The Theme of 2009: Align

img_10611I almost hesitated to write about my chosen word of the year for 2009 because everybody else is doing it. Then I remembered how many great things I have missed out on because I’ve felt the need to be a rebel and refused to follow healthy collective wisdom.

It is also possible that I didn’t want to air my intentions in this town square because I didn’t want anything to hold me to this alternative sort of resolution in case I decided to take a detour off this road to consciousness and bury myself in some unenlightened misery for a spell.

(Am I the only contrary minded creature out there who wants to keep all of her options open – even those options that are all about limitations and hibernation and go against all of my better judgment? I doubt it. Oh, how we cling to those terrible ties that bind us!)

At any rate, inspiration struck today and I finally settled on my word, my guiding concept for 2009:

align

Maybe it came from too much time on the chiropractor’s table yesterday, somehow this word seems to be strong enough to carry me through all of the lessons I want to learn in the next year.

  • Align with my soul’s purpose.
  • Align with truth.
  • Align intention and action.
  • Align body, mind, and spirit.
  • Align the energy that swirls in my chakras.
  • Align with the positive energies of community.
  • Align the dueling parts of myself.

img_1069“Align” feels stronger than “balance” (holding space for all those opposites forces) and more immediate than “integrate” (folding the energies into my being), though both of these ideas are certainly vital parts of this intention.

I trust that I will be able to move through life with greater sensitivity, beauty, and wisdom when I can draw my power into one column of life affirming strength.

The physical body functions at its best when the spine is in alignment. The energy system functions at its best when all channels are lined up and open so that things can flow freely. Yoga teaches us to pull in toward the mid-line to find stability in our limbs. I will align even the most disparate seeming parts of myself as I work on finding the secret of wholeness.

In the same ways that the stars seem to align to bring forth the great events in life, I align self and soul to greet the potential greatness of the new year.

What will your theme for 2009 be? Please send along your ideas and links and plans and schemes along so the collective wisdom can continue to build!

Little Bits of Bliss and Balance

Christine Kane is collecting intentions. She is inviting everyone to contribute their dreams in delicious sort of group effort to manifest their hearts’ desires. I threw my wish for balance into her Great Big Prayer hat. I want to be able to dance more effortlessly between all that I want to be and all I want to do, and yet still live in accordance with the plans that the Universe has set for me.

Essentially, I want to quit fighting with the fact that there are only 24 hours and I am only going to be functional for 16.5 of them. I want to quit worrying about all that I cannot do in a day (90 minutes doing yoga, 30 minutes meditating, 60 minutes writing a blog post, churning out 1,000 words of fiction, practicing as a healer, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, reading inspiring books, being a fully present spouse, talking to God) and just be content with what IS possible.

This morning, fifteen minutes of yoga to really wake up my hamstrings took me to a place of such deep breathing that it felt as powerful as a half hour on a mediation cushion. I was a couple of minutes late to meet my carpool buddy because I stepped out on the back porch to hear the birds and watch the squirrels.  I  was offering my prayers and setting my intention for the day more powerfully than I ever could if I had scheduled time for the Divine. Though I dislike being in  perpetual rush,  I know I was a better commuting partner and a better employee because of those few precious, stolen minutes, so it was a fair exchange.

We miss out on so much when we hold ourselves to all or nothing rules. How simple it is to limit ourselves by refusing to engage in all the activities that nurture and sustain us, just because we decide we cannot give them enough time or focus. I am not about to start advocating leading a half-arsed life, but I am rethinking my perspective on the fact that a little is almost always better than nothing at all.

There may not be time to make love, but there is nearly always time for a lingering kiss. I may not be able to immerse myself fully in the world of my novel, but I can at least add a few lines of dialog. These days I may not be up for a full speed ahead one and a half hour yoga class, but how can I expect to get back there if I will not reintroduce the postures a little bit at a time?

I was blessed tonight to steal away for the 37 minutes that a yoga podcast by Eoin Finn requires. It is a sweet little sequence of standing postures that reminds me that there is so much truth in the union that is yoga. Find this little gem, called “Honey Routine,” as well as several others at http://www.eoinfinnyoga.com/downloads.php or on iTunes. There’s my unsolicited free plug of the day!

So here’s to taking little sips of bliss and balance and walking in abundance instead of running ever onward in that torturous state of “not enough.”

My Expanding Vision of “Believing in Everything”

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevefe/18931518/Last week while I was reading the Bhagavad Gita I listened to Christine Kane‘s album Rain & Mud & Wild & Green even as I went through the part about “one-pointedness” that described how background music keeps one from being fully aware what she is studying. The iPod was necessary to block the rest of the sounds from a busy Sunday afternoon at our house; plus, splitting my attention lead me to realize the way the lyrics of “One Once More” spoke directly to me, especially a past, cherished version of myself.

The song starts:

Saints and Valkyries
Runes and rosaries
I believe in everything I guess

As I sift through various traditions and sacred writings, I feel I am someone who can find something beautiful and worthy in countless corners because I am not worried about finding the One in a single book or building.

An old friend’s comment on my blog today reminded me of the person he first got to know when I was on my year abroad in Galway during the junior year of college. The twenty year old that I was railed against governments and religions over endless pints of imported lager, shocking as many people as possible with her feminism and her convenient radicalism and her ecstatic pagan ways. Now, my political views are more informed and less strident, but mean more to me; my feminism is a softer, lived-in ethic rather than a jubilant in-your-face volley of girl power. At this point, my radicalism is stewing more quietly, but with a great deal more potential as I actually feel poised to be the change I wish to see in world, opposed to just arguing in the pubs about what ought to be done. These days I’ll drink a bit of Guinness and become still as I tell you that I think I’ve finally discovered what I am meant to do in this world, that this spiritual quest may just be it.

A few years ago, the symbols in Christine’s song would have been what captured my imagination, esoteric collector of sacred talismans that I was. I was an indiscriminate and undisciplined believer, just looking for a few traces of magic in a world that seemed all too cruel and mundane.

As I feel what it might be to mature into my relationship with the world and the sacred, and I look beyond the spiritual souvenirs to the truth behind the rituals, I can reevaluate the habit of believing in “everything.” Now, I can begin to understand what it is to look at all paths to the Divine with an open heart, even the one with the weight of two thousand tumultuous years of Western World defining history behind it. The major religions today are tied to terrorism and sexism and homophobia and countless other prejudices. Due to these social concerns, I do not have to subscribe to any of them completely, perhaps, but I cannot assume that my modern political consciousness makes me wiser than millennia of saints and mystics and prophets. The beauty of their thoughts may not nullify the contemporary manifestations of their respective faiths, but it makes their religions worthy of much more than a second glance.