Monday, January 2, 2012

following through with our intentions

I realize I didn't mention a couple important things in yesterday's post.

Re. the Releasing Practice and letting go of past habits, beliefs, etc:
One thing that helps me, as I mentioned, is once I recognize I'm doing something habitual, I stop and really feel into it. I feel the bodily sensations associated with the thoughts or actions. (And often a "negative" habit pattern is associated with intense feelings). And I take a deep breath.
I recognize them as energy, shakti, and I watch their vibration (spanda) and how they often transform when I pay attention. When I can see the feelings or thoughts as simply energy, then it helps me to soften around them. To recognize everything is vibrating energy/shakti helps me to let go of the story of it and just rest in the energy. This helps me relax around the contracted feelings of attachment that arise when I'm believing my story or stuck in a "negative" habit or thought pattern.

Re. following through on our New Year's resolutions:
What has worked for me this year is to schedule my new "positive" habits right into my daily calendar. I don't just remember my intentions, or even look at a written "to-do" list, I actually put down the new habits directly into my calendar exactly when I'm going to do them. Of course, this works better for an actual task than for a belief or thought-pattern. So with new tasks: for me one of them is practicing my cello, I write down exactly what time each day I'm going to practice and for how long. Then it's best if most other events of my day are also scheduled with realistic time frames (this is key) so I'm more likely to follow through on my plans.

At first, I found it useful to put down absolutely everything I intend to do each day and for how long. For example: I put down what time I meditate and do my asana, what time I'll be eating, when I'll call to make a doctor appt. or a date with a friend, what hours I'll be working, doing errands, what time I take a walk, cook dinner, laundry, etc. (In the working and errands time slot, I make a list of tasks I intend to accomplish and when I don't accomplish them, I put them into the next day's schedule).

It seems very rigid at first, but for me, it's actually been very freeing. It's given me a sense of peace to know it's all written down and I don't have to remember everything. I stick to it as best I can and move things when necessary. After a while, a couple months or so, I notice that I am following through with certain new tasks; they become a new positive habit that I want to do and I automatically budget them into my day. So now, I find I schedule only the non-regular stuff and the daily rituals are already accounted for.

Best of luck and please let me know how it goes and whether you find this helpful!

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