Most of us make our fervent New Year’s Resolutions without ever having stopped to take in what happened last year. This January 1st, I decided to look at the last twelve months and take stock. In James Clear’s 2015 Annual Review, he says, “Each year, I conduct my Annual Review and share it publicly. I do this because I find it helpful to review the successes and failures of the previous 12 months, but also because I think it is important to hold myself publicly accountable…I will answer 3 questions in my 2015 Annual Review:
What went well this year?
What didn’t go so well this year?
What am I working toward?
So I’m just gonna jump on that format and do it, too. Here’s my own 2015 Annual Review.
WHAT WENT WELL THIS YEAR:
Family Connections. Traveled to Vermont, North Carolina, and California—all to take in rich, juicy family experiences. The July visit was a family reunion (we had people from as far away as Switzerland), and we had an incredible time. I’m not great at just hanging out usually—but this week in July, I honed that skill. I became an expert. It was awesome.
Yoga/Meditation Highlights. I’ve been teaching since 2012—usually to two or three people at a time, and loving every minute. Recently my classes have really grown, and now there we’re at capacity. And, it remains true that this work is spiritually nourishing, no matter who shows up.
Offered two sold out 6-Week Beginners Yoga Series courses
Created the Long Island Dharmata Sangha, which meets for meditation and dharma teachings every Thursday evening at 7:00pm in Malverne, NY. We alternate between my dharma talks and recorded teachings from Anam Thubten Rinpoche. Details here.
Took a break during the summer, and this proved to be just the rejuvenating ‘savasana’ I needed.
Writing Highlights. One of my resolutions was to get more serious as a writer, and I stepped up to the plate for this one:
During the year, in my capacity as Editor for the Yoga & Polarity Newsletter, I wrote twenty articles for the publication.
“Waves of Commitment,” an article I wrote about the struggle with eating vegan, was picked up by elephantjournal.com in September, (please check out their website, they’re amazing);
and they published me again in December (“Personal Updates: Digital Health as Spiritual Practice”).
Music Highlights. Although my music has gone underground for a while, there were a couple of inspiring blips on the radar:
Insight Timer—an app for meditators picked up a piece I wrote for my yoga class called “Savasana Crickets.” (You’ll have to hit “content” in the upper menu, then go to “Songs” and then scroll down till you find it.) It was featured under the ‘instrumental music’ section of Insight Timer as a “Guided Meditation.” Currently it has received 20,500 plays, with 877 ratings putting it at 4.5 stars (out of 5).
Wrote a song with consummate musician Bleu, which might make it onto his next CD! When there’s a recording, I will share it with you. Till then, here’s an example of what this crazy man is capable of. Yeah. I got to write with him!
5-day course in The Work by Byron Katie. Amazing stuff that you have to experience to really appreciate.
4-week Reflexology course at Yoga Polarity Center, in Malverne, NY
2-day workshop in Boston: “Trauma-Sensitive Yoga in Therapy: Bringing the Body into Therapy,” given by David Emerson and Elizabeth K Hopper, Ph.D. from the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute.
WHAT DIDN’T GO SO WELL THIS YEAR:
YogaSnacks. In April of last year, I started what I thought might be a bi-weekly video series called “YogaSnacks.” Great intention, but I ended up only doing five of them from April 15th to July 14th. I would like to have done better at following through. I may or may not revive this idea. Just acknowledging that I fell short here.
Writing. My goal was 100 rejection slips. This is so much fun to carry as a goal, because I can’t lose. If I get published, I win. And if I get rejected, I win: it goes toward the achievement of my goal. This year, I only got one rejection. If I’d sent my writing out to 100 publications and only got one rejection, that would be awesome. But I only sent to three publications. I can do better.
Exercise. Last February, I joined the Healthtrax gym nearby. I don’t resonate with gyms usually, but this one had more of an emphasis on rehabilitation, the demographic was more at my level, plus they played Vivaldi in the women’s locker room. If I averaged out all my visits, I think it came to about twice a month. That’s just not ok. I can and will do better.
Friendship. It’s difficult to admit, but truth is important. I lost a friendship to my own carelessness, to a lack of mindfulness. This friendship was dear to me, and the lessons I take from its loss will be with me forever. I can and will do better.
WHAT AM I WORKING TOWARD
There are some specific things on the docket:
There is a children’s book in the wings,
and a song with its roots in a Facebook post.
Also I’m teaching an eight-week dharma course, scheduled to begin on January 14th. This course explores the deeper avenues for generosity in seven distinct realms: food, substance, labor, time, the heart, the mind, and the spirit. It will take place at Yoga Polarity Center, and will be taught every other week on Thursdays as part of the dharma talks at the Long Island Dharmata Sangha meetings.
I’m scheduled to finish the study of the skeleton, which is part one of a two-year anatomy course this year.
In addition, I’ll be participating in a 6-week course called Path of Freedom—a preliminary teacher training course, for those who want to teach meditation in prisons.
Those are the specifics.
More broadly, however, my intention is to consume. You heard right. We put down our society as consumerist, but unfortunately it’s not nearly consumerist enough. It’s acquisitional. I have acquired so many books, workshops, seminars, online trainings, etc. that I have not consumed. They sit on the shelf, or dormant behind unclicked links. I keep shoveling food in, before I’ve actually consumed it. I’ve had it with this. I am not going to acquire any more anything until I’ve fully consumed what I have already bought. Looking forward to discovering the wealth of what already exists in my house, and in my heart, in my life.
Thanks for hanging in there, if you’re still reading. Thanks for being on this list. Let’s walk into the new year together with clear eyes, strong hearts and tender hands.