My New Year's Resolution - Make Room For Joy!

By Freya Secrest

The energy of January invites me to commit myself to fresh beginnings and new intentions. The spirit of these beginnings is often translated into resolutions – New Year’s Resolutions – capitalized for their significance. But I have found New Year’s Resolutions don’t often work for me. The focus of my grand plan gets lost or subverted by my normal everyday life and well-entrenched habits. My New Year’s resolutions never seem to extend much beyond February or March.

This year I have decided to experiment and begin the year a little differently. I am looking more deeply at the Resolutions that seem attractive to me and exploring the energy behind them. Organizing my papers and files is on the list. And so is paying attention to my health. They have both been on my list before. So what approach might I take to successfully bring them into fruition in my life this year? How can I hold an intention that draws and connects me so that they root and grow in my life?

What is coming to light is a multi-faceted relationship with my intentions. In the past, my New Year’s Resolutions have been more in the category of "shoulds" for self-improvement with focused attention and discipline being the main energy behind them. I imagine a straight line from A to B and will myself to hold to it. But when I consider the times when I have been successful in establishing a new direction or possibility in my life, I see that my intention holds a place in my heart and mind as well. An element of joy fuels the path and dances me toward the results I am seeking.

We often ask the participants in our classes to take a slow, step-by-step approach to a manifestation or subtle energy project they take up. We encourage giving some space and time to notice results, make adjustments, and incorporate change as it starts to manifest. The magic of manifestation is not so much about instant results or a will-fueled trajectory as it is about building a relationship that draws on resiliency, flexibility and practicality, like a terrain-hugging mountain road. As I consider engaging my new year’s intentions in this way, I feel my body relax. The process feels more spacious and I am engaged, curious to see what might unfold. The process becomes more interactive. The pace of my resolution slows enough to include inquisitiveness.

For me, curiosity is the most productive and painless form of discipline. When I am interested, time and tasks speed along. Motivation comes naturally. With curiosity I am drawn to take the time to notice my intentions morph and grow as I work with them. I see new possibilities that inform a change of direction. When I am responsive in a situation, I do not always end up heading in the same direction as I started out, but I do reach my goal. Focusing on my interest, I can hold true to my intention and still be flexible to make choices about new possibilities as they unfold.

So, how does that translate into this year’s resolutions? That backlog of papers in my basement files is a resource of ideas and possibilities, of creative dreams. I haven’t been willing to just throw them away, but time has moved on and I haven’t yet written that book or essay I had intended to long ago. Now it is not just a matter of storing this pile of notes neatly and then ignoring them for another year. Bringing joy to my resolution invites me to recognize these papers as a record of my dreams and inspirations, and using that touchpoint to cull through the files, sort out the material that has current relevance and release the rest with honor. I am curious to see the threads of my life that are revealed as I sort through my backlog, knowing that I want to enjoy the tapestry while still opening space for new designs to emerge.

Concerning my health, lifestyle changes cause physical exercise to land differently in my time and attention than in times past. These days I travel often for Lorian activities and it is a challenge to maintain the same old consistent exercise routine. Yet even my health objectives feel different. Whereas in time past I happily worked out at the local gym, building power and strength, I find that now these goals no longer sustain me. Instead I am interested in resiliency and balance, which bring me more into relationship with my body as ally rather than as a tool. Using the desires that bring me joy to nurture the roots of new habits, I look for connection with the world around me. Walks in nature draw me out to breathe and stretch and enjoy my body more. That seems the place to begin to let new disciplines unfold.

Becoming conscious of joy and spaciousness is the key resolution I am taking up this New Year. Joy cements my connection to the new possibilities I imagine, and spaciousness offers a place for that connection to bloom. They speak to connection and time as factors that can bring my intentions to life. Spaciousness and joy are two elements that I haven’t offered much room for in the context of past New Year’s Resolutions. I am coming to realize they make a world of difference.