Our Wellbeing Expert, Sam Sargent, explains why she prefers kind and nurturing intentions over New Year’s resolutions.
While I love the idea of ‘new year’s resolutions’, I can’t help but be reminded about the concept of 'equanimity' that my meditation teacher shared with us.
Equanimity means observing sensations without craving pleasant sensations and without aversion for unpleasant sensations. For example, after a few hours of sitting on your backside in meditation, pain may become present in your back. The idea behind this is that ‘nothing is permanent’ so to learn the art of equanimity will essentially prevent misery from arising.
All those feelings throughout the body, whether they be pleasant or painful, will pass in time; and by practicing this idea of equanimity throughout the body helps us to apply it to our day-to-day life and living. That is, to not have cravings or aversions for any external things in our life so that we don’t set ourselves up for misery and disappointment. This idea also helps us to remain in the present moment so we’re not living in the past or hoping what the future may or may not hold.
I must confess, the idea of equanimity has been a challenging one for me to grasp over the years. The thought that kept consuming me was “if we don’t crave the good stuff then aren’t we just being apathetic and not enjoying the good stuff?” Or, “if we don’t desire changes in our life and living, then aren’t we denying the very drive and creativity that pumps through our veins?”
After much pondering, stumbling, and more pondering I’ve come to this … that it’s all about being grateful for what is; being present so as to enjoy each moment and truly experience life while it is here and now.
'What has this got to do with new year’s resolutions?', you might be wondering. Everything!
What if you used this new year as an opportunity to be grateful for what is? And in terms of resolutions, what if they were redefined as mindful intentions?
Perhaps it’s simply a matter of semantics, but I feel it is much deeper and powerful than that. When we set an intention based on the foundations for having gratitude for what is, we are doing so without the judgment that something is ‘wrong’ with us.
For example, a common choice/demand/resolution at this time of year is to get fit or lose weight. But what if it was slightly tweaked to, “this year I intend to nurture my body with healthy food and movement each day”. Can you feel the difference in how one is a judgment and the other an invitation to be present, kind and nurturing to yourself?