Here it is, that time of year where we look at what is working well in our lives and we also look at the things that might not be going so well. Millions of people will toast to a brand new year and a brand new “them” at midnight Dec 31. Will you? What are you resolving for 2012?
For years and years I made (and failed at) new years resolutions, but everyone doesn’t fail! I am however in the majority though, statistically. This morning I read that out of those who make new years resolutions 22% of folks fall off the wagon after a week, and after 3 months 50% just give up altogether on them. Depending on where you look the statistics are a little different but still unfavourable. If you have found yourself disappointed and discouraged in the past with resolutions, or just plain not had any success with them, why not set a sankalpa instead? Sankalpa is a Sanskrit word from the yoga tradition meaning will, purpose or determination. The word san means “highest truth” and kalpa means “vow.”
A sankalpa is an internal vow you make to yourself. Its like planting a seed within. Its private. Its similar to a resolution only instead of focusing on what you don’t want (want to give up etc), you focus on what you’d like to bring into your life and manifest. Instead of saying “I won’t” you say “I will” and you see and feel your vision it in all it’s glory. It’s a resolve that resonates deep within your core. It’s a good intention that brings you into alignment with your highest self and your greatest good. It may sound a little hokey but its really quite powerful.
There are lots of ways to practice sankalpa and I highly recommend it. And if you’re not clear on your sankalpa? Just be open to receiving it and it will come. Maybe it’s a new energy you‘d like to cultivate? Or something you have already been working on for a while? Or it may be something entirely new you’d like to manifest. You can begin each day with your sankalpa. You can reflect on it often, meditate on it, or bring it to your awareness anytime your mind is quiet and receptive. Some good times to focus on it would be: at the beginning of a yoga practice, during shavasana (deep “on purpose” relaxation), meditation, relaxing in the tub, walking in nature, or any period of mindfulness (cuddling your child, eating, walking, chores etc.). You can journal or recite a mantra, or you can simply get quiet and breathe while you focus on what you are inviting into your life. It’s important to not get your ego involved or invested. Try and remember that you aren’t trying to fix anything about yourself.
We are always growing, changing, and evolving, and with a sankalpa we’re not attached to a specific outcome so that means never beating yourself up or getting upset or disappointed, so there isn’t ever a reason to throw in the towel. And real change doesn’t happen over night anyways. We stay very much in the present moment as the seeds grow and things evolve. And lastly, remember the practice of ahimsa (another sanskrit word) which means non harming-non violence. Its really important to practice your self compassion. We aren’t pressuring ourselves. We are already perfect exactly the way we are. We really are. We are just living with intention in the constantly changing flow that is life. Right here and right now. Good luck to you and all the best in 2012!