This winter is half sabbatical, half period of reflection and planning to land on my next career move. What would be the name for that? Sabbplannical? The sabbatical part involves indulging in a long-held desire to ski — a LOT — for a season at a great mountain. The reflection/planning bit involves a few personal projects and designing a path to a new career move come spring.
It’s an understatement to say that risk like this doesn’t come naturally to me. But so far, I’m embracing the uncertainty and relived to discover that I do in fact have the courage to step out of my comfort zone. Most of all, I’m feeling extremely grateful for the opportunity.
And so here we are in a new year, and like millions of others, I’ve been pondering what I want to get out of 2016. And I found inspiration somewhere unexpected. Before I left Montana for my PA trip, I came across a Winter Solstice workshop at a local yoga studio. The concept was a simple yogic tradition: mark the seasonal turning point of the beginning of more daylight by setting an intention and reflecting on it while completing 108 sun salutations. Why 108? Because it’s an auspicious number in eastern history, science and medicine. And naturally, the beginning of more daylight also symbolizes a time of awakening, re-birth and growth. Nice concept, huh?
Aside from the heavy symbolism, I discovered that repeating an intention 108 times is also a damn effective way to drill it into your head and heart. Like our teacher predicted, not only was the experience physically strenuous (let’s just say those 108 chaturangas stayed with me for about a week), but the frankly boring repetition was a mental challenge. You quickly lose count and the teacher doesn’t announce where you are in the sequence. Somewhere around 50 salutations, I finally felt a shift: I stopped feeling distracted and panicky, and fell into a rhythm of breathe and movement. It was a similar to when you get hyper focused on a task, and time seems to bend. It was way cool.
I could go on about the nuances of the experience — and there are a lot — but maybe I’ll cover that in a separate post. The point is that I’m excited about my intention for both the new season and the new year.
It’s simply to do more than I think.
On a literal level, it means to trade over thinking for action.
Figuratively, it means to do more than I perhaps — deep down — believe I’m capable of.
2016 will be a stretch year. And if I lose my way, I can always remind myself with another 108 sun salutations.
Happy new year and cheers to the new chance to stretch not only your muscles, but also your mind and heart.