As I welcome 2019 this week, I’m getting ready for my birthday. It’s not a special birthday this year. No bells and whistles like last year when I turned 60 and entered the next big chapter. Now it’s time to keep evolving personally and positively after 60.
I like the word “evolve.” It makes me feel like I’m moving forward in an affirmative way. And the “personal” side provides a little self care.
Evolving Personally with Intention and Attention
In my end of year yoga classes, I shared wisdom from one of my favorite yogis, Dr. Deepak Chopra. I find his thoughts on evolving personally inspiring. With the beginning of the new year I thought it fitting to share this wisdom with my blog readers too.
Dr. Chopra says that a better way to find the good in a chaotic world (which you have to admit most days we’re in right now) is “to evolve personally.” He says “personal evolution requires two things: intention and attention.”
For those of you who may be yogis you know that at the beginning of each class you set an intention. An intention is set in the first person and present tense, starting with “I am” and finishing the sentence. It’s a way to help you stay focused during your practice.
When it comes to evolving personally, Dr. Chopra says that “the most important intention is the desire to evolve. And you can carry out this intention every day, no matter where you find yourself.”
Attention is the other half of the equation. Here’s the KEY thing about attention.
Dr. Chopra says: “Evolution typically means progress, but in terms of consciousness, a better working definition is expansion: if you can expand your consciousness today, tomorrow, and every day after that, you will evolve during your whole lifetime.”
Sounds easy, right? Hold on, there’s another IMPORTANT point.
The opposite of expansion is contraction.” Dr. Chopra says: “Every day you should try to put your attention on things that expand awareness and avoid things that lead to contracted awareness.” I like this approach and plan to try it during my life after 60.
Focusing on Expansion
Dr. Chopra is so helpful when he gives advice. That’s why I like to read his posts. He says awareness expands when you put your attention on the following nine things:
Looking forward to 2019, I hope to put my attention on these things. For example, whenever I call my daughter A and son D, I always end the conversation by saying, “I love you.” I say that to my boyfriend L too. You can never say “I love you,” enough to those you hold close. I especially realized that after the passing of my husband M many years ago.
I feel grateful that I’ve been able to show compassion, kindness and giving through my yoga teaching. In 2018 I taught more than 80 hours of yoga. Sharing the benefits of this ancient practice with teens, adults and seniors brings me great joy. I hope to continue my teaching in 2019.
Most mornings I meditate. I have a special zafu pillow that I sit on in my bedroom. I use the Meditate Me app. There’s a 5, 10, 20 and 30 minute program. It’s very relaxing. I highly recommend this app.
As for experiencing nature, when I eat breakfast I like to look outside and watch the squirrels scamper by. During the spring and summer months at dinnertime when the days are longer, I like to watch the bunnies eating the grass (and sometimes eating my flowers from my flower pots). Taking walks outside, being able to watch the seasons change are all so wonderful. I find I appreciate the outdoors and nature more and more as I grow older.
Beyond reading Dr, Chopra’s inspiring essays, there’s a book I like called Heart Talk – Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life by Cleo Wade. I read her poetry in my yoga classes. She writes about love, gratitude and other uplifting topics.
Blogging is one of my creative outlets. Recently, I worked with a web designer to contemporize the look and feel of my blog. The pictures are bolder, the layout is brighter and the navigation easier to use. I hope you’ll peruse and let me know what you think.
Traveling around the world and seeing new places and meeting new people makes me joyful. I’m lucky to have traveled to many incredible countries this year — Canada, France, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Sharing the places I’ve been with my readers and hearing your comments brings me joy.
The Negative Side of the Equation
While we all wish life could just be about expanding. Dr. Chopra says that “once you have the daily intention to evolve, the negative side of the equation must be attended to.” He says that there are 10 things that cause awareness contraction:
Ooh, ooh, ooh, I wish I could put these things in a box and just ship them off to sea. Lack of sleep is high up on my list due to my lack of estrogen. And after saying yes to all the travel, oftentimes my body and my mind feel exhausted and fatigued and need rest. Unfortunately, my illness with bladder cancer hit me big last year. I did recuperate in early 2018. Thankfully my quarterly scopes have been cancer-free since then. I hope they stay that way into 2019 and beyond.
Planning a New Lifestyle for 2019
So what do you think? Do you like this way of bringing orderliness into your life for 2019?
Dr. Chopra recommends sitting down and carefully considering each item. He says if you do this you can begin to plan a new lifestyle devoted to your personal evolution. “An easy start is to choose two things from the lists – first, identify the easiest thing you can do to evolve, then identify the easiest thing you can eliminate or improve that has kept your awareness contracted.” (Note: He does advise that if there are serious issues that are causing your awareness contraction that you reach out for help and support.) One negative factor can sometimes overwhelm all the positive ones.
I know for myself, just bringing awareness to the negative things helps me make change. Through my yoga and mindfulness practice I’ve become a better practitioner of recognizing the things that cause my awareness contraction.
Wow-o-wow! That was a lot of information. Best to take it in bite by bite. Maybe print out a copy of this blog post or of the actual article by Dr. Chopra.
Finally, Dr. Chopra says evolution becomes easier as you progress. What you are aiming for is a lifestyle that is conscious and creative, with creative meaning you are creating your best life every day.
So what do you think? Do you like this way of bringing orderliness into your life for 2019? Leave a comment and let me know how you plan to expand this year.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year ♥