The way that we have organized the end of the year -- and by we I mean Americans -- is funny and crazy and so endearingly American.
We create all this stress around Christmas. rushing to buy each other stuff and becoming furious at other drivers in the parking lot of Target. We feel overwhelmed because there is too much to do.
On the 25th, we drive to four different family members houses, eating too much, not digesting any of it well, and feeling guilty for not spending enough time anywhere.
Then, hungover from cookies and wine, we go back to work for a few days before New Years. Meanwhile at home, overwhelmed by the clutter from Christmas presents, we purge and pack up boxes of our old stuff to Goodwill.
When January 1st comes, the desire for a fresh start, for a tidy home, for a happy gut, for a thinner body, is so strong that we want just want to forget about the last week of 2019. We crave a fresh start so badly that we leave the last year behind without saying a proper goodbye. Without getting closure.
We skip saying goodbye to what has been. We don't look back on the amazing path we have traveled in the past year. We don't give ourselves the opportunity to discern what we should let go and what we should keep carrying.
One of my yoga teachers at Kripalu, Coby Kozlowski, says there is this idea that gets passed around in the yoga world that attachment to anything is bad, and that all desire is problematic. But it’s not. The problem comes when you are attached to a season that has run its course.
Non-attachment made sense for monks who were learning yoga because they really were trying to leave everything behind. But for us householders, yoga has a different purpose. Yoga gives us the discernment and the skill to move through the seasons of life, and to feel each part of the transitions. Beginnings. Middles. Ends.
In 2019, how can you stay present with the ending?
Take a quiet afternoon. Put on some music. Light a candle. Review what has happened in 2019. What was wonderful? What was so hard? What did you learn? How are you wiser? Where did you avoid growing?
You could also come to workshop I am teaching called New Year Nidra: Intentions and Visions at Shanti Yoga (South City) on Saturday, January 4, 4 to 6 pm.