Instead of writing New Year’s resolutions, I’ve started the last few years by picking threewords for my year – three words that would be my mantra, my go-to for inspiration, for grounding, for focus in everything I do. Each year, those three words have been forgotten for no better reason other than I allowed them to just fade away in the wind.
This year, I started off differently. In January, when everyone else was level setting and taking stock of themselves in order to establish goals and a framework for their lives, I was just being. We’d been in New Zealand for about three weeks and I was just enjoying the being.
I hadn’t given much thought to finding three words for this year. I can’t say why, I just hadn’t. I had given up my full time job so that I could travel with my husband. So I think I was just trying to get by, day-by-day, in this place we were trying out, trying to see if we can call it home. I was living in the moment, determined that, for the time being, I wasn’t going to expend any energy on the future.
|Photo by Curtis Simmons|
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend several amazing days at a yoga retreat about 30 minutes outside of Queenstown, New Zealand. Readers of Condè Nast Travel Magazine have voted it into the Top 100 Hotels & Resorts in the World. Set in a stunning location, founded and built on solid conservation principles, the physical place is something to behold. Everything about this place is focused on renewing and improving – the people who make the experience possible are some of the most passionate and genuine people I have ever met in my life.
I’ve tried yoga before, but I’ve never experienced it the way I did at Aro Hā. Everything at the retreat was focused on forcing me to slow down and allow myself to really experience what was going on around me and inside of me. The overarching theme of the retreat was mindfulness.
By the end of the retreat, I was actually able to “be still,” something prescribed often in the Bible. Getting to a place where I could shut everything off and focus on that one thought is extremely difficult in the 21st Century. There is so much going on around us! Our internet enabled smart-phones keep us constantly connected to what basically accounts to useless noise. Even as I write this, I am fighting the urge to stop and pick up my phone every time it beeps or buzzes.
No, mindfulness isn’t easy; but, I’ve been there a few times now and I’ve come away from the experience with a renewed sense of wanting to do something each day that changes me and the world around me. I came away from this experience with my three words for 2015:
BREATHE, NOURISH, RELEASE.
Later, I’ll post more about why I’ve chosen these three words. Perhaps you should find your own three words…it’s so much easier than writing resolutions. If you do, I’d love to hear what you’ve chosen.