A note from Erin:
Part of me didn’t want to write to you this week – as with Thanksgiving week, I find I feel hesitant to add to all the noise in your inbox. Sales galore and so many messages. But I missed connecting with you. So I’m writing anyway. :) I hope it’s inspiring and helpful!
I want to let our local friends know about the all-day sit for peace we’re hosting on New Year’s Day. You’re welcome to join for a 25 minute sit, a few hours, or the whole shebang. It’s offered at no cost, of course. We’re delighted to hold space (at our Avenues offices) for sitting meditation as a wonderful way to ring in the new year. An opportunity to practice brave self-befriending, to grow our grounded spaciousness and our capacity to welcome life in all its changing forms. No experience necessary. If you’d like to join us and want details on where to show up and when, just reply to this email and we’ll send you all the details on location, time of sits and breaks, and what to bring.
(And even if you want to inquire about it – you don’t have to commit, you can play the day by ear if you like. It’s a no-pressure scene.) We’d love to have you join us! Carl and I will take turns hosting the sits throughout the day. We’ll offer simple guidance on sitting practice at the beginning of each sitting period, then do some movements or walking meditation during the breaks. Most of the time will be spent in silence.
(By the way: One of our aspirations is to find a time in our schedule when we can host regular times for sitting meditation for our local community. It hasn’t been easy to find a time and place! But we’ll keep you posted. For New Year’s Day, Friday January 1st, We’ll sit from 7-9am, 10am-12pm, 1-3pm and 4-6pm. You can join for as little as one 25 minute sit if you like. Remember, for more details just email us and we’ll fill you in. Others all around the world from our Embodied Life community and others will be sitting with us as well.)
This morning I got up early to do some sitting practice, then to take out my journal and do some reflections. One person referred to this time as Merry Twixtmas – betwixt and between the solstice, the Christmas holiday and the New Year. It’s a powerful time for reflection. I’m often reminded of a hilarious line from one of our young nephews many years ago. He shared his new years resolutions with his mom, which were to keep his hands out of his mouth and to stay the whole night in his own bed. And then he shared the zinger, “But I’m not going to actually do it. I’m just going to TRY.”
Isn’t that how new years resolutions often go?
I love regular reflection and continually reorienting my life. It always requires a PAUSE. I do it briefly most days when I sit in the mornings. I do it at Solstices. At New Years. Then I celebrate Chinese New Year and any other new year I can find on the calendar. And then there’s Spring Equinox, another new beginning, and then again the other equinox in the fall. Reflection and reorienting seem so necessary — it’s just too damn easy to spend days or years caught up in unintentional momentum, blown by the winds of karma, suddenly wondering – how’d I end up here? We’re among the most privileged people on the planet. Let’s not waste the opportunity, but use our powerful capacities for intention and attention, seasoned liberally with gentleness and humor.
I thought I’d share with you a few ideas and resources for reflection at this time of year (or whenever you’re feeling the need to pause, reassess, reorient.) Play with any that inspire you and forget the rest! ;)
- Write a letter to your present self from your wise-future-self. Imagine yourself 5-25 years into the future as being the most unfolded, wise, compassionate, self-actualized version of you. What would she or he say to you today? What would she or he encourage you to step into, to risk, to go for? To let go of, to quit worrying about? I have written many such letters to myself and love to read them often. It never fails to blow my mind.
- What are you most celebrating from 2015? What were your most touching moments? What are you most grateful for? I find it’s so important to ask this question. It’s so easy to see what’s not yet perfect and what we haven’t yet accomplished. It takes intention to let in the good stuff. Make a list. Or simply reflect. The most key component? Really let yourself feel the goodness of it in a bodily way! I do this at night with our son at bedtime. He recently said, “Mama, wait, you have to stop, my chest it going to explode with happiness!” Then it exploded, and we sent the love everywhere.
- Ask yourself this powerful question: How do you want to feel? What will you do to feel that way? Such a powerful inquiry to return to again and again.
- Sit still and be quiet. Feel the earth supporting you, your breath enlivening your whole body. Feel whatever is here to be felt. I made a short audio practice for you. Click here to listen. It’s about 7 minutes long.
- I love Nelson Mandela’s encouragement: “Free yourself. Free others. Serve everyday.” Seems like a wonderful motto for a life well lived. Do you love it too? Reflect: How are you freeing yourself? What truly works for you? How are you freeing others? How can you serve? And in case that inquiry feels loaded with pressure to save the world, remember Mother Teresa’s wise counsel: We can do no great things, only small things with great love. That can be a superb way to serve. What other phrase might be a great guide for your year?
- We’ve written often about this line that’s been a beacon for us for years: The means you use must embody the end you seek, said Gandhi. I find it important to notice: Where are my means getting out of alignment? Am I straining toward peace? Judging my way toward kindness? Being bitchy in the process of creating a cozy home? We humans are hilarious, aren’t we? It’s so damn good to laugh at ourselves. (By the way, I’ve been doing this with a new Instagram account I created in addition to my regular one (@grateful_erin). (The new one is @restinthemess.) I can’t tell you how helpful it’s been to bring humor to the things that normally drive me crazy! (I’m taking pics of the crazy messes in my life and merging them with humor and connection with loved ones. The healing has been epic! Especially as we have an abundance of messes around here.)
- Consider choosing a word of the year (or theme of the year.) 2016 will be my year of ____. As befits my multi-passionate personality, I often find it most helpful to choose 3 words. :)
- Check out Andrea Scher’s Mondo Beyondo Dream Generator or her Complete Your Year worksheet. Let your mind wander over some wild imaginings. It’s good for you. Even Einstein said so.
- Check out Susannah Conways’ free workbook for Unravelling the Year for 2016. I love it!
- If you knew this was going to be your last year alive, how would you spend it? What would you prioritize? What would you let go of?
- Enjoy this wise post on letting gratefulness guide your new year’s reflections. I loved it!
I’d love to hear what supports YOU this time of year.
Sending all good wishes for an auspicious completion of 2015 and a fresh and blessed beginning of 2016.
How wonderful that we can always begin again!
Let’s keep moving from fear to love,
with generous self-forgiveness for how often we forget,
with humor and gentleness for ourselves and each other,
with spaciousness and making plenty of room for all of it,
and knowing the ever reliable support of the ground, of life, and of each other.
1. Registration is open for Carl’s awesome new class for 2016, Embodying the Masculine. Details Below.
2. I still have just 2 spots left for Women Embodied Live 2016. Contact me if one of those spots has your name on it!
3. We’re working on our teaching schedule for 2016. Let us know if you have requests! We’ll have an update for you soon.