year’s resolutions end up in failure, foiled like the party hats under which they began.
What happens when we follow our hearts, rather than making commitments out of a sense of obligation?
My clients are some of my best teachers, the subject of obligation without exception.
As I met for a private session with a client, she was positively glowing with excitement. “I just had an epiphany!”
“What is it?” I asked, realizing I held some skewed hope that her happiness was because of my arrival.
“I don’t have to be friends with someone just because they want to be my friend!”
Well, how about that? What a teaching!
How many of us feel guilty when we avoid the “friend” we’ve outgrown or with whom we have never felt affinity? You know, the one who’s invitation “we’ll have to get together for tea” is received with a dropping heart. How different this is from an invitation that comes with an uplifting feeling.
I was never so aware of this sense of obligation in myself until my client spoke it.
That day, I’d received a linkedin invitation from someone I don’t know, who happens to sell insurance. She asked if I’d like to get together for tea, saying she likes to connect with other professionals and would like to know more about me. I found myself stumbling with ways to politely reject her. It was ludicrous really, when I reflect on it now. She obviously wanted to sell me something and that’s okay. But why is “no thank you” so difficult? Age old stories of being a nice, accommodating girl run deep.
I eventually replied “No thank you. I wish you all the best for a Merry Christmas and Happy Year’. She politely replied and I felt a weight off my shoulders.
Even though it was a small weight, like a pebble, how they can add up!
Social obligation does have a place. It is okay to follow that sense of obligation as long as we don’t betray our heart. Follow the “yes” that comes with a warm, expansive, uplifting feeling. Feel for the “no” that feels quite opposite.
Many New Year resolutions are inspired by “should”. I should be able to hold plank pose for two minutes. I should lose five pounds. I should eat only plants.
Before making commitments at any time of the year, let your heart speak its truth.
Your mind is affected by social and familial conditioning, rendering it unreliable at best. Your heart and body know Truth. When you are in your heart, you are momentarily free of the confusing rhetoric of obligations.
I am not implying that you abandon your intellect and what you have learned through experience. Invite your bright mind into the decision making, just don’t let it override your heart.
At times, your head will still overshadow your heart. It is okay! We are only human after all. Each time you notice, turn back to your heart as if returning home to a loved one after time away.
Your heart and all it represents will never turn away from you. It is always here for you.
In my heartfelt desire to be here for you, no matter where I am, it is with great joy that I continue share an ever-expanding library of practice and teachings in the Body Mind Ease online subscription community.
I don’t require a New Year resolution from you, and I will support you in sustainable, effective practices for more ease of being every day of the year. I look forward to seeing you on the inside.
Happy New Year!