Beginnings are great times for thinking about what is coming into being, and what we have to release to make that happen. As 2011 ends and 2012 begins, it seemed a perfect opportunity to sit and think about where I am in life and where I want to be. I don’t know that I have ever really taken stock of my life in this way before, at least not so consciously.
I turn 50 this year, and that is a milestone of sorts. It is yet one more reason for me to turn introspective, I suppose. When I look back over 2011, I can see the thread of transition that wove itself through my days. I started this blog, deepened my spiritual practice by re-establishing space and time for a daily meditation ritual, returned to my journaling more consistently and reconnected to the outdoors through a nature journal and the barefoot breathing e-course. Various practices from different times in my past came together in a way that felt like I was pulling myself into wholeness.
As I look forward to 2012, I am wanting to bring a few more pieces into the mix, round it out even more. I have done quite a bit of research in recent months, and one of the things I learned is that when I was a vegetarian in college, I didn’t really know what I was doing. That may be why it didn’t stick, or maybe it just wasn’t the right time for me to make that kind of change. I don’t know. I do know that I used to think that being a vegetarian was simply about not eating meat. Instead, I should have been focusing on what I needed to bring into my diet to be healthy. I didn’t really think about how leaving out meat opens the door for other foods to be eaten regularly – like healthier proteins in the forms of grains, nuts and seeds. Adding in a lot of greens, vegetables and fruit would have been a much healthier approach than eating the same junky, highly refined, commercialy processed food I had eaten previously, only without meat.
I am finally seeing the food I eat as being part of my spiritual practice. It is a new layer I am adding into my spiritual life. The food choices I make impact my mood, my energy level and the clarity of my thoughts. These are each key variables defining how I approach life in general, so it seems clear that learning to eat well is a part of the spiritual path I am walking.
If food is part of it, then becoming more fit has to be in there as well. I am not into exercising for the sake of exercise. I am starting to see my physical fitness as a way to honor the life I have been given. I don’t have to be a tri-athlete to appreciate the spiritual aspect of being fit enough to explore a mountain trail or walk for hours on the hiking trails in my local arboretum. That’s all I want. Nothing extreme.
Even so, these are big changes I am talking about. Changing my diet and my exercise patterns are things people always put in their “resolutions” list. These are perennial items because people don’t stick with them and so they resolve the next year to try again. I don’t want that to be me, so I am not resolving anything other than to take the knowledge I am gaining about health and nutrition, about health and fitness, and try to make decisions that will be consistent with what I am learning. I don’t expect to flip a switch and be a perfect vegan who trains for marathons in my spare time. I do expect to make my life healthier every day, by making the best choices I can, one day at a time.
I have also decided to dig a bit more into my writing, since that is one of the things I enjoy most doing. Julie Tallard Johnson (an author of 9 books, including The Wheel of Initiation: Practices for Releasing Your Inner Light and Spiritual Journaling: Writing Your Way to Independance) has put together a writer’s retreat to help aspiring writers go a bit deeper. I have signed up and I admit to being quite excited about it. Look for a post about my take on the seminar / retreat in February.
In 2012, I will be feeding my body with food and exercise, my spirit with meditation, prayer and continuing to help teach shamanism with my mentor. I will also be feeding my mind with writing and researching. It has a well-rounded feel to it all. I think I am off to a good start.
Here’s to your 2012 and I hope that the path you are exploring makes you feel as passionate and joyful as mine does!