“I know what the greatest cure is: it is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world.” -Henry Miller
Knowing why we act and what we are creating is everything. The clarity with which we begin any endeavor is not only the initial map we have to steer by, but even more deeply, aligns the mysterious and subconscious to achieve our intentions. A dear friend told me not long ago that “intention is everything” and to act without it is our current form of insanity. Rather than resolutions, which are usually a reaction to what we don’t want, think of guiding this New Year with true intention. To get you started, I offer up a few parameters, which may come in handy to measure your state of being.
Feel more, think less.
The body’s intelligence is always true. The brain of our gut will never lie and the radiance of the heart field extending x times beyond our mind should give you pause about what information leads your decision- making process. Our linear thinking model has created amazing technologies that not only threaten to replace our work, but literally have the capacity to engage the brain so fully we become disembodied. You could argue this is already taking shape when you walk through a big airport full of people all privately engaged on their devices and without any connection to those around them. Feeling our life experience through our body is the only way back to a more grounded and real experience of our days. Even if only for a few moments at a time, stop thinking and doing and virtually connecting; develop your capacity to listen to your gut, feel when your heart is closing down, when your throat tightens. Give yourself permission to let your feelings inform you and honor your body’s 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 to know myself. Partly this is because I have long confused the need to be witnessed by others with knowing myself. I have been writing about generative listening for some time, and have come to learn how much more I know of who I am when I stop talking and listen more. I am only just learning to dabble in holding a space open for someone else to fill, for staying still instead of moving to the next thing, for waiting for the quietest voice inside of me to emerge but I can tell you that each and every time I hit this place, something I have never known about myself emerges. When someone is genuinely interested in what you think, speaking has a powerful grace to shift a situation and, what’s more, there will always be the space for one’s voice to emerge at those moments. 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.
Give more, want less
Winston Churchill once wrote, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” There is this magical place that I have passed through where I could not tell the difference between giving and receiving, when what I was offering up of myself and my efforts felt like they were returning to me in the offering. And then there are other moments when I search for this place and feel depleted and wanting from all that I give. When I get stuck in this place, I know my tank is empty. Learning how to turn my giving inwards is no less generous than all the giving I aspire to do in the world, and yet it still takes me a long moment of wanting to realize that I deserve my love and attention at least as much as everyone else I am trying to help. Wanting less from the world is a graceful and easeful space to inhabit, but requires the capacity and willingness to attend to ourselves as we would a cherished friend. Give more to yourself so you can give more to what and who you love.
Be more, do less
Coming from an incessant doer, I would expect that you might be skeptical hearing this from me. 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 and 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.
Be more physically loving to everyone you know- including you. Kiss more, hug more, dare to have longer orgasms. Exercise more. Get stronger in your capacity for physical love. Develop your core muscles so you can stand up straighter and hug your partner from the inside. Be more emotionally available, vulnerable and generous. Take the risk of leaving your heart on your sleeve. Cry more. Bathe in a stream of emotions without the fear of being swept away. Practice opening your heart to the essential truth of being deeply lovable.