It’s not new calendar year, but it is new earth cycle year (almost). Spring is gladly rising in New Zealand, lightening the bays and lifting the soil with the tips of fresh shoots. It’s as good a time as any to air and share our resolutions and intentions.
Everyone I have asked treats their resolution as a grander version of a to do list with a bit of higher aspiration thrown in and I’m no exception. To do this, do that and do the other and, always, always, to be strong.
This new year, though, my experience totally reset how I approach resolutions.
Moving into 2014, I had a Golden Bay ‘moment’ (doesn’t everyone?), running barefoot through the bush sort of crying without tears. And in the suddenness of stopping, I sensed – with a jolt – the vastness of the night. I fell out of the dream of my own drama.
Looking up at the mantle of stars I suddenly felt small and unafraid of my smallness. In fact I celebrated it with a kind of awakening awe, sensing my fragmented, tilting smallness as part of this gigantic, infinite, co-creating whole.
In that strange unraveling bunch of dark night and stars, I set the year’s intention and it was fresh and really new: to be tiny, open and curious, pleasant on the earth.
That’s why, this weekend we headed to the Catlins and did nothing but stare ahead and around, build fires, watch them burn down, walk on rocks that looked like the surface of the moon and call to sealions in the dark dunes. (And dance weirdly to the ocean’s sound.)
Once we have released doing (the list of external goals for the year) from our overarching resolution of how to be in the world, what if we went further and shed reactive being (the list of internal goals)?’
‘To be strong’, I now see, is too loaded, too objective. I will never know if I am strong unless I compare it to the perceived strengths of others or unless I demonstrate it in an adverse ‘situation’ of sorts. Strength, therefore, (of the kind I was working towards) is a reaction against attack and has fear at its heart.
But I can be tiny, open and curious and that is the definition of growth and evolution. I can be pleasant too. I can awake to the illusion of separateness and be kind to myself when I inevitably fall asleep to truth again.
It seemed to happen in a flash for me, but below is an excellent and tried and tested way to get there.
Grab paper and pen to write down each step of this process.
Ask your self, what do I want?
When you come up with your flash answer: ‘to achieve a first class degree!’, ‘to be accepted onto that apprenticeship!’ ‘to be a successful actor!’ ‘to find true love!’ Write it down and then…
Just ask why.
You’ll drop down into a further layer of intention. Maybe the answers will go something like: ‘so that my family will be proud of me,’ ‘so that I can get on the first rung of the career ladder,’ ‘so that more people will hear my voice,’ ‘so that I will feel cherished.’
Ask why again. ‘Why do you want your family to be proud of you?’ ‘Why do you want to start this particular career?’ ‘Why do you want to share your voice widely?’ Why do you want to feel cherished?’
When your answer comes, ask why again.
This is where it gets interesting. Be patient. Be open. Be persistent. Be kind.
Eventually, after repeated excavation, regular ‘whys’, you will come to an open space in which your true way of being dances. I promise you, you will know when you are there.
Crucial step: spend some time here in this space with your eyes closed, noting the sensations in your body as you bask in your true way of being. Notice how you feel lighter and more grounded, patient, expanded.
Now document this and do it vividly, honour it before it slips away.
Come back to it whenever you need because it is yours.
If you feel called, please share your thoughts in the comments below. I would love to know if you try the exercise and how you get on.
In all love and great appreciation, xxx