10 January 2012

2012! Really?

I hope everyone is enjoying the start of a happy new year!

My last few posts were about forms of yoga, and I was determined to finish the series before I started something new. Since that wasn't happening, I looked back at what was going on with me last year at this time. The final line of my first post in 2011 was: Another year over, a new one just begun. (from John Lennon's Happy Christmas (War is over))

black & white cookie from NJ
So, in the spirit of newness, I begin 2012 with a modest post and give myself permission to return to forms of yoga when I'm ready. It's easy for me to get stuck in a pattern; I still have so much to learn. I can become paralyzed by uncertainty and am more comfortable when I feel that my path is clear. Even though I know there is never true certainty except in this moment, I like clarity. Spiritual readings and meditation help to nudge me along the path. My yoga practice provides lots of tools and so do other teachings.

Nothing is black and white all the time, except maybe this cookie and zebras and nuns' habits and penguins, etc. The symbol for yin yang is black and white and also contains a bit of dark within the light and a bit of light within the dark. This Taoist symbol is a  more realistic representation of the way I believe my life evolves. New situations are often confusing and sometimes result in feelings of uncertainty. I am not well versed in the Tao, but I read this today and like it:

Some people seem to embrace confusion, chasing the twilight. They fear decision-making because it carries responsibility for action. For these people, the line between yin and yang is blurred as they remain passive in ambiguous periods. Taoism's strategy, instead, is to gain clarity and not stay in the middle. Sometimes this can be hard as decisions to achieve clarity may involve uncomfortable conversations followed by tough action.

most likely not from NJ
I've spent many hours, even years, in twilight. I don't do that so much anymore; I find myself using the tools that have been shared with me over the years to help me navigate uncertain waters. Asking for what I need or want is sometimes scary. Yoga has made me braver. In reading about Taoism, I also found this:

In the intellectual realm, the yin/yang's symbol offers a valuable tool for sorting out life's priorities and making difficult decisions. It turns out that it's easier for the mind to comprehend what is not wanted, rather than what is desired. For example, if asked what a person wants out of life, there is often confusion and bewilderment. However, by mentally exploring what is not wanted, the desired aspects become clearer and clearer. It turns out that investigating the opposite side of any phenomenon often provides an easier path to enlightenment than the more direct approach. This is a valuable technique that can be immediately used without specialized training.

Like sculpture, taking away what isn't wanted or needed results (hopefully) in something beautiful and lasting. In trying to focus on the positive, I often forget that looking at all aspects of any situation is equally necessary. That means examining and talking about my uncomfortable feelings, being honest with myself and others, honoring my values and being patient. I can be very impatient.

Black and white cookies are familiar, I grew up with them. I also grew up with some habits and patterns that I've worked hard to change. If you know me, you've probably heard me say that I need to meditate more. This allows me to better deal with these periods of grayness. Today I believe that 2012 is going to be a great year!