Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s resolutions’

Let’s face it, sometimes people express your thoughts in such a perfect way that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.  We’re on the cusp of the new year and I know that words like “healthy”, “diet”, and “weight loss” are bouncing around in people’s minds.  As a Yoga therapist, I see it every year and it breaks my heart every…..year.  We approach our bodies as if they were demons to be fought off when, really, they are the wonder-filled envelopes that hold our souls.  We don’t often approach them that way, though, do we?

I noticed this Facebook post on a friend’s wall.  I offer it to you because it is sheer perfection.

May you have the most passionate and loving relationship with your soul-envelope ever! May the new year be loaded with blessings and lessons that help you awaken to your highest Self.  May you be well.  May you be at peace.

Peace, friends!


From Anne Lamott:

We need to have the little talk we have every year at this time:

I know you are planning to start a diet on Sunday, January 1st, I used to start diets, too. I hated to mention this to my then-therapist. She would say cheerfully, ” Oh, that’s great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?”

I got rid of her sorry ass. No one talks to ME that way.

Well, okay, maybe it was ten years later, after she had helped lead me back home, to myself, to radical self-care, to friendship with my own heart, to a glade that had always existed deep inside me, to mostly healthy eating, but that I’d avoided all those years by achieving, dieting, binging, people-pleasing, and so on

Now when I decide to go on a diet, I say it to myself: “Great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?” Here is what’s true: diets make you fat. 95% of the time. We gain it back, plus 5 lbs.

I may have mentioned several hundred times that I have had the tiniest, tiniest struggle with food and body image for the last–well, life time. Hardly worth mentioning. It is a long story, having to do with childhood injuries to my sense of self, terrible anxiety, and the inability of my parents to nurture my soul: so starving and chastising myself cannot possibly heal this. I hate to say it, but only profound self-love will work, union with that scared breath-holding self, and not a diet that forbids apples, or avocado. Horribly, but as usual, only kindness and grace–spiritual WD-40–can save us.

Can you put the scale away for a week? Okay, then how about 4 days? I have been addicted to the scale, too, which is like needing Dick Cheney to weigh in every morning on my value as a human being. Can you put away your tight pants, that do ‘t actually hurt you? Wear forgiving pants! The world is too hard as it is, without letting your pants have an opinion on how you are doing. I struggle with enough esteem issues without letting my jeans get in on the act, with random thoughts about my butt.

By the same token, it feels great to be healthy. Some of you need to be under a doctor’s care. None of you need to join Jenny Craig. It won’t work. You will lose tons of weight quickly, and gain it all back, plus five. Some of you need to get outside and walk for half an hour a day. I do love walking, so that is not a problem for me, but I have a serious problem with sugar: if I start eating it, I sometimes can’t stop. I don’t have an off switch, any more than I do with alcohol.

Given a choice, I will eat Raisinets until the cows come home–and then those cows will be tense, and bitter, because I will have gotten lipstick on the straps of their feed bags.

But you crave what you eat, so if I go for 3 or 4 days with very little sugar, the craving is gone. That is not dieting. If you are allergic to peanuts, don’t eat peanuts. Have an apple! Have some avocado.

It’s really okay, though, to have (or pray for) an awakening around your body. It’s okay to stop hitting the snooze button, and to pay attention to what makes you feel great about yourself, one meal at a time. Unfortunately, it’s yet another inside job. If you are not okay with yourself at 185, you will not be okay at 150, or even 135. The self-respect and peace of mind you long for is not out there. It’s within. I hate that. I resent that more than I can say. But it’s true.
Maybe some of us can try to eat a bit less, and walk a bit more, and make sure to wear pants that do not hurt our thighs or our feelings. Drinking more water is the solution to all problems. Doing a three minute meditation every day will change your life. Naps are nice.

I’ll leave you with this: I’ve helped some of the sturdier women at my church get healthy, by suggesting they prepare each meal as if they had asked our beloved pastor to lunch or dinner. They wouldn’t say, “Here Pastor–let’s eat standing up in the kitchen. This tube of barbecue Pringles is all for you. i have my own.” And then stand there gobbling from their own tubular container. No, they’d get out pretty dishes, and arrange wonderful foods on the plates, and set one plate before Veronica at the table, a plate filled with love, pride and connection. That’s what we have longed for, our whole lives, and get to create, now, or on the 1st. Wow!

Join me in not staring a diet January 1st. And God bless you all real good, as my pastor always says.

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I’ve never really understood the whole New Year’s resolution thing.  Maybe it’s not the setting of resolve that baffles me, but the way in which we go about setting intentions for ourselves that has me confused.  As the year comes to a close I witness more and more people stepping onto their soap boxes and proclaiming a long list of things that they WILL accomplish in a year, so help them God.


– lose 50 pounds by following the (fictitious) Iceberg Lettuce Diet

– go to the gym 5 times a week (when I haven’t worked out at all in 25 years.  Do yourself a favour and book some space in the ER for day 3, k?)

– practice yoga every day and become enlightened (I’ve never done yoga a day in my life.)

– quit smoking

– quit my job and follow my dream of becoming a pipe cleaner statue artist

-etc., etc.


Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we heap such pressure on an already overly pressurized life?  Why do we proclaim enormous lists of unrealistic things to the whole world?  Why do we set ourselves up for failure?  The University of Scranton estimates that 8 percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions (approximately 45% of the population) succeed (Source:  http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/).  8 percent, folks!  That’s dismal.

Don’t get me wrong (I say that a lot, don’t I?  🙂 ), I’m all for dreaming and goal-setting.  My dear god, how dreary would life be if we just sat there, striving for nothing?  Be whimsical.  Imagine.  Dream.  Create.  Push your limits.  And be realistic about where your life is at.

Humans, generally, do not like change.  Like our pet cats who all seem to know when 5 a.m. rolls around and demand to be fed (and don’t you dare move their favourite pillows!), we like routine.  I think it gives us a sense of safety in an unpredictable world.  Change, even when it’s positive, creates stress; there’s an upheaval in our nervous systems and we need time to settle down and find ground again.  Trying 15 life changes at once, just because the calendar reads “Janary 1”, is chaos!  It’s absurd.

How about 1?  Pick one.  One thing that means so much to you that you’d like to make it a priority in your life.  Put that carrot ahead of you and see what happens as you begin to grow towards it.  And leave the door open to the possibility that, as you move towards your desire, your desire will change or it won’t seem so desirable any more.  By all means, quit smoking if it’s that important to you, and understand that you may discover you’re not quite ready to go there.  Love yourself enough to allow that to happen.

Maybe we can all let go of our inner Drill Sergeants that insist on long lists of “must dos” set at the beginning of the year and simply open up, quietly and gently, to the life that unfolds before us.  It’s the difference between blasting your way through rocky mountains using dynamite, and moving slowly through a forest, pushing undergrowth aside using your hands.

May your life open up to you like a flower blooming in the sun.  May you take the time to slow down enough to watch this unfolding and unfurling of the complexities of your beautiful life.  May you continue to grow (gently), to plant seeds (consistently), and to change course when that’s what your soul really needs.

Happy resolution-free New Year, dear readers!



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