Yep, that’s right! It’s that time of the year again. The time where cheesy music plays non-stop on the radio, sweet stuff invades our tables to corrode the enamel on our teeth, and we feel both happy and slightly embarrassed by the arguments and conversations happening spontaneously at dinnertime with family and friends. Yeah… this is Christmas alright!
With the closing of another 365-day cycle, we take stock of what’s happened to us during the past year and try to see the patterns. Most of us look at the past 12 months and try to analyze what has gone well, what has gone so-so, and what has gone entirely wrong to try to make new, positive, sometimes ambitious resolutions for the year to come.
These resolutions –slightly akin to so-called ‘sankalpas’ in the world of yoga– may seem trivial to some; but the truth is that, when practiced with full intention and mindful heartfelt awareness, they can proof really effective.
Sankalpas as life-affirming truths
When speaking yogic, a sankalpa is a deeply ingrained statement planted at the core of who you are vowing or projecting the intention for you to achieve something you want after putting in the work. Sankalpas are always already existing qualities of your personality wishing to find their fullest expression by coming to the forefront of your life at a given point. So, when you look at it, any sankalpa you resolve upon –whether at New Year’s or not– is essentially a conscious choice on your part to put more emphasis on a certain value or facet of your life from now on.
Sankalpas can take multiple forms, though they generally center upon some sort of psychological, emotional, or intellectual value that you seriously want to establish into yourself –aka, be more of. A few sankalpa statement examples that are relatively common are, for instance, things like ‘I am appreciative of all the good things I have in my life right now,’ ‘I feel fulfilled and complete as I am,’ or ‘I am pure joy.’ Some of them may sound a bit cheesy to the unlearnt ear, but cheesy is often really a misnomer for ‘deeply-emotional-to-the-point-of-making-me-feel-embarrassed,’ so… long story short, just bear with it!
Still, New Year resolutions often tend to take on a more self-serving, or egoistic tone, beginning with the formulation ‘I want…’ followed by an object. For instance, ‘I want to be more happy in 2019,’ ‘I want to finish my degree this year,’ or ‘this year, I want to be nicer to my partner.’ However, true heartfelt resolutions should avoid repeating the ‘I want’ bit and focus more on ‘beingness.’
Indeed, in-depth reflection on what you really feel is a good place to start for you to realize what you would like to be or have more of. In fact, this process of self-reflection often yields the realization that you’re already that something you crave, just not perhaps in the right amount!
Think big but start small
One important thing to note is that sankalpas don’t necessarily just work at the turn of the year. They are an integral part of daily yoga practice, for example, and any time of the year is a good time ‘to turn on’ a new resolve. Still, since in the west New Year tends to bring with it some sort of ‘exorcistic power of the old,’ we thought it might be handy to rephrase whatever your 2019 intentions into sankalpa-like heartfelt statements for you to be more YOU from now on!
But a word of warning might be wise. Choose one sankalpa to start. Traditionally, you’re supposed to only work on one resolution at a time. So don’t pick up something too heavy to start with. Instead, break your ultimate resolve or statement into integral parts and work your way up to it one sankalpa after another. You will know when you can switch from one to the next once the one you’ve been working with has become second-nature.
So, from acebe to the world: happy end of 2018, an auspicious beginning of 2019, and a very fruitful beginning of sankalpa practice from now on! And remember, ‘as you think, so you become’!