I have escaped the Canadian winter in favour of a couple of weeks in the Caribbean. I’ve been in Sint Maarten for just over a week and I’m finally settled in. It takes me a while to get into vacation mode, so I’m grateful that this time we are able to be away for more than a few days.
Sint Maarten or St Martin is absolutely beautiful. The mountainous landscape of tropical forest, stray goats and turquoise water takes my breath away each time our little rental car turns a corner. I am so thankful to be here. The people are lovely. It really is the “friendly island.”
We are spending our days exploring new beaches, walking, talking, swimming, and reading. I am currently entranced in The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The book is divided into four principles or “agreements” that are meant to guide the reader towards personal freedom and that is exactly what I am seeking in the year 2011, or 20-HEAVEN.
Here’s a little summary of the Agreements:
- Be Impeccable with Your Word— Use words that heal rather than destroy or harm.
- Don’t Take Anything Personally— Recognize that everyone is going through their own shit and that other people’s reactions toward often have very little to do with you.
- Don’t Make Assumptions— Instead of trying to mind read and guess what others are thinking, ask questions and get more clarity.
- Always do Your Best— Give as much as you can, no more, no less, and know that “your best” will change according to the condition you are in and/or what’s already going on in your life.
I like this format and it makes sense to me. These Agreements seem like an effective way to heal and let go of unnecessary suffering and stress. My Resolution or New Beginning, as I prefer to call it, is just this: I am freeing myself from the bonds of fear and becoming a more confident decision maker.
When I am not mesmerized by the scenery around me, reading or spending time with Craig, I am self-reflecting. I sit or lie on the beach and I contemplate my existence. What am I here to learn? And what can I improve upon? I question the nature of the limitations I place on myself– what is my fear and why do I carry it around with me?
Sometimes I notice that the area around my diaphragm is so tight I find it hard to take a deep breath. I recognize the emotion sitting in my belly is anxiety or fear, but most of the time, I have no idea where it stems from. These sensation must have been there a lot longer than I’ve been conscious of them. So, I am using the tools I acquired through my practice to help soothe my being and let go of these deep seeded fears, one layer at a time. I close my eyes and I breathe slowly and rhythmically into my abdomen while envisioning the tension releasing itself from my body and disappearing. Some yoga asana also helps me loosen up.
And what are your New Beginnings or New Year’s Resolutions for 2011? Are you seeking to clean up your mind like me? Are you trying to kick a bad habit like smoking, as my beloved is doing? (Congratulations for being smoke free for over a week, my love!) Or are you seeking to start an new project?
Whatever commitments we make to ourselves at this turning point is our New Beginning and an opportunity to grow. The roads may not always be smooth, but it’s important to stay focused and know why we are heading in a particular direction. Detours are unavoidable. My suggestion? Weave the commitment into your practice and make the yoga work for you. Like a ritual, every breath and every pose can help motivate and inspire you to stay on track.
The Warriors are my favourite poses for this purpose. As I practice them, I imagine I am embodying the courage, strength, stamina, calmness, focus, determination, stability and nobility of a true warrior that can overcome any and all adversity. I know this may sound a bit silly or cheesy, but this really helps me engage with my practice and helps me get more out of it.
For a little inspiration, here are some photos of Craig took of me last night on the beach in front of our pad:
Warrior I – Virabhadrasana I
Warrior II – Virabhadrasana II
Warrior III – Virabhadrasana III
“We search for everything we believe we don’t have, not knowing that everything we are looking for is already inside us. We are born with it.”
Don Miguel Ruiz Quote