What a Wonderful Word

I know I'm a little late to the game, but I've recently come up with a word, er, more like concept that I'd like to incorporate into 2014. Actually, it snuck up on me way back in good ol' 2013, about a month ago in a yoga class. The theme of the class was brahmacharya, which is most classically defined as sexual celibacy or restraint in order to save those energies to unite with the Divine. This teacher, however, echoed the same (more liberal) interpretation that I had learned in my teacher training: it is also about living a life of moderation and restraint in all of the senses.* For me, it is the idea of making good choices for yourself in your diet, your activities, and all of your habits, in moderation. I am a terrible all-or-nothing-er in that I don't like to be told that I can NEVER have certain things. However, I think that I've gotten a little lazy about saying no to those same things: Desert everyday, that second (or third!) glass of wine, the impulse buy on the sale rack, or Starbucks whenever the mood strikes. I realized that when you are always saying YES to all of those little "extras" in life, it starts to take the specialness away from them. They're no longer treats anymore, they're the norm. I want to get back to making the things I love "special," because I think it's really nice to have them to look forward to, or as a reward for a job well done. I think I've just fallen into a pattern of, "well, I'm bored, so...I deserve to stop at Starbucks!" or, "It's raining, so...I should sleep in...AGAIN," which of course, are not very good reasons at all. It's about saying no, so that I can say yes at a later time when I know I will truly appreciate and savor whatever it is I've been waiting for.

For many years, the theater I worked for had (and still has) an annual production of A Christmas Carol. One of my very favorite lines from that show is said by Mrs. Cratchit as they sit down to what appears to be a very modest Christmas dinner. Mr. Cratchit remarks that it will be enough, and Mrs. Cratchit repsonds, "Enough. What a wonderful word: Enough." Without fail, every time I hear that line, I tear up. I don't drive a fancy car or have designer clothes in my closet, but I live in a world of such abundance that it is easy to forget what "enough" really means. That's why I making it my "word" for 2014, one to remind me of what I already have and the gratitude for the riches already in my life. And when I forget, and feel myself tempted to reach for another cookie, I hope it serves to remind me of brahmacharya and of making things special again.

Did you choose a word or set an intention for 2014?

* Footnote: Now, if you want to get all technical, this is a very loose interpretation of the concept of brahmacharya. In fact, when I saw down to start typing this post, I came across a bit of (deserved) controversy that Lululemon got itself into recently when they used it as part of a recent marketing campaign. There is a lot of back info I could go into here about the Yoga Sutras, the yamas, etc., but I actually don't think it really matters too much, except to acknowledge that this interpretation is an extraction of an abstraction of an idea and concept that was applied to a world very different from the one we inhabit today. What I love about yoga is that there are a jillion ways to make it work for you and your life, and I in particular, adhere to a belief system that allows for softness and imperfection in my practice both on and off the mat. Is also allows for room in our understanding of teachings that are over 5,000 years old, and finding the ways that they make sense in our modern lives.


1 comment:

  1. Lovely photo, lovely intention. Mine this year is "honesty". I want to be honest with myself, honest about my expectations and honest with others. I love this exercise. Every year that I have chosen a word to guide me, I find that I am much more focused on creating the world I want for myself. Good luck with "enough".

    P.S. I love the Christmas Carol.