Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Generosity

For most of my adult life, I didn't give much thought to what my New Year's Resolution needed to be, because it was so glaringly obvious - of COURSE I'd focus on losing weight and getting healthy, just as I did for about 5 minutes at the beginning of every year because that was my single-minded obsession.

Happily, neither that resolution nor any other are on my agenda for 2016.

Somehow, even 15 pounds above where I was at my lowest weight in June 2014 (and 20 pounds above my "ideal" weight according to the BMI charts), I no longer feel that desperate need to change my entire life in order to call myself happy and healthy. I am 48 years old, I lost 99 pounds and maintained 85% of that loss for nearly two years now. When I see a six mile training run on my half marathon training schedule, I think, "oh good, it's an easy weekend." I can do a crazy number of squats, even with a seriously angry piriformis. Most importantly, my Hemoglobin A1c (test for how well-controlled my blood sugar is over the last several months) is at a level that people with diabetes are not supposed to be able to achieve. I am strong and I am healthy.

I started taking a vinyasa yoga class around the first of the year. At the beginning of each class, the instructor mentions that we can "set an intention" for our time on the mat. Basically, this is a call for students to reflect on what brought them to class and what they hope to bring more of into their lives through practicing yoga. For me, for this year, on the mat and off, my intention is to live generously.

A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity

Living generously, for me, in my life, means going back into the world that I put aside three years ago when I decided to focus on getting my physical body back in order. Returning to community service as a central tenet of my life. Giving of my time, money, compassion, and attention to people, causes, and events that matter, but never again at the expense of my own - or my family's - happiness and well-being. If it's not something that's important to us at the core of who we are then it won't make us happy and there are too many things in the world that we can give to that DO make us happy for us to focus our energy and spirit on anything less than that.

Generosity also means giving myself room to try new things that are scary and to fail sometimes but always with the knowledge that I am strong and capable, no matter what. In 2016, I intend to give myself the gift of not needing to be perfect in order to be happy. Compassion shouldn't be reserved for others when it's so important for growth and change.

So, that's my version of a New Year's Resolution for 2016. Share in the comments if you have a resolution or intention or word or whatever for 2016 or if you think the whole thing is just New Agey mumbo jumbo.

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