Beyond the New Year’s Resolution

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Most New Year’s resolutions are pledges to change what we do and even who we are. Goals are set and we imagine how happy we will be when we have what we want.

Resolutions usually come from the misguided desires of the ego. They almost always fail because they come from the belief that you’re not good enough, or that your happiness depends on acquiring material possessions. “I’ll be happy when….” If your attention is always on wanting something you might get in the future,  you’ll remain in a place of wanting and waiting.

If your attention is always drawn to the future, how can you recognize the greatness that is within you right now?

An alternative to setting a resolution is the Yoga tradition of the practice of Sankalpa, or resolve. Sankalpa is a statement that draws the mind to our deepest intentions, and the qualities of the divine within. San refers to a connection with the highest truth. Kalpa means vow, a rule to be followed above all other rules. Sankalpa is a vow and commitment we make to support our highest truth.

A Sankalpa practice begins with the belief that you already are who you need to be to connect to your deepest intentions. You just have to follow the three steps of listening.

The first step is simply being willing to hear the message from your heart in a still, quiet place cultivated by meditation. The second step is to turn inward and allow the messages to come to you. When you hear the calling, be willing to sit with it, feel, and deeply reflect. The third and final step is being willing to do what the desire requires of you. It’s your call into action. You must respond to it.

Any goal can be the starting point to Sankalpa. Work with whatever arises. If you trust the process, it will eventually lead you to the essence of your being.

Work through the layers by asking yourself what is underneath the desire. How will you feel, how will you think, how will your life be when you achieve your goal? What is the beingness you are working towards? Your Sankalpa should honor the deeper meaning of your life.

Sankalpas can take a couple of different forms. First, your heartfelt desire, a statement reflecting your true nature, who you are. It comes from deep within and tells our mind the direction we need to take or are already taking in our lives, such as, “I am whole.” or “I am at peace.”

A Sankalpa can also be a specific goal or intention. Your specific Sankalpa guides you to do what you need to do and directs your energy to make progress toward larger life goals. To achieve your life’s mission, you must set milestones. What specific things need to happen while you journey on your path? Setting specific intentions help you make the moment to moment choices that are lined up with your desire.

By continually bringing your Sankalpa to mind, you become stronger in your resolve and become more mindful of choices you make day by day. Is this choice supportive of your bottom line? Will this choice support you achieving your goal?

The most powerful practice to plant the seed of Sankalpa is Yoga Nidra, a sleep based guided meditation. Yoga Nidra relaxes the mind and body so you can awaken to your true nature. Here we work with planting the seed of Sankalpa on a subconscious level. We are consciously creating the Sankalpa, then planting it into the subconscious where it can then grow and thrive.

Once you have created and planted the seed of Sankalpa, you can begin the process of taking the action required to support your goal. Strengthening the energy required to do this is called Sankalpa Shakti.

Every conscious choice you make is an opportunity to strengthen Sankalpa Shakti, transformative creative energy. Every day is an opportunity to review your choices, to sort through what is helpful and what is not so helpful. Observe yourself with compassion and keep moving forward.

The Sankalpa describes who you are and how you relate to the world when you are in complete alignment. Sankalpa is the motivating force that you are living and moving toward every day.

Everything you need is already within you. Just focus your mind, connect with your deepest desires, and channel the energy within.

Be content living between the goal and accomplishing the goal.

Managing Sleep Challenges from the Inside Out

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This is so disturbing to me. I cut and pasted below, at the end of this article an online ad for BELSOMRA, a medication for insomnia. Please, please, please, look at alternatives and educate yourself before taking a drug for a sleep disorder. I wouldn’t hesitate to refer a client for medical treatment if appropriate, however, there are so many other modalities to explore before subjecting yourself to possible dangerous side effects that are WORSE than the sleep disorder.
BTW, I have chronic sleep problems and have been medicated for it in the past. I recently underwent a Sleep Study to rule out any underlying health conditions. Fortunately my problems (from a medical point of view) are minor and not life threatening enough to require invasive treatment. If I choose, I can purchase an expensive piece of equipment to help me breathe better at night. Because I’m not in any danger, I’ll opt out of the lifestyle change of hooking myself up to an unnatural device that will just make it harder for me to relax and sleep.
I’ve always been a night owl. I have memories of staying up all night to watch the sun rise as a small child. I would stay up all night to draw, read, write, and create things. I still find that it’s the best time for me to allow inspiration to flow through me.
I feel like I’ve been sleepwalking through my whole life, conforming to school and work schedules. I used to purposefully make appointments early in the morning to force myself into a “normal” way of being.
I actually LOVE sleeping! It’s the getting to sleep I find challenging.
Since my Sleep Study, my mind is at ease knowing I don’t need medical intervention, so I’ve been contemplating what is lying beneath the insomnia, the sleep apnea, the restlessness I experience when it’s time for sleeping.
What are my underlying beliefs and ideas around sleeping?
I feel best when I’m productive and have creative projects to work on. I love to educate myself through reading and taking courses. I like coordinating events and facilitating classes. I really love giving readings and coaching people. I also enjoy stillness and meditation. I sleep best when I’ve had a really busy, productive day, especially if I can see evidence of my efforts. In other words, when I am being authentic, and living from a place of inspiration, I am more effective in all areas of my life. I feel justified in slowing down and resting knowing I’ve done a really good job.
When I don’t get results from my hard work, I don’t feel deserving of slowing down and sleeping. I have to keep going! There’s no time to sleep! I’ll sleep when I hit my mark. I’ll sleep when all the things are checked off my list…..or I’ll distract myself with something else until I’m so tired I just drop. Then I’ll get up the next day feeling too tired to be productive and just do the minimum. Here’s where the cycle gets going. I get a second wind late in the afternoon and I can’t stop until I drop from exhaustion. The cycle continues and I am more and more fatigued. I become less and less effective at what I’m doing. I’m not thinking as clearly. My energy level is lower. My concentration is diminished and I begin to feel stressed out about catching up and managing the multiple priorities of my life. I’m now too tired to do even the most basic tasks. I reserve my energy for the highest priorities of the day. Not necessarily what’s most important to me, just the highest priority of the day. Appointments that are scheduled, classes to teach, clients to see, bills to be paid, phone calls to be returned, and all I can think about is getting some sleep. Then I get another surge of energy. The cycle continues until I shut down. I go into hibernation and sleep for days. I do the minimum. I only do what absolutely has to be done. The rest of the time I sleep.
Sleep is what finally breaks the cycle and I feel normal again.
Now that I’m aware of this cycle, the responsibility lies on me to consciously choose differently. Is this cycle supportive of living the life I imagine? Are there parts of it that are working for me? Which parts? What are the pieces that are not?
What are the underlying beliefs I have about myself that keep me in this perpetual state of motion? Am I being authentic with myself? Am I doing anything just for the sake of keeping others happy at the expense of my health? Are there things I am “just going along with”? Am I wasting time with any activities or individuals who are depleting my energy? Why am I putting up with this? What if I eliminated the activities and relationships that are NOT serving my higher good? What if I just trusted myself and stopped letting other energies influence my decisions or make them for me. What if I got very real and honest with myself? Am I spending most of my time with inspiring work and activities that truly line up with me or am I filling my time with what I “should” be doing.
The indicator is my energy level. If my energy increases with an activity  it stays in my life. If my energy decreases, the activity has to stop or be modified.  I could also take notice if there are any emotional vampires in the vicinity. If there are, they need to go. These are people who drain my energy instead of uplifting me.
Yoga Nidra is one of the most effective way I know to restore my mind and body when I’m not sleeping well. It also helps to regulate my rhythms so I can get back on track. The most powerful part of it is eliminating limiting beliefs and habits on a subconscious level.
Before resorting to potentially harmful medications, I invite you to explore other options with me. Life Coaching combined with Yoga Nidra, Hypnotherapy, Behavior Modification, Yoga and Massage have all been proven to reduce stress and tension to help break the cycle of sleep disorders. Identifying the underlying limiting beliefs and habits are the first steps toward liberating yourself from chronic sleeplessness and moving toward a healthier, happier life.
Dawn Marie
360-299-3200
This is not to replace medical advice from your doctor. I only invite you to explore options and ask your doctor about alternatives before subjecting yourself to potentially dangerous and uncomfortable interventions that may not be necessary. Only a doctor can give you this advice.
Do not take more BELSOMRA than prescribed.
Do not take BELSOMRA unless you are able to stay in bed a full night (at least 7 hours) before you must be active again.
Take BELSOMRA within 30 minutes of going to bed.
BELSOMRA may cause serious side effects that you may not know are happening to you. These side effects include:
sleepiness during the day
not thinking clearly
acting strangely, confused, or upset
“sleep-walking” or doing other activities when you are asleep like eating, talking, having sex, or driving a car.
Call your doctor right away if you find out that you have done any of these activities after taking BELSOMRA.
Do not take BELSOMRA if you fall asleep often at unexpected times (narcolepsy).
BELSOMRA is a controlled substance because it can be abused or cause dependence.
Before taking BELSOMRA, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
have a history of depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts
have a history of drug or alcohol abuse or addiction
have a history of a sudden onset of muscle weakness (cataplexy)
have a history of falling asleep often at unexpected times (narcolepsy) or daytime sleepiness
have lung or breathing problems
have liver problems
are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
Medicines can interact with each other, sometimes causing serious side effects. Do not take BELSOMRA with other medicines that can make you sleepy unless your doctor tells you to.
Call your doctor if your insomnia (sleep problem) worsens or is not better within 7 to 10 days. This may mean that there is another condition causing your sleep problem.
Do not drink alcohol while taking BELSOMRA. It can increase your chances of getting serious side effects.
Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, do anything dangerous, or do other activities that require clear thinking after taking BELSOMRA.
You may still feel drowsy the next day after taking BELSOMRA. Do not drive or do other dangerous activities until you feel fully awake.
BELSOMRA may cause serious side effects, including:
abnormal thoughts and behavior.
Symptoms include more outgoing or aggressive behavior than normal, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, worsening of depression, and suicidal thoughts or actions
memory loss
anxiety
temporary inability to move or talk (sleep paralysis) for up to several minutes while you are going to sleep or waking up
temporary weakness in your legs that can happen during the day or at night.
The most common side effects of BELSOMRA include drowsiness the next day after you take BELSOMRA.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit http://www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please read the accompanying Medication Guide for BELSOMRA and discuss it with your doctor. The physician Prescribing Information also is available.
Copyright © 2016 Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. All rights reserved.
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