Guest blog by Yogasteya member Laura Moreno-Hill
As we say good bye to another year and prepare to welcome a new one, I can’t help but reflect on everything the past year taught me. There are usually 2 times a year that I become intentionally “reflective” and get deeply lost in my own thoughts over where my life has been, where it is…and more importantly on where it’s heading. Those two occasions are my birthday, and then of course on the ever so famous New Year’s Eve. With 2015 knocking on the door, I’m realizing that my whole mind set has completely changed from years past. There’s a shift in my thinking when it comes to setting goals and making lists of New Year’s resolutions. While crossing things off a list is nice, there are other things that are much more important and valuable to my living a healthy and peaceful life.
Like many people around the globe, I had set “goals” for myself on New Year’s Eve for 2014. There were 10 of them in fact. I typed them in my cell phone and made a conscious effort to look at them at least once a month. I had all the best of intentions in achieving every single one of them. But, as December 31st, 2014 approached, I took them out one last time and realized that I hadn’t accomplished very many of them. In fact, there were maybe only two that I could honestly say I did consistently throughout the year – to give back more and do more yoga! The rest? Well, I had good intentions of getting to the other eight. But, obstacles like unemployment, a challenging marriage, menopause, weight gain, insecurities, and an achy aging body seemed to take over my life all at once and get in the way!
When I was younger, I was obsessed with setting goals and reaching them. I’m still a fanatic about making “lists” and gain almost a twisted pleasure in crossing things off of it when I complete a task. However, somewhere between finishing my MBA in 2003 and more than a decade later I lost my inner light. That “thing” inside of you that brings you joy, peace and happiness. I’ve spent the past few years reading books, seeing a couple different great therapists, and being surrounded by the best girlfriends I could ever hope for. It’s been a long journey and for the first time in ages I’m hearing close friends tell me how “happy” I look and sound. And you know what? They’re absolutely right! But what’s changed within me?
If I had a dollar for every time I heard two particular words this past year both my mortgage and my school loans would be all paid off. Seriously, from Facebook posts and books I’ve read to girlfriends on their respective life journeys, all I have heard or read about is finding my PURPOSE and having a VISION. I feel like I have been totally lost and chasing my tail trying to figure out just what those two things are in my life.
What about you? What’s your purpose? What are you passionate about?
Throughout this entire 10+ year journey the one thing I found that’s become “my new best friend” has been yoga. Yoga has helped me find my center and my focus. It’s helped me calm down in the worst of life’s storms. It’s been miraculous at helping me manage chronic back pain and extraordinary amounts of stress. If I could do yoga 24/7/365 I would without hesitation! I’ve found an amazing yoga instructor at my gym. My mind, body and soul crave yoga if I get too busy, fall ill, or stay away too long. Yoga has become one of my life’s greatest passions. I’m totally lost without it. But, what about my life’s purpose and vision?
Instead of making a list of goals or resolutions that I barely look at (much less accomplish them) I’m going to try a different approach for 2015. I’m not going to let the fact that my weight is a yo-yo or that it takes me a couple of days to be pain free after a hard workout…or that my memory is not what it used to be – get in my way. I’m going to begin the New Year with intentional purpose, a better mind set, and with the determination to be happy, healthy and DO MORE YOGA!
One of the ways I’m going to do that is by focusing on figuring out and realizing my purpose. I’m intentionally going to acknowledge and embrace my true calling –writing. I’m also going to identify my skills, special talents, hobbies, passions, and all the things in life that make me happy. Then, I’m going to figure out how to use those things to help and serve others in order to give back. When we recognize that our lives are not really ours, but that we’re here to be of service to others, we gain such tremendous joy for making a difference.
So where do I even start?
Instead of a list of resolutions, I’m going to try something new…something different. If you’re more of a visual person, creating a vision board can be a huge help and be a good road map. I’ve often heard of vision boards, but I’ve never created one. I’ll be doing this as a family exercise in January with my husband and stepson. It’s more to help our teenager, who’s a junior in high school, but I think we would all benefit.
A vision board is typically a poster board of some sort that you paste or make a collage of images that you’ve gathered from magazines or even the Internet. You might even cut out inspirational words or phrases to help motivate you.
The idea behind a vision board is that when you surround yourself with images of who you want to be or what you want to do, your life changes and comes together to match those images. There are different ways to create one so please do a little research and find the one that works best for you. Just remember that your vision board might change as you go through the process or as time progresses. That’s OK! You will gain clarity of purpose and vision, so don’t give up on it.
Here are 3 easy tips to help you started on your vision board project:
- Be Creative!
Think “outside the box” and don’t be afraid to use technology to your advantage. Make a video vision board…it’s not ‘how’ you do it – just do it! Here’s a link on “How to Make a Vision Board” by Christine Kane and Pinterest has a ton of examples if you search under “Vision Board Samples.”
- Don’t Over Think It!
Here’s an example from a blog called “Weeds to Wishes” of just how simple and beautiful it can turn out:
- Write About It!
Another approach is to create a vision journal or simply put – WRITE ABOUT IT. It’s more portable than a vision board which you probably have to leave in a set location like your home, office, or even a school locker. It’s more of a notebook where you can write down your vision, your thoughts and feelings, and even draw or sketch ideas as they come to you. I suppose you could glue pictures and phrases/words in it like you would on a board. But, with a journal you can take it anywhere and pull it out anytime you felt inspired or creative. I found this awesome online blog article from a few years ago called “Take Charge of Your Life” by Natalie Norrell and again, Pinterest has a lot of ideas on “Vision Art Journals.”
One source of inspiration I found during my creative journey was from a young lady named “Heather” (aka @sparkleduck75). I’ve adopted the following tips and her wise words:
To stay in a creative place, I will
- Keep my heart open at both ends, to give and receive grace
- Engage in my life, where inspiration abounds
- Explore where my instincts want to take me
- Never compare my work (or writing) negatively to others’, but lovingly seek skills to learn and ways to grow
- Revisit the work of those who inspire me
- Try new things with permission to gloriously fail
- Do the hard stuff now and then, dig deeper
- Stay in the company of creative and encouraging people who know more than I do
- Make time every day to create something
- Fill my mind and heart with things that nourish my spirit and encourage understanding
- Resist cynicism
- Remain grateful and full of wonder
- Enjoy the journey
Regardless of what ritual you do to usher in the New Year, remember to start 2015 with purpose, vision and do more yoga!
Laura is a devoted “yogi” who would do it 24/7/365 if she could. In her professional life, she’s an accomplished strategic marketing, branding and communications manager and a talented business writer. Her natural talent or “calling” is her writing and creative storytelling whether at work or personally. Laura is not only passionate about her career field, but she also loves to journal/write, read, travel, resale/thrift shop, dance, and do YOGA or Zumba as often as possible. Laura’s crazy life at home and work…and chronic back pain are all made better with yoga. She loves being around and helping people, creatively solving problems, and making a difference to those around her. Her favorite colors are PINK, green and purple. She loves ALL things that sparkle and “bling”! Although she lives in the Baltimore/DC area, her favorite city is her hometown of Chicago, IL (GO Bears | Blackhawks | Bulls)!