Developing Discernment

I heard some women talking today while I was at lunch, and they were sharing about what the new year means to them. It was as you might expect, new beginnings, a re-set time, renewal and growth. We all come out of the holidays feeling a bit weathered, but then we turn our eyes forward and start thinking about what we want to do next. For many of us there’s a surge of urgency to get moving, and really start accomplishing things. After all, we’ve been distracted for the past two months! That’s how my January started.

 
I was full of intention to get busy, find new clients,
launch new programs.
 
And then I realized that I was just making myself busy without any clear direction. It felt good. I had a lot of ideas, but as I began working on various things, a sense of frenetic tension set in. Things felt stressful, and I was just getting started. I only have so much time, so I decided to step back and really prioritize what would support my goals in both my business and my life. That night, I fell ill with the sore-throat-cold thing that’s been going around. I can only tell you my disappointment and frustration at being set on the sidelines for what turned into 10 days.
 
I’ve been forced to rest.
 
A few times I felt well enough to write and look at my work, but I only had the energy to do the bare minimum. I couldn’t even think! I’m much better now, and trying to return slowly to business activities. I’ve noticed that my energy reserves were depleted and I want to make a full recovery.
 
In my impatience and frustration over having to rest, I became painfully aware of my need to be busy, and constantly doing. This information is useful for me. I have a habit, a pattern of being busy, and that makes me feel like I’m successful. But in reality, I think I can work much differently and be even more successful. The 10 days of rest have not been wasted. I have intentionally been quiet, trying to avoid too much TV and internet. I’ve practiced and meditated as best I could, and surprisingly, I was able to breathe every time. Now that I feel better, I am finally able to start writing down what I view as important. I will mindfully consider the ideas that come, both by their merit from a practical view, and also how these things “feel” to me.
 
Anything having that frantic feeling of stress
attached to it gets crossed off the list.
 
In the past year, I’ve encountered a lot of crossroads. My personal practice of yoga and meditation has taught me how to tell when I’m doing things for the right (and wrong) reasons. This process of discernment is a direct result of daily practice accompanied by meditation. It’s also been helped by a relationship with a primary teacher who can mentor me, and by sharing in online classes with other sincere practitioners. These group discussions and study of the ancient texts has been a profoundly supportive process.
 
As I consider this year’s goals, I’m cautiously relying on
the discernment that I have developed.
 
I know from my own experience what it feels like when I’m acting from a place of habit, fear or insecurity. I can also sense when I’m being overly aggressive and forcing things. Then there is the sweet feeling of sattva, which sits somewhere in the middle. It’s a place of profound space, clarity, and quiet. Not empty and vacuous, but solid, real, and stable. The ideas that resonate with this stability and calm are the ones that I will develop into actionable goals. Based upon my experiences, I have confidence in the process and am encouraged to continue moving forward in this way.
 
This is the fruit of a consistent personal practice.
 
We all can use yoga to help refine our discernment so that we can trust ourselves when it comes to making important decisions. Instead of going to an occasional group yoga class, maybe it’s time for you to consider investing in your personal transformation and growth by developing a personal practice, too.
 
I work individually with students interested in going deeper with their yoga. I teach yoga as a therapeutic practice for healing on all levels – physical, mental, and emotional. Often, I pair yoga as a support to people making changes to their nutrition and lifestyle. My training as a holistic health coach helps me work with clients to identify what areas of life they want to work on, and together, we develop achievable goals. For information about classes and mentoring, I invite you to contact me or visit my website.
 
Wishing you much success as you endeavor to spend your time well!