2016: May you live your life with ease

By Deb Baer Becker
Contributor
Woman Newspapers

Can we start this New Year with a little more love?

I mean, don’t we start most of our New Years with an annual self-flogging in the interest of better health? A weight loss goal? Diet and exercise resolutions, which push our bodies to the point of deprivation and overexertion until, defeated, we give up?

If we start with more self-love we could make more conscious choices for our minds and bodies, and maybe our daily life wouldn’t be such a grind.

I love when, during a Yoga class, my teacher, Julie, says, “Look at all of these beautiful, healthy, strong bodies in this room. We must send our bodies love and kindness, and be grateful for all of the things it allows us to experience.”

She usually says these words when we face the mirror in our warrior pose, which makes my hips look like I could birth a hippo. But Julie’s gentle reminder helps me soften my critical mind, and look at myself from a place of gratitude.

I strive for fitness. I love a strong body. I cherish my good health.

But this time I’m starting my new year with meditation. Mindfulness. I’m learning a new practice of being kind to myself, and cultivating more awareness in the precious moments of my life.

And, yes, I know that I’ve picked the worst possible time to talk about groovy stuff like love and meditation and kindness. These uncertain times are shot up with fear for our personal safety, and daily concern for everyone we love.

Fear. Violence. Hate.

How can a meditation’s gentle words, wishes for safety, happiness, and health, stand against the brutality of the world?

Comfort.

Last month I met with a wellness coach at a workshop on emotional resilience. Coach Mary Beth teaches meditation as a way to cultivate more good feelings, improve focus, and release tension and stress. She recommends a daily meditation practice, a key to a more balanced life.

I didn’t know anything about meditation. I’d only sampled it at the end of Julie’s Yoga class, when we lie on our mats, relax our muscles, paying more attention to our breathing, and less attention to our personal to-do lists and monkey brain thoughts.

Breath is the very stuff of life.

I settle into my five-minute meditation by making each breath sacred, imagining that each inhale is a gift from Momma God (or it could be Big Daddy God, or the universe, or the earth, whatever feels sacred for you).

This meditation is for you: May you be safe and protected. May you be happy. May you be healthy and strong. May you live your life with ease. 

Wishing you a happy 2016. Don't forget to breathe!

And it’s hard.

I lose my focus; thoughts fly off in anxious fits, or ruminate over the unchangeable stones of the past. Or I cry.

But really, we are all vulnerable. We all need comfort. We all need love.

Instead of starting off your new year with harsh self-judgment, maybe you can send your body some love and kindness and gratitude.