Nurture Yourself Toward Change

In celebration of 2015 I wrote the essay below about resolutions through the lens of love and family for Family Guiding Magazine. Enjoy!

Nurture Yourself to Create Change

Love is always unconditional in the sense that it is not stymied or stifled by any of the  conditions of existence. Neither changes, endings, altered plans, unfairness, suffering,  disloyalty, or lack of love can stop us from loving. Our yes to such a stunning grace is  what our ego always wants to say, since it means the end of being afraid and the       beginning of being free. David Richo, The Five Things We Cannot Change...and the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them

Solution: Noun
1. The act of solving a problem, question, etc.
Resolution: Noun
6. The resulting state.

In preparation to writing this, and prior to any goal setting, I discussed the article with my husband. He suggested that the definition of resolution is misused. That the definition of solution is what people might really have in mind when setting New Year goals. My husband is the one who sees direct correlations to ways in which history has been defined and where we are now. He is the one who always can be counted on to make the obvious point. I am the one who finds fact in fiction, caresses metaphor into reality, says things people don’t say because they are afraid of looking foolish.

With resolution on mind I, of course, had many layered ideas of weaving punk rock and yoga into an anecdotal fable from my life, but when I cracked open dictionary.com I realized my husband had a great point. If what we mean when we write our new year resolutions is to solve a problem or answer a question, then that might be part of the reason why so many times we fail. We want to find a solution, and then see a result.

So when goal setting for the year, I would like to reach for solutions, solutions so good and resolutions so satisfying, that everyone in my family will be on board.

I want our family to be resilient, to be able to bounce back without denial, or shame; to feel and express our feelings, and to support each other unconditionally; to reside in love.

Practice love. That is my solution, the skill, and the goal.

Unmistakable, simple, portable. Best of all, it does not require anything more than being present.

A commitment to love for our family, and perhaps many others’, might mean that activities become secondary to love. As a result we might choose lighter work schedules in favor of more time together; we may watch less television and instead take more walks; we might get rid of material clutter in order to enjoy more ease and simplicity. Then slowly, love will fill up all of our time, and love will be all we see, until the energy we devote to love becomes joy. I am excited!

In preparation for the new year, I have already begun to practice and so far I have noticed we sleep better as a family, we cook more expressively, we eat more thoughtfully, my son lights up with sheer enjoyment when we are all together. Our love brings each member of the family into balance.

In my practice as a yoga teacher, I see students become attracted to the goal of health or fitness, rather than developing the skills to create change. It can become a tiring cycle to set goals, to follow through for awhile and even see progress, only to abandon new health routines. Skill building takes education and time before it becomes habitual. New routines eventually crowd out old ones, but not without the habit of love. We can only make great change through unconditional love.

Transition toward change, like the transition from one yoga pose to the next, can feel clumsy at times, and that initial discomfort is a test of resolve. Willingness to be uncomfortable enough to see what the next breath holds will inevitably lead to a more peaceful state. Love, like breath, can sometimes be stifled due to social conditioning, habit, and the natural experience of being human. Breathing into unsteadiness becomes an act of self-love in yoga, in life.

When I remind students to feel themselves breathing, and to make that awareness a priority, then I watch them beautifully embody a pose. When I remember to love unconditionally, everything else seems to align.

Give and receive love. See and communicate love. Breathe deeply. With steady resolve and practice, I hope that vacuuming becomes joyful and light hearted.

Fawn Williams is a Yoga Therapist, Mom, Graphic Designer and Vermont native, who moved to Portland in 2001 to finish her BFA. In pre-parenthood, Fawn toured Europe as a singer, ran a radio station, and lived in punk rock skate shop. Motherhood is by far her most rewarding, demanding, and creative pursuit. yogawithfawn.com