New Years Crisis

Growing up one of the things that was often said around my house was that the chinese symbol for crisis is the very same symbol for opportunity. Although I believed it wholeheartedly ( and still do ) I never actually knew if it was true . With a little research i discovered that in 1959 John F. Kennedy actually talked about this in one of his speeches saying

“ the Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘ crisis ‘. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger- but recognize the opportunity. “

To me, new years is the perfect time to put this concept to work. First though, let’s define what crisis actually means. I use to think that it’s only implication was negative, that a crisis was a problem, or emergency when something terrible was coming to pass. While crisis can be viewed as a condition of instability, it also means the moment or turning point that directs future events- for better or for worse. This is the definition that resonates more fully with me, and speaks to the power of transition times in our lives, including new years. I know it’s just a day in most ways like any other and some may even argue a “hallmark” holiday given such attention to mostly boost revenue amongst those that sell all the new year's paraphernalia. But don’t be mistaken, there is something that makes January 1st different- it’s the seemingly electrical charge that’s created by so many people across the planet doing so many of the same things, and thinking so many of the same thoughts at the same time.  It’s this moment of possibility, where the year ahead is a blank slate, and where there is both a cultural and personal momentum for change. It’s a time when there is a palpable surge towards self reflection and self improvement. It’s a crisis. And just like any other turning point, the attitudes and actions we choose will determine how we experience the year that lies ahead. What will you choose?

          The danger lies in letting this time that is ripe with potential pass undetected. The opportunity is using this time to do what another teacher friend of mine calls Big Listening. Big Listening is taking the time to first ask yourself the hard questions; what is working in my life and contributing to the person I want to be? What is outdated, unnecessary, or harmful? Then, actually taking the time to listen for the answers. It’s often easier to look for external guidance and instruction, but nothing outside of ourselves knows what we actually need the way that our inner self does. So Big Listening asks us to connect with our intuition, and our inherent wisdom and to listen with mind, body, and soul to set the compass of this next year to point towards your due north.

       I invite you to set aside an uninterrupted hour to give yourself you full attention, to turn up the volume of your inner voice, to ask yourself some big questions and also listen for the often bigger answers. So open your calendar now and schedule in some time for Big Listening. Here are a few questions to get you started. This is also where your yoga or meditation practice ( or any practice that enhances mindfulness and self connection) really comes into play. Experiences of quieting, and of consciously moving breath and body as one almost magically strengthen the muscle of our self awareness, increase our receptivity, and remind us how to slow down enough to make listening easier. This can range anywhere from taking a few deep breaths to a 75 min. Yoga practice- whatever really allows you to tune in. If you feel the urge to share please do-I would love to hear what you come up with!

      After getting clear on what it is you really want and need, and while the window that New Year's opens stays ajar, I thought we would spend the next few weeks looking at what can make  the change we may so deeply desire hard to actually achieve , and how we can make it easier. Stay Tuned!