Six practices to transform your year.
by Jeannette Maw
Ah, a clean slate once again! A new year ahead with no "coulda woulda shouldas" on record to haunt us. What a perfect time to put the past behind us (good, bad or ugly – it's done) and embrace our full potential as creative directors of our lives.
To help create a year you'll love, consider the following tips and techniques to transform your 2008. Since CATALYST readers lead the pack, it's likely you already practice one or more of these tips. If not, it's time to start. Choose one you haven't mastered yet, and enjoy!
Letting oxygen in to fill the lungs is not only good for physical health, but for your emotional and spiritual health as well. We feel better and think better when our body cells are fully oxygenated. Some say it's because oxygen strengthens our connection to source (however you think of that source). I don't know if that's true; I just know everything feels better after a deep breath.
Next time you don't know what to do or feel overwhelmed with challenging emotions, take a moment to focus on your breath and let the peace (and solutions) in, while releasing the stress. Oxygen is both invigorating and cleansing.
Although breathing might not seem like a law of attraction technique, it is a huge key to relaxing and allowing. Don't underestimate the power of your breath! Best of all, it's free, easy, and you can do it anywhere. Try three in a row right now to feel the positive effects.
Since our feelings dictate what we attract, it's important to be aware of our feelings in order to manage them and thus our "coming attractions." Many of us have learned to ignore or deny our feelings for various reasons. Whether it's how we were brought up or just a habitual response to overwhelming negative emotions, disconnection from our feelings is disconnection from our creative power.
Ancient spiritual traditions, as well as leading-edge science, tell us our feelings dictate what manifests in our lives. Getting clear on what we're feeling and learning to choose specific feelings at will allows us to be proactive manifestors.
Renowned life coach Tom Stone teaches clients to learn how to feel by noticing where in the body the feeling sensations reside. Once you identify the physical area the emotions seem to exist, imagine going to the core of the essence of that energy-the very white hot center of it-and just being present to it. Sit with it and let yourself feel what's there.
Contrary to what we experienced when young (with underdeveloped spindle cells that easily led to emotional overwhelm), with a fully formed adult neural network it's safe to feel. Feel what's there until there isn't anything left. This simple but profound practice frees us from negative behaviors many engage in (overeating, overworking, and other addictive behaviors) to keep from feeling.
3. Be still.
Embrace the habit of slowing down. Becoming present to the current moment creates a space for magic to happen. When our lives are crammed full of "reality" and our knee-jerk reactions to it, we have neither the discipline nor the capability of directing our attention where it best serves us. How many of us spend the majority of our waking hours worrying about the future or being regretful or resentful about the past? Learning to appreciate the present moment helps us love our life.
Cultivating a practice of mindfulness also allows you to connect with your inner knowing and guidance. This will lead you to your path of authentic fulfillment.
This doesn't mean you have to give up TV and spend every night on a meditation cushion. You can practice this the way Elizabeth Gilbert's (author of "Eat, Pray, Love") Indonesian mentor guided her: practice sitting and smiling for a few minutes each day. You'll notice a difference when you do.
There are a variety of ways to explore internal peace and quiet. However you approach the practice, the journey is well rewarded.
Want to really blow the socks off your new year? Cultivate a focus on what's working in your life and what's truly important to you. Get used to looking at what's going your way, things to appreciate, and reasons to be thankful. Since we get what we think about, as we direct our attention to what we want and enjoy (instead of worrying about what we don't want or what went wrong before), we attract our manifested desires.
Although it takes a little practice, the energy invested in this pursuit pays off handsomely. In the very least, as Meister Eckhart said, "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was 'thank you,' that would suffice."
5. Let go.
There comes a time we're called to release old patterns, friendships, lifestyles, thoughts. When that time comes, honor it. New things can't enter while we've got a death grip on the old. Learn to trust your intuition and doubt your fear, and let go of what no longer serves you.
Also, one of the most powerful ways to transform your year is to release your attachment to outcome. What we really want isn't so much a particular outcome anyway. Rather, what we really want is how we think that outcome will make us feel. You can, in fact, choose that feeling now, before anything else happens.
The beauty of loosening your grip on what you think needs to happen before you're happy is that you not only feel a greater sense of peace now, you also often get more satisfying results. Let go of needing certain things to happen or change before you feel better. As you release the attachment, you open to magic and miracles. (Note the distinction here: You're not letting go of the desire, just your need for it to happen.)
6. Have fun.
We Americans are particularly driven by ambition and the push to succeed, often at the expense of enjoying the journey. Let's not forget the bigger picture.
Suffering doesn't serve anyone, although it is a habit some easily engage in. Sometimes we think it's wrong to enjoy life when so many others aren't, or when there is so much work to be done to correct our "faltering" world. The truth is that suffering doesn't serve anyone – not you, not others, and certainly not the cause we feel so passionate about. We're offering our best service when we feel good.
Know that when you "push against" something, you strengthen it. That in itself is reason enough to relinquish suffering. There's nothing to prove and no hoops to jump through in order to be worthy of reward. So relax and relish!
Finally, you know more than you think you do. Remember to trust yourself and lighten up to savor the journey. We make much more of all this than is helpful. Enjoy your new year as if it were impossible to screw up, because indeed, it is. Happy 2008 to you!
Jeannette Maw is a Law of Attraction coach and founder of Good Vibe Coaching in Salt Lake City. www.goodvibecoach.com.