For me it is always the advent of spring, as the light returns and the Earth proclaims the green possibility of renewal everywhere, that my questions of how I am living takes on new urgency. Understanding why I act in the ways that I do, how I respond or don’t to the people in my life, and what I am creating with my time here seems the only matter of true importance. The most powerful way that I have discovered to work with these questions has been through setting better intentions.
Unlike our usual New Year’s resolutions which are a reaction to what we don’t want, springing forward with fresh intentions is a proactive process. Try practicing any of the following intentions and see how they impact not only how you live better in your body, but also how you walk more gently on the Earth.
Feel more, think less.
Start with your body’s natural intelligence. Now well documented, our “gut brain” never lies. The electromagnetic radiance around the heart extends way beyond our physical body. It is easy in our device-driven world to become disembodied, unable to discern and listen to the messages our body is providing. Feeling our life experience through our body is the one way back to a more grounded and real experience of our days.
Even if only for a few moments at a time, bring your attention inward. By refocusing your attention inward, the voice of your uneasy gut, the distinct sense of your heart closing down or your throat tightening, becomes wisdom that can help you hear your own inner wisdom.
Listen more, talk less.
For anyone who knows me, talking has always been – for me – not only a way to communicate, but more addictively a way I have relied on others to know myself. By listening more, I am able to know myself in ways that talking has often unknowingly prevented.
Holding a space open for someone else to fill not only offers them an opportunity to know their own truth, but also provides the space for the quietest voice inside of me to emerge. When someone is genuinely interested in what I think, my voice has a powerful grace to shift a situation. But more often than not, it is listening for what is lurking beneath what we think we know that has the most to teach us.
Be more, do less.
Coming from an incessant doer, I would expect that you might be skeptical hearing this from me, and maybe it is middle age catching up to me, but I am coming to believe that there is great wisdom in being still. I am not that good at it and it is no easy trick with multiple distractions coming at us from every direction endlessly. I recently heard about some research in which participants would rather receive an electric shock than sit still alone.
Learning to find peace in our own company is a powerful medicine for almost everything that ails us. Being in stillness is where listening, feeling, and giving all merge inside of us and there is literally an open space of peace and quiet waiting to hold us. Try it, even if it feels awkward at first.
Have more, buy less.
Most of us don’t need anything. We are so fortunate that we have little need for anything new. And yet shopping remains a primary pastime for so many of us. You may be surprised to learn that ninety nine percent of what we purchase ends up in landfills within six months of purchase. And, although at the moment of purchase we think the item will add to our sense of happiness and well being, it rarely does.
Turn it around by taking stock of what you have. And, when you want to add something to your closet, commit to giving something you already own away. Turn your attention from the material and ask what your heart or belly wants and then go find a friend to fill your longing.