Change your practices, change your life.
As we approach 2019 now is the perfect time to adjust our daily practices. The New Year offers an opportunity to reinvent ourselves. It is possible to become better versions of ourselves by changing our daily habits.
I’ve spent the last two decades reliably practicing Zen meditation and Ashtanga yoga. I’m grateful for the the wisdom these traditions offer, however, over the last year I have slowly begun to add new practices, new tools, new traditions to my daily routine. I have really let go of my old reflexive practices. The difference has fundamentally changed my body, my mind, who I am becoming.
There’s a way in which our old practices can reinforce our old patterns. When we exercise the same muscles in our body over and over again we’re missing an opportunity to stretch and strengthen new muscles. Meditating in the same manner over years can allow us to deepen our awareness, but it can also put our sense of self into a rut. We limit the possibility of a greater expression of ourselves. New practices give us hope for a new way to be in the world.
I have great respect and love for the lineage holders who dedicate their lives to any one, singular discipline. It is extremely noble to surrender to a tradition and carry-on the purity of its teachings to the next generation. And... the older I get the more I realize how important it is is to develop ourselves in new ways each year. There is a way that surrendering to a tradition can cause us to put up blinders to a more balanced, accelerated approach to growth.
Over the last year I’ve found new ways to strengthen my body and my mind, new ways to ground myself, new ways to bring my work into the world. I’ve let go of my old faithful practices for new commitments. I feel fundamentally different. My body is stronger and my mind works differently than it did this time last year.
It has been a difficult year for me. Lots of painful changes. Finding new practices has allowed me to not only mostly stay present during a year of radical transformation, it has allowed me to grow into an updated version of myself. That has been a pretty miraculous experience.
I do these four things everyday:
At least 30 minutes of Kundalini yoga each day. Practicing Kundalini yoga nearly every day has strengthened my nervous system pretty dramatically. I am able to sit through discomfort and feel love in my heart much differently than other times in my life. My body is as strong as it has been in many years.
I spend time every day outside. At least 30 minutes. A modest commitment that ensures I get fresh air and energizing prana, rain or shine. I spend as many days as possible with my feet in the sand looking out at the vastness of the ocean, dissolving into something much greater than my myopic ego. This puts me into a liminal connection with the divine.
I’ve shifted my journaling from an erratic, spontaneous way to document important moments into a daily discipline of capturing my hopes and fears on the page, reflecting on my actions of the day, and mapping out my days ahead. This has given me a new perspective on bringing my fears out of the shadows and getting more conscious and clear on how I design my life.
I spend a moment each day looking deeply into the eyes of my children, wrapping my arms around them physically, or if I’m not next to them, in my mind’s eye energetically putting warm wings or a blanket around them, so they feel an eternal loving presence. This makes me feel more connected to them and something much greater than my fears of the day.
What stale habitual practices do you want to blow up? What new ones have you always wanted to try? What is one new thing you can do differently today?