Babylon and Beyond: Resolve to Evolve
BY DEBBY SIEGEL, MSA, RYT
PHOTOS BY MICHELLE THOMAS
Ah, Early January… a time where many reflect on the past year and resolve to improve their lives in some way in the coming calendar year. The tradition of a New Year’s Resolution can be traced back about 4000 years to Babylon. In their March ceremonies held during the first new moon after the Spring Equinox, Babylonians made promises in order to get on the right side of all of their gods, feeling this would help them start the new year off on the right foot.
Well we still believe in the right foot thing, but the multitude of gods… not so much. However, looking back on our prior year with gratitude and releasing those things that no longer serve us then allows us to create space to begin a new year with intention and cultivate what we would like to bring into our lives. Many yogis practice this flushing each new moon cycle. You may even have this type of renewal of your spirit integrated into your daily meditation practice. Whichever timeframe, we are here to be your cheerleaders. You are the squad leader.
Wonder what others tend to try out each January? The most popular resolutions according to Google’s 2013 Resolution Map:
- Lose Weight
- Get Organized
- Save More Money
- Enjoy Life
- Get—and Stay—Healthy
- Learn Something New
- Quit Smoking
- Help Others Pursue Their Goals
- Find Love
- Spend More Quality Time With Family Members
Feel like I’ve made most of these before. Certainly I meant to. Research also shows that about 8% of us actually follow through on these annual vows for a year. I’ve actually made some life altering resolutions over the years that I did commit to. I gave up candy for a whole year in 2014. 2015 started my meat-free lifestyle I continue today. (Candy survived this continued abstinence.) This year, I’ve chosen to split my annual resolution into one for my body and one for my mind. (I know, so evolved of me eh?) We’ll see how I do.
My 2018 “no longer serves me” list topper is to attempt to live within the 25 grams of added sugar recommendation for my daily diet. I will be trying new recipes to help with this and am happy to share my successes as well as my failures with you. I also welcome your tips and input.
My mental health intention this year is to remember that everyone is doing his or her best, and not to be dissuaded by others’ choices for their paths. I am a sensitive person who has a tendency to take things personally. I have improved over the years. Looking back to the graphic design years of my early 20s, past me wasted much time brooding over criticism of my work. But it’s a continuous process. Witnessing the same sensitive tendencies in my daughter and helping guide her has provided me many growth opportunities in this arena.
Reflecting and realizing that every person is living out his or her own path and taking steps to serve that purpose, I find more focus and less self-defeating head talk. The struggle is real. Really real. But my daily mantra is to recognize that my future with all its infinite potential arrives as a result of my perseverance, compassion and love of family and community. My 2018 is bright. Yours is too. Persevere.
If you’re looking for a way release unhealthy patterns and evolve this year, perhaps try journaling. You don’t need to be a writer. One sentence per day is enough. Maybe begin a gratitude jar, find Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal, or check out Dailygreatness’ Well-being and Lifestyle Journals. When you write down your mantra, it involves more than just stating the words in your mind. Now your eyes take in your intention. Your body responds to your brain by gripping the writing tool and pouring out your thoughts. You see it and read it. This process has been elemental in my evolution. Revisiting my entries reinforces them more. Reading your gratitude notes at the end of the year from a gratitude jar will likely have a similar effect – that of reinforcing positive brain messaging. Some people choose social media to write their affirmations. If you do, please friend and tag me. I’m happy to read them and cheer for you.
If your resolution involves improving your physical health, tracking your improvement will help here too. Maybe your journaling includes one measurable way in which you succeeded. For example, I just ate 9 grams of added sugar in an instant oatmeal at a hotel this morning and another 9 grams in 10 Nutter Butter bites. I actually was about to chomp my way through the whole bag of these vegan cookies when my boyfriend reminded me of my one day old resolution! (I did actually forget. Darn boyfriend.) A quick check of the label released me from failure and hiding the remaining cookies in the console released them from today’s demise. Anywho, this lead to my wondering if there is an app for that. There is. Of course there is. It’s 2018. If you are interested in tracking the amount of sugar you or your family are consuming and uncovering the ‘hidden’ sugar in packaged food and beverage products, it’s That Sugar App. Thanks Apple. Literally. I see more apples in my year ahead.
The valuable message of creating a New Year’s Resolution is that of improving. It starts with reflecting on this past year. Finding those patterns that you know are not really helping you. Maybe they’ve been with you your entire life, but they’ve only caused brokenness and stumbling. Resolve to evolve this year. Make your growth part of your lifestyle and carry with you an attitude of gratitude into 2018. You will grow. You will look back next year. Happy 2018.
If you are interested in a yoga experience that will contribute to your growth this January by lighting up your soul with the soothing vibrations of singing bowls, flute, chimes and the melodic singing of Willow Beseda, while meditating and flowing with me, please consider joining us January 4 at St. Louis Wellness Center or January 21 at Blue Sky Yoga for 108 Minutes of Bliss. We will begin with sacred cacao, medicinal Costa Rican cacao that Willow heads up the U.S. distribution for, not something purchased here in a store.
Ananda Hum and Auld Lang Syne my friend.
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