Peak performance. We want our lives, our bodies to work efficiently—maximum strength, excellent range of motion, amazing flexibility! We love superlatives. We carry around ideals, compare ourselves with them, and fall short. Then we feel crappy about it. I write this on January 8th, having made a New Year’s resolution on the 1st, and having already broken it. I put a dent in my year in the very first week. I was at my peak for seven days, and then it broke, and I’m disappointed.
But disappointment can be a wonderful mindfulness bell. If we use it that way here, what can we notice? For me, the image of a wave comes to mind. Have you ever stood hypnotized at the ocean’s shore? There’s something comforting, even inspiring about the cresting, peaking, and breaking of the waves—something about the repeating rhythm, and the infinite diversity of their coming into being and dissolving. Nothing about this is disappointing. I’ve never watched a wave reach its peak and then thought, “bummer, you failed,” when the wave broke and came rushing toward my feet. I’ve only ever loved the whole cycle.
We can connect with our lives in the same way. We are human beings, part of the natural world. We are animals just like the birds and bears who follow their own rhythms into and out of life. We can be with our resolutions like we are with the waves. Reaching for an ideal, we may fall short. Steer clear of the ‘stories’ around this and just have another go. Over and over. Practice this, not to perfect it (perfectionism is a great way to never be in the present moment), but because it’s in our nature to reach, peak, crest, and fall away. Reaching, peaking, cresting, falling away. Again and again, all year long, our whole lives, until we dissolve back into the ocean of our original essence.
So. My New Year’s resolution still stands. And I will stay in relationship to it every moment, every day, remembering the beauty of the endless waves on the ocean. And you can, too. Mine is to use veganism as the context for learning to notice when I’m a slave to what I *want*, without regard for what it costs another living being.
What was your resolution? Comment below—I would love to see what you’re all up to.