While I was preparing for the new year I came across dozens of articles that discussed New Year's resolutions and ultimately the short coming of fortitude to follow through with them. One after another people shared their frustrations with not be able to stick with a diet, a routine, an unrealistic goal, the pain that won't go away. So how do we get those goals to stick around? How do we get motivated enough to finish what we start?
For years I have been developing my Sankalpa. When I first started going to yoga I had a teacher that would ask me at the beginning of every class, "what do you need today?". At first it was always something physical, and often it still is, but slowly I have started to see something more. My first intention was "I am free of pain", but over time it evolved into "Forgiveness is My Nature", which left me able to be at peace with my pain and more importantly myself. The 28 days of practice in presence gave me another chance to reflect on what I needed, why was I in pain, and how I could bring that deeper awareness into my practice?
At the root of all resolution or intention is desire. However, when I start to think about what I want in life it comes out sounding negative, like “why don’t I already have...? How do I get rid of...? I want to change...?” Immediately I am stuck feeling bad about myself before I even got to the part of figuring out my deepest desires. So let’s try that again, this time I am going to think about what I like most about myself first. “What do I love about myself? What about me, am I grateful for? Why do I want...? What empowers me to grow?” Once I take that step back and see my current self or situation in a more positive light, then I see that the thing I wish to develop isn't something I am lacking, but something that I am nurturing and encouraging already.
The form that my intention takes today is "Forgiveness is my true nature". It is an open positive statement. This means that there is more than one way to allow this statement to be present in my life. The simple words are meaningful to me and hold the power to allow change as well as self acceptance. Today I practiced my intention by letting the car merge in front of me during heavy traffic and offering myself a hug of appreciation. I spend time listening to my husband about sports instead of tuning out to his statistics. I realize that I am perfect the way that I am and yet I feel open to pursue further all the avenues of my true nature through forgiveness. I am empowering myself to overcome self doubt and anger through my practice. I see my strength and weakness in this statement, but I am empowered to achieve my goal because it comes from a place of honesty and love. I look beyond what I desire to what the motivation behind it. I looked beyond the pain and found the root of my dissatisfaction with who I am.
I continue to look for different ways to be present with my practice of forgiveness. Offering kindness to both myself and the people in my life is a huge part of how my intention manifests every day. By allowing for forgiveness to exist in my life, I am learning to be more tolerant of my mistakes and the mistakes of others. Having an intention that is rooted in self confidence yields the stem of motivation, my personal nature blossoms and eventually bares the fruit of my efforts.
An intention aligns us with our purpose in life, our truth, or reason to be, so we must keep looking deeper beneath our desires. In yoga we are always reminded to start where we are. There is no wrong intention, but through yoga you may find yourself listening a little harder and finding the confidence to act on what you are hearing.