[all photos by p.j.lazos]
Okay, so it’s almost February, but it’s still a new year and never too late to make a few resolutions. Perhaps this post by my sis, Stacey Lazos will help you figure out what that looks like. So go ahead. Get your joy on. I dare you.
New Year, New You
Welcome to 2017! Every year, around the middle of December, I start to really look forward to the New Year. I think about all the ways the old year kicked my ass and how the new year will be so much more gentle, kind and loving. Something about starting fresh, wiping the slate clean, endless possibilities (and on and on).
The same stream of consciousness seems to be true for self-help tools, exercise regimes, diets or any type of make yourself better endeavor. We always start out strong. We want to succeed, to become the best possible version of ourselves. And at the beginning we fall in love with the way the new exercise or diet or whatever makes us feel. There’s a bit of euphoria around the new and improved us. We buy the cute tights, the equipment, the supplements and we think, this is it. I’m finally going to be the person I want to be. But a week or two into it (perhaps an hour or two), we start to lose momentum. We get a little tired. Our old patterns start to emerge and taunt us from the sidelines. “Dinner really isn’t complete without some ice cream for dessert.” “It’s probably better if I skip my run today because my ankle is a little sore.” And before you know it, the make yourself better activities become less and less because it’s just easier to fall into your old patterns. Yogis call these samskaras (mental and emotional patterns left on the subconscious mind by experience). Think of them as your default settings. Patterning is something that we learn at a very young age, but in the context of math, science and art. How often do you think of it in the context of your life experiences?
I’ve been a yoga student for many years. I LOVE to practice. I have friends that make fun of me because they wonder what I’m practicing for. Almost nothing makes me feel better than getting my sweat on for an hour and a half with a teacher I enjoy, some like-minded people and a safe and sacred space. And even though I would choose this activity over most others, there have still been weeks and even months where I have abandoned my practice because I was living my life. Sometimes it was because I was having too much fun, but most times it was because I was too worried or stressed or just caught in my own desperate mental loop and I forgot that I knew how to feel better. My samskaras led me to worry even though joy is so much more appealing and really, just as close as a shift in perspective.
Joy is always in our hands (our minds really), but our western culture teaches us that joy is a thing or a place, a person or an accomplishment. It is none of those things, but rather a state of being, a place of union inside ourselves, which is either simple or elusive, depending upon your vantage point.
This year of 2017, I choose to be my biggest fan, to be selfish in my decision to feel good and to delight in the world in general. I will do this with the help of some very special people in my life, but mostly I will do it by aligning myself to a higher perspective and staying there, no matter how my previous patterns impose. Which of your patterns are worth breaking this year?
stacey lazos 1.27.17