It is the New Year!!
Yes, it’s taken me a while to get my head around it. The transition from 2015 to 2016 was uneventful, unmarked by the usual partying into night or watching silly telly till the fireworks happen and the manic texting and calling that follows after.
I slept through it. Think I heard the London fireworks in my sleep but I may have been dreaming. So the next morning and the morning after that didn’t feel like 2016 at all. It was very 2015.
And 2015 had been one of those years. So good and so bad at the same time, it messed with my mind. I was finding it hard to shake it off.
I needed a fresh start.
I know that a new year is just a date in the calendar and doesn’t really mean anything but it is massive prompt for a fresh start. The whole world is in on it after all.
So finally on the 4th, I decided it was time begin afresh. It was Sunday, the day when my yoga centre has their weekly satsang (a spiritual gathering). I love the centre and the satsangs, but I hadn’t been for a year. That’s how mad the year was.
It was a dark and cold and wet.. an all round miserable evening, but I went. We meditated, sang some beautiful chants and then it was time for the customary discourse on a random topic by the swami conducting the satsang.
The topic this evening, yes, new year resolutions!
In yoga, I hear Swami Jyotirmayananda say, we are not so concerned with honing our talents as we are about developing our virtues. Of course, I think, somewhat uninspired. Then she opens a book to a random page – The Virtue of Optimism, by Swami Sivananda.
Optimism as a virtue! I hadn’t thought of it like that before.
“It is the optimist that gets the best out life” she quotes Swami Sivananda, reading from his book.
Think about that a for moment, she says looking up at us. We are all so busy every day trying to get the best out of life but how many of us really do?
Now, I am listening.
It isn’t the richest, smartest or the most talented of us that gets the most out of life but it is the person who can find the best in life, no matter what his or her life looks like. The optimist. We can all learn to be an optimist, she continues. Optimism like any other virtue can be practiced, inculcated. Made into a habit.
We all know half glass full and half glass empty kind of people. Some of it is nature but mostly it is an attitude we choose to have. I know that for a fact. I used to be an introverted, easily disheartened and depressed kind of person till I got to my thirties. And then things changed, I became without realising it, an eternal optimist with an unshakable belief that everything would always work out.
The change surprises all those who have known me that long.
Looking back, I see now that it was not a change that happened overnight. I went through many difficult years, emotional stuff, bad health, traumas but through all of those I remember thinking this could not be it. There had to be more.
It was a lonely battle but every day that I chose not to give up or wallow in self pity and hung on to the tiniest of silver linings, I was, without me knowing it, sowing the seeds of optimism in my subconscious mind .
As I overcame the struggles one battle at a time, counting my blessings as I went along, I grew into a sunnier, happier person. Till eventually it became my nature.
Yet last year, came a moment when it was as if someone had switched the light off and plunged me into an awful darkness. The scary thing about darkness is not knowing how to make it go away.
But old habits die hard and on the 4th of Jan 2016, I instinctively reached out to the one thing that would make me feel better, shine some light on the darkness. A trip to my yoga centre!
It worked. For as it often happens, at least in my case, the satsangs almost always end in a talk I need to hear that day. I did not come home bouncing, all bright and sunny but the dark clouds had definitely shifted.
New Year Resolution 1- Continue to be an optimist.
and 2 – visit the yoga centre more regularly .
Wishing you all a bright, happy and healthy new year !!!