At the beginning of a new year it seems appropriate to set an intention for my focused practice this year and to observe areas where my life does not quite reflect the message that I speak. For me the area where I need to draw my attention to is finding calm in chaos.
I tend to be a very "busy" person with my mind in many directions and participating in many different things. My schedule is always full, and most days I find it hard to sit down and just take time out. Last year one of the ways I practiced finding calm was scheduling myself down-time and occasionally clearing my schedule for a whole afternoon where I would refuse to do anything except relax. (Of course this often times brought with it the stress of thinking of all the things I "should" be doing). I would often consider it a "tick in the box" if I had done my yoga practice or meditation for the day - "yep, good to go on the relaxation front, I did my 40 min!" haha.....that is hardly living a life of tranquility.
As I look at bringing more calm into my life, I have been reflecting on the un-essential parts of my schedule that could really be discontinued. The things that I spend my time doing that are actually not deserving of that energy. For me this is a constant re-evaluation and active decision around what I will spend my time and energy on because I am FOREVER piling more and more things into my schedule to fill the voids that I have JUST made! haha....This is my personality.
Having said that, what has been my "personality" in the past does not define me for the rest of my life. I can change who I am. I can cultivate the calm within me, and make living within this calm nature more and more of who I TRULY am. In the Tao Te Ching it says "If you let yourself be blown to and fro, you lose touch with your root". The foundation of who I am and who I want to be is a person of calm and peace. I want to radiate that calm in chaotic moments and for people to feel at ease when they are with me. This is my root and my true nature.
Wayne Dyer has a great book out called Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life and in his book he is constantly showing how it is our choice what we believe about ourselves and what actions we take in our lives. We have the power to choose calm in chaos. We don't have to live frantically just because that's the "way we are"....we can change that. We can choose to stop and take a deep breath and focus our heart and mind on our true nature - our root - our foundation... "assigning blame for your lack of calmness will never bring you to the state of being that you're striving to attain. Self-mastery only blossoms when you practice being aware of, and responsible for, what you're feeling." - Wayne Dyer.
So my challenge as I continue to practice detachment from the emotions that drive my responses (irritation, frustration, excitement, anticipation, love etc.) is not only to detach from these emotions, but also to sit calmly with them. To watch them as an observer knowing that I do not have to react in response to them. I can choose calm. I can choose tranquility and peacefulness. I can choose not to respond to the stimulus around me, and I can choose how much time I spend in quiet calmness each day and what the quality of that time looks like. I take responsibility for my own schedule and how I spend my time, so I can choose how chaotic or how peaceful my life is.
A dear friend of mine had set a mantra for their family last year that they used all year long - #Choose Joy - and I loved that so much...In every day and in every way they were teaching their children to choose joy! For me this was a great example and this year I am setting my mantra - #Choose Calm
What is your intention as you start this new year? You have the power to change your own life, so what thought processes do you need to change to make this happen?