not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time.
already existing but seen, experienced, or acquired recently or now for the first time.
Which definition of NEW do you think the phrase, “new year, new you” is referring to? Or more importantly, which one is your default?
When we want to change ourselves, it can be difficult to decipher between small shifts and the desire for a full makeover. We often look towards the “not existed before” (a.k.a. complete transformation) as our way to achieve change. But what if our effort went towards being more content more of the time? Would our perspective of what is necessary for the change we seek be the same? Practice has the power of helping us breakdown the big-shiny-newness into smaller newer particles. When we find our practice, we dedicate ourselves to sustainable change. These shifts may be from the inside out, not a total physical transformation in the blink of an eye, but rather, small developments from a place that “already exists”— an uncovering “seen, experienced, or acquired recently or now”. A new you, over and over again.
But how do we change our perspective so that we can focus on small daily changes? Let’s try this experiment for the month of January, find 20 minutes of breathing and moving as close to everyday as possible. By doing this, we give ourselves the opportunity to change our perspective. We may become more specific in the change we want or gain a fresh view of our weight and body image. Instead of wishing to be absolutely new we practice daily and begin the work of seeing clearly where we are, and noticing the changes that practice offers us. In this way, we inevitably move towards our goals.
If you don’t already have guidance for a practice, join us for Transformation, our 9 month course in Peaceful Weight Loss. We offer many practices that are available 24/7 as well as the guidance to use them and prioritize small lifestyle shifts.
May the new year connect us all to our intention for personal peace and well-being and may our minds bring new found contentment.
Today I thought I would take a moment to talk about our social life and how it relates to weight loss. As we all know, weight and body and food can be difficult. But why is it that friends and social experiences, around food or not, are entwined in our process of change? Here are my two cents.
When we are in the Peaceful Weight Loss process two things happen. We are changing from the inside out and with this change, our externals (or everything that has always been) are no longer in complete alignment with our internal landscape. One thing I hear a lot in this work is how difficult it is to have the weight piece not match the internal shifting because explaining that you’re doing all this “weight loss” work when you’re not exactly losing weight makes zero sense to most. They, and we(!), want to see results to know change is happening. An intangible paradigm shift is NOT weight loss. At least not right away.
Within this same line of thinking, being able to articulate every minutia of change is impossible. So therein lies the rub. How do we stay intimate or connected to others, or more importantly, in our current life as we know it, when our process is so personal and subtle? Furthermore, we have relationships that may or may not be about/around/connected to food specifically, but often when we’ve made shifts with our relationship to food, they are not in complete alignment with how we interact socially: eating, drinking, types of food, food environments, who and how we spend our time with, etc.
This can be confusing for everyone involved. For example, when we have a drug buddy and stop using, where is our common ground now that drugs are out of the picture? More so, when we have a baby, we connect with others who are also going through the tender experience of newborn-dom, however, when our children become their own people, and we become more seasoned parents, we have all grown and changed, and may not have anything in common anymore and perhaps, upon reflection, never really did.
So we plug away to reach our weight-food-body goals with the acceptance that all things shift and change, not just the number on the scale. And if we continually do behaviors that we we don’t want to do because that is what is comfortable or socially acceptable, that’s what we’ll do until we no longer need to suffer in this way. So we can either change our behaviors, or shift our environment until the external matches the internal. As Thich Nat Hanh says, “Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.”
May we all feel completely integrated in all aspects of the self.
Every year, right after New Year’s, I am caught up in a flurry of activity. People are interested in working on their New Year’s resolution—which is to lose weight and be healthier this year.
Of course, it is best if we are always as healthy as possible. But New Year’s does seem to be a good time to start something. We’ve seen our friends and family over the holidays, so this month we have fewer social obligations. At the office, sweets are not in front of us at every turn. The frantic holiday energy on the street has calmed down, allowing us to focus inward.
So how to start? A cleanse? A radical change in diet? Get up at 4 am for a three-hour workout? These measures are probably a bit extreme, and often lead to a short burst of adherence, followed by a return to old behaviors.
I suggest we all (new to this practice or not) focus on the joy in our practice.
If you are new to yoga, you are in for a treat—find a brief time (20 minutes or so) daily to do a stress-relieving practice. If done in a light, easy, not-too-serious way, you will experience great joy.
If you already practice, re-evaluate what you like about it. Go to classes or do sequences that leave you feeling energized and happy. Remember your beginner’s mind, and swim in the positive and peaceful feelings that your practice brings.
Extend this joyful practice to eating. Relish and enjoy the daily foods in your life. Take a small amount of time to contemplate how food enhances your life. Notice the complex and interesting flavors of your favorite foods. Allow the experience of eating to be fun. I was reminded of this while eating clementines recently. What sweet could be better?
If our resolutions include these joyful practices, the more challenging aspects of our lives will be balanced—and where there is balance, there is peace.
May we all be free and happy this year,