During a quiet hike earlier this month, I arrived at a decision. This holiday season I decided that I could not take all the clutter and tchotchke. As a result, a lot of Christmas decorations went back into crates instead of going up and around the house. The result has been liberating. Less stuff means that we can really showcase the decorations that mean the most to us.
I decided to extend the idea of "less is more" to other holiday rituals too. Fewer cookies to bake, fewer presents, fewer commitments. This is a weird Christmas for us....the first one since my mom died in January. Maybe "weird" is the wrong word. It's so many emotions though, that "weird" seems to be the best general descriptor. Anyway, we needed a change from our regular Christmases and New Years celebrations and traditions. Then, lo and behold, we come to the last Yama at the perfect time.
Aparigraha is the name of the 5th Yama. It can be defined as 'non-hoarding." In a material context, this one is pretty easy to understand. It's sort of the "spring cleaning" Yama. (It is also the Yama that I should be remembering when I'm online shopping after a crappy day.)
Aparigraha cautions us against greediness and "over filling our plates."
Aparigraha is also figurative in meaning. Sometimes when we sign up for everything because we want to help, what we are really doing instead is feeding our ego. If you are the head of every committee or the person who always signs up for the most stuff to bring to do for an event, you might want to sit yourself down with a cup of hot cocoa and think about why you are doing this.
I'm not suggesting that you see yourself as the only qualified person around, but the ego-driven over extending could point to something else. Could the over extending and "hoarding" of busyness mean that you don't want to be still enough with yourself to think about how you feel? Could you be over extending yourself because, in reality, you don't feel like you are very important or deserving at all?
Whatever the reason, it's a good idea to be gentle with yourself and to give yourself credit for being honest with yourself. And then......sweep away those negative feelings with a good, energetic yoga practice, a brisk walk, a rousingly loud singing session, whatever. Just do something to whisk away the extra junk that's bringing you down.
We are nearing the New Year. Although it's cliche, the coming New Year really is a good time to evaluate what makes you happy and what you'd like to get rid of too. This includes all the stuff about ourselves that is making us feel positive or, conversely, is not feeling making us feel so great. You can do it! I'm cheering you on as I work on my own "stuff" that I need to do too. We are in this together, you know.
I will be back in two weeks with the first post of 2017. Until then, I wish you peace, love, and joy. And, hey! Don't forget about the Winter Solstice on December 21. Try to squeeze in a sun salutation outside (?!), or at least for for a little walk on the shortest day of the year to soak in winter or to dream about spring. However you connect yourself to nature that day, you can't go wrong.
Classes: Come practice with me. Take a peek at the calendar to see the wheres and the whens
Next Blog Post: The Powerful, Yet Mystical, Psoas