Welcome to the new year! I hope you had a good recharge and are excited for your year to come.
I started mine offline… 13 days to be precise, and 13 nights. It is the longest time I have been completely off technology since I remember.
In 2014 I did a 10-day silent Vipassana retreat, so that was surely intense, and shorter. During my month in Nepal in 2015/2016, I had a cellphone I switched on every couple of days to exchange a couple of messages with a few loved ones. This time, after 9 months of spending a pretty high amount of time online, especially the last 4 being mainly by myself in a studio apartment, I was determined to turn the restrictions of our current circumstances into a blessing.
What did I do? I got up in the morning, took a few deep breaths out on the balcony along with a bit of shaking my body, then did some yoga and breathing (inside, mind you, it’s Sweden), and then an hour of meditation. Depending on the day, I was focusing on the flow of my breath, a mantra or an affirmation, or simply on my heart space and what arises in there. I have taken a particular liking to that last technique. When I focus on my heart space, I feel a warmth rising, and that warmth from the heart triggers a smile on my face. Then I stay in that feeling. When a thought distracts me (and it will), as soon as I notice, I drop the thought and focus on the heart space again. I deeply appreciate this way of cultivating lovingkindness.
For a good chunk of my day, I then biked or hiked out into nature, either along the ocean shore, or into the forest and around some beautiful lakes and through muddy swampland. Hands, nose and feet usually cold and often wet, heart warm, and breathing deeply. I realized that some of the most beautiful spaces here in Sweden are in between tall tree trunks and covered by thick green moss of various shades of color. It is so intensely lush green that it makes me blink and look twice. It’s gorgeous. I think it’s where fairy magic might be hiding – you know, the magic of a beautiful moment in nature where everything is at peace, because nature doesn’t rush but always evolves.
I also read a stack of great books, studied neuroscience and history of science, developed new insights, nourished some research ideas, and drafted outlines, but that’s another story for another day.
The other bookend of the day I went back to the meditation cushion, and often for another walk around that little park in front of my apartment block – it’s a relief to be outside and move, even when it’s dark and rainy. I know you may not be in the position to take that much time off technology. I therefore encourage you to take a you-sized break from it every once in a while. It helps to remember our innate wisdom, and connecting with nature on a deeper level amplifies it.
What’s my intention for 2021, coming out of these 13 days of solitary silence? Did I set it clear enough and well enough so that my chattering mind cannot easily sway me in the direction of letting myself down? It’s not about resolutions, even though I have set one: After taking myself off alcohol at the end of March when the year turned emotional, I realized that my other numbing comfort is eating too many sweets – I’ve been having phases of eating (way) too much sweet stuff, especially chocolate, ever since being an early teenager. I can tell you, it feels vulnerable to admit that, and I own it. Vulnerability is good.
My intention for 2021 is to embody radiant love and abundant gratitude. Embodying means I take it on as a practice to feel that way as much as I can, to put myself into the feeling state of radiant love and abundant gratitude, independent of outer circumstances. That practice involves catching myself when I start feeling down, when I wear myself out in negative thoughts, when I work too hard or on the wrong things. Let me be clear with myself that I intend to put my energy in the right places to inspire presence, to amplify love, and to foster connection.
Embody radiant love and abundant gratitude. There, I said it. I am committed.
What are you committed to for 2021? What are you going to practice every day?
What’s the feeling state you want to practice every day?
If you’d like a few more thoughts on this:
Blessings and love,