When I was walking in the woods, I witnessed pinecones sprouting all across the trails. I accidentally kicked one and wondered if I had changed the fate of that prospective tree. I would walk so delicately on the trails trying not disturb the possibility of a tree beginning to grow. This image filled my mind as I contemplated the trees and life path of the pine cones. I saw that the pine cones were just potential waiting to be, but in order to grow they had to commit to a spot and then wait. Some would never be anything more than a pine cone, but others would continue to uphold the legacy of becoming magnificent trees.
I started thinking about myself as a little pine cone, surely sprouting, but not quite secure in my landing ground. Always inspired by new ideas, travel plans, etc, I realized at this rate, I would be a while until my roots had a chance to grow.
As we find ourselves in the start of a new year it seemed like a relevant time to bring up the topic of commitment. Not to mention, we find ourselves in the season of Capricorn which embodies this type of devotion to something; think of the mountain goat who perseveres the steepest mountains and continues to climb. For me personally, committed is not an adjective I would use to describe myself. Creative, daring, adventurous, sure but there seemed to be a serious lack of commitment towards all areas of my life. It seemed much more “hip” to be go with the flow, be ready to leave at the drop of a hat, and not become too attached to anything in particular.
While I was working on a writing project recently I had to write about my biggest dream for life with no restriction. I must have drafted at least three full essays and trashed each one. I struggled to be authentic in my dreams, to voice the passions that inspire me, but more than anything I was scared to write down what I actually wanted because it meant there was a serious chance of failure. It felt like writing it down meant I had to commit to this. For me that was scary, wouldn’t you agree?
Now here is my beef with New Year’s Resolutions; so much of the time they are created because we don’t feel whole, or they illuminate the things we hate about ourselves or things we believe we lack in our life. Which then can perpetuate the cycle of self loathing, speaking from personal experience. And on the same note, yes, there are usually things we can do to make our lives a bit lighter, like eating healthy, exercising, etc. I think the key difference is the intention.
I want to lose weight because I want my body to be smoking hot and booty bigger than Nikki Manaj. OR I want to change my diet so that I feel balanced in my body, sleep better, and feel better in my skin. Pretty different intentions there eh?
So, back to the blank slate of 2018. What do you want to commit yourself to? Maybe you are already on the track to your Dharma, if not taking some time to figure out what that is would be extremely valuable. I have found it is much easy to recover from hardships when I remember my dharma or purpose. I have a reason to continue. Just like understanding your dog's breed can help you understand their nature. A golden retriever loves to retrieve and fetch, knowing this you can help facilitate this activity for your dog, helping your furry friend to feel fulfilled.. We are the same in that respect, except unfortunately there is no human breed guide we can read to learn what fulfills us.
So start here:
What inspires you? Makes you feel lighter and increases your happiness?
Identify your Dharma
Make a list of activities that help cultivate those qualities in your life.
Make a list of activities that keep you from this goal
Once you have spent some time contemplating this, the next step is to commit. To make a precious vow to yourself. I read some advice from a friend / teacher of mine, urging us to commit to one thing. Be precise about it, and then for the next thirty days commit entirely. After 30 days you can evaluate if this is something you want to continue. But for 30 days, no excuses, just show up. To read more on this New Years challenge you can find his instructions here.
I have started to host monthly lunar classes which is interesting because the moon works in a similar 30 day cycle. To plant an intention, check back with it, and then move forward. It is the natural rhythm of nature. A beautiful harmony to be in tune with. So with that I will leave you to create and commit.