Thursday, December 31, 2009

And so it ends...

2009, the year that changed everything, is over. 12 months ago I set out to manifest some big dreams. Looking back at 2009, all I can say is, "Holy cow, I did it. No wonder I'm so tired."

On December 31, 2008, I opened my crisp, new 2009 day planner and wrote on August 1st "open True North Yoga". At that time my husband and I were both employed in New Jersey, the house was not in any condition to sell and we had just been talking vaguely about moving to the Adirondacks. As 2008 was nearing its end, however, I had a feeling that 2009 was the year we needed to go. I was restless, itching to try something new, be somewhere else, get out from behind a desk in a windowless office. I loved teaching yoga and I loved Schroon Lake, so I set a goal and wrote it down - on the page for August 1st.

14 days later my husband got laid off. The universe doesn't give us more obvious signs than that. "The door is open," it said. "Step through it." And the year began.

I wrote a few more things in my day planner last New Year's Eve. On February 2nd's page I wrote "swim - 12 minutes". On the next line I wrote "bike - 24 minutes". I turned a couple of pages and wrote "run - 12 minutes". Then I wrote something on every page or two until September 26th, recording my first triathlon training plan.

As 2009 went on, I added more things to my day planner - things like "call realtor", "Rob's job interview", "open house" and "last day at work". There were also things like "register kids for school", "PTSO meeting" and "volunteer at marathon". The end of the year included entries such as "call mortgage broker", "house closing", "winterize cabin" and "unpack kitchen boxes".

Of course, there was more to 2009 than the to-do lists and appointment schedules. There was sadness at saying good-bye to friends, and fear and uncertainty about starting over someplace new. There was loss - laying to rest a grandmother, an uncle and a special pet. There was satisfaction in crossing finish lines. And there were the joys of a kindergarten graduation, a sweet sixteen, and the first Christmas morning in a new house.

Now I sit in the kitchen of our house in the mountains with my fresh, new day planner for 2010 open in front of me. My triathlon training plan is already written on the pages, tweaked for the additions of a third triathlon and a half-marathon to my race schedule. I have no life-altering goals for 2010, and, other than training, no grand plan for the year. I'm taking 2010 month-by-month. January's goals are simple - finish unpacking, complete the chair yoga teacher training program I started in September, knit for charity, and write in my journal.

That last goal is the one to watch out for. It was while writing in my journal that my dreams took shape. It was in my journal that 2009's plan developed. It was in putting pen to paper, gluing cut-outs into collages and sketching pictures that vague desires were molded into clear visions of the future and everything became doable.

I don't know what ideas will come as I write in the new year, but I should probably rest up for 2011.

Wishing you peace and joy in 2010. May all your dreams manifest.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Candy Cane Affirmations

Peppermint candy cane on my scannerImage via Wikipedia

I am a candy cane junkie. I bought this year's first box two weeks before Thanksgiving and hid them away until Black Friday, the official start of candy cane season. Since then I've had at least one a day. I can't help myself. The red-and-white pepperminty goodness keeps me in the Christmas spirit, even when the holiday preparations get stressful - like having my entire family planning to spend Christmas Day in the house I haven't moved into yet thanks to delays in finalizing our mortgage. Thank goodness for those sugary hooks.

The holidays can be stressful for many of us. We are bombarded by images of glittery holiday tables, expertly browned turkeys and trees surrounded by piles of gifts with coordinated wrap and bows. Earlier attempts to recreate magazine picture holiday decor have left me disappointed. What I've discovered over the past few years is that my family never expected a magazine picture. They've been happiest without any pressure to keep the house photo-shoot spotless and they care more about the gift than the wrapping paper. Now I try to keep reminding myself that Christmas can't be found on a glossy page, although I sometimes forget in a store aisle full of blinking lights and garland.

This time of year people come to yoga class with their own stories of holiday pressures, and they bring the holiday stress to their mats. In addition to offering my yoga students in a stress-relieving practice, I've decided to combine my candy cane addiction with affirmations - a tool that worked for me when I needed to change my thinking and my stress-causing expectations. I've got a bag full of little candy canes and I'm attaching a positive holiday affirmation to each. What could be better in the yoga room than a bowl full of good thoughts, sugar and mint?

I'm even going to try not to eat them all myself.

I've been working on the affirmations, finding some online and writing others. Here are some examples:

I give myself the gift of compassion and forgiveness this holiday season.

I glow with joyful light that shines on those around me.

A wave of peace flows through the world and over me.

I fill my home only with treasured, meaningful decorations.

I've got others, but I still have more candy canes than affirmations. Any contributions would be greatly appreciated!

Now I've got to go think of a few more. And eat a candy cane.

UPDATE: We've gotten word that the mortgage company has finished their seemingly endless approvals, checks, and quality control, and we are clear to close. Looks like we may be in the house by the weekend. Just in time to put up the Christmas lights.

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