In 2010, I decided to let go of the concept of new years resolutions. One of my yoga teacher friends suggested in a class I attended that perhaps forming intentions for a new year are really valuable and perhaps more effective at developing habits that are meaningful and lasting in your life. So I thought about it for all of a few minutes and realized that my intention for 2010 would be AUTHENTICITY. As I quickly discovered, this is a truly complicated intention. What does it mean to be authentic? What does an authentic Elaine Hill act like? What does she feel? What does she think? What does she do?
Like all things in yoga, as in life, there are inherent paradoxes. We forget our great divinity so we can discover it again. The cosmic game of hide-and-seek that brings us back to our mat and to our seat day in and day out. Each day is new and fresh and totally brilliant with the recognition of our divine consciousness. The major take-away from a year of authenticity is that I had to be pretty inauthentic to define my authentic self. I spent a lot of time being "not me" so I could define me. Although 2010 is over, this play of consciousness will continue for me for years to come. I am so excited to discover who I decide to define myself as.
Yes, I said who I decide to define myself as. That is truly one of the major gifts of being human. We can be so many things. Each of us is a spectrum of characteristics and we may differ depending on the circumstances. We may be patient when waiting for a morning coffee (or some of us are impatient), but then when it comes to waiting for a loved-one to forgive us we may be unable to function. So does that make me patient or impatient? Ultimately, in every scenario we can define where we stand on a given spectrum. Lazy? Active? Loving? Mean? Angry? Calm? Patient? Passionate? Apathetic? Strong? Weak? Flexible? Unchanging? Mobile? Stationary?
The true play of consciousness is recognizing that we are playing out a drama for the shakti, that she gets to define herself through us. She is reflecting herself onto the canvass of herself. We ultimately get to co-participate in this process and define Who We Really Are. In the process of our yoga, we are continually uniting with our True Self. With the infinite possibilities of who we are. We get to define authenticity in each moment.
So what is my over-arching intention for 2011? Well it's the title of this blog. DANCING WITH THE SHAKTI. I am so excited to get started. I know that she has been dancing through me for a long time, but I have struggled with giving her a lot of attention. In 2011, I intend to be deeply connected, aware and mindful of my connection with the higher consciousness. I will constantly remind myself of the play of consciousness and the partner dance I am engaged in with the creative power of the universe (shakti!). The image that comes to mind is salsa. Shakti and I are dancing an elaborate salsa. The beat can be fast or slow, the rhythm is expressive and deeply felt. Shakti is the leader, but I must provide resistance for our dance to go smoothly. At times she will let me go and I dance independently, but we always return together.
"If you were to examine your life with an outlook filled with the knowledge of humanity, you would realize that it is nothing but a play of sunlight and shadow, that is not different from a drama or from a joyful dream. This play of creation is filled with unique colors and manifestations. Like clouds in the autumn sky which keep forming and dissolving, forming and dissolving, in your life different colors shine and sparkle for a while and then fade away. You never know why they come and go or for how long they have been arising and subsiding. " -Baba Muktananda
On my mat, I plan to practice the following intentions to enhance my dance with the shakti. COURAGE. TRUST. SURRENDER. This year, I will surrender to the pulsations of life. I am certain it will be easier than when I fight.
Don't take a single breath for granted.