I recently wrote a blog post about habits and resolutions or samskaras and sankalpas. I shared in this post about my sankalpa for the new year, which very simply is cultivating inner peace in the month of January.
Sankalpas are in essence much more profound than a goal or a resolution. They are a compulsion from deep within to embody some portion of your truth that is not being expressed. For me, doing anything for a year would be tough, so I chose a month in hopes that cultivating inner peace in January might just change my perspective for the entire year. Plus, with only a month's time, who doesn't go all in?
And I have gone all in! But, I started small. First, by giving myself permission to be lazy; letting the hyper-vigilant anxiety fall away when I gave myself permission to lay on the couch ALL DAY LONG without doing a single thing (including making the bed, which is actually big for me). I've been working too, but I've been setting parameters around my binge working: "when it ceases to feel enjoyable, just stop. No matter where you are, just freaking stop! Keep that peace, Ki."
By going all in, I've also noticed samskaras or habits that I never realized played such a daily role in my life. In only a week's time I've become keenly aware of how hard it is to protect my personal time and how hard it is to simply say no. The habit of service, which is to give, give, give is difficult to halt in the moment and to instead say to yourself "NO, MINE." This is a struggle I've been working with for a long time, it centers around scarcity: not working hard enough, not making enough to support myself, not doing enough to maintain my relationships. Ironically, knowing that I turn 37 this year has given me a bit of an existential shake and made me recognize the scarcity of my years. That is not to say I think I'll die tomorrow, but to acknowledge how quickly time goes by and the absolute necessity to carve out time for your personal journey, not just the one you're on with your tribe.
I have found that cultivating peace REQUIRES that you ask for what you want. That can be soooooo hard to do! And I don't necessarily mean the big wants, but the little things that would make your life or even your day just a little bit easier. Armed with the awareness of my sankalpa, I've asked for what I've wanted telling myself: "what the heck, at least I know I tried to cultivate some peace out of this". And what do you know?!?! So far, my requests have been no big deal and have been accommodated! Oh man, how much unnecessary struggle have I put myself through in simply not asking for what I want? I'm sure not all my requests will be fulfilled, but there's a whole hell of a lot of peace out of knowing you at least tried to make it easier on yourself.
I've also noticed the all encompassing power of communication. Pointedly, the effects of what we don't say; bottling things up negates peace. It can be SO, SO, SO f#c%ing hard to just spit those words out, but my god is it worth it when you do! I'm not sure what it is about communication that's so scary. I studied it in college, I understand its impact implicitly, and yet I'll find myself with my foot in my mouth, my belly full of butterflies and my heart doing back flips just because I can't open my mouth and speak my truth! Well, when you're committed to peace and your cards are all in, you find you do things you wouldn't normally do. Who knew that as soon as you let the words loose, you instantly embody a state of peace?!
Reflecting on all of this today, listening to the rain, feeling the overwhelming sense of peace within (that I basically felt none of in 2018), I'm reminded that all of this has taken risk. Any resolution, any sankalpa, any truth bubbling up within you that's demanding to be expressed, all require some kind of risk.
I've had a lifelong samskara and bad habit of not taking risks. As the rest of the month plays out, I aim to continue to take these tiny little risks in pursuit of peace. Maybe, just maybe, the rest of the year will have more peace, but also bigger things because I'm willing to take the risks, speak my truth and ask for what I want.
(as my inner voice goes: amen to that!)