Several weeks back in January, the Minnesota weather tested my endurance to cold by throwing us some awesome -8 degree weather, which actually felt more like it was in the -20 degree department. So, in order to prove that we are made of hardcore northern Viking material, my man and I bundled up layers of clothing, hats, mittens, scarves, wool socks, and put yak tracks on our boots. By the time we arrived at the dog park with puppy boy, all you could see of our skin was our eye balls.
The best part about the particular park we went to on this late Sunday morning is the hills and trails. While your dog is off leash running anywhere and everywhere to check out all the smells, you can hike up and down these steep pathways and work up a pretty good sweat. Moon Boy is pretty darn cute and will run ahead and explore, but will always stay at a safe distance where he can check in to make sure we are still there following behind.
At one point, we decided to veer off to the left and head up another path we had yet to take, so we called out to Moon, who was of course already ahead of us, as we trudged on in the new direction. What happened next caught me by surprise. I had expected Moon to turn around, come back along the path he had already been on, and THEN make his way up the same path we had just begun. But instead (!), he crashed through the trees and brush to make a straight beeline from where he was as he sprinted to the path ahead of us. Rather than retrace his steps, Moon forged a new path to get from point A to point B.
This broken expectation, while a super small blip in a moment in time and could easily have gone unnoticed, got me thinking! How often in my life have a followed a course of action just because I already had it mapped out and not necessarily because it was the most efficient or healthy option? How often do I trudge on because it's "what I'm supposed to do" instead of looking for other ways of doing things that might be more direct, ease-ful, or enjoyable? How often do I ignore my instincts and intuition because it's not as clear cut or perfectly paved? And what holds me back from dashing towards my end vision or dream that I can see in my minds eye? Fear? Uncertainty? Old thought patterns that don't give me the room to see a new way?
Now, there's definitely something to be said for sticking to a plan and following through with it to the end. There are absolutely times when completing a course of action or standing by a decision is valuable and essential. But this experience also showed me the value in taking pause to EXPLORE what's working and what's not. Giving the opportunity to DECIDE to stay or DECIDE to change it up. What is in my best interest and what is harming me? Where might there be other options or paths that would get me to the same outcome but in a more ease-ful or more exciting way?
Taking time to contemplate these questions once a month (or more) is super valuable to make sure we are living a life that feels authentic and true to our highest selves. Sometimes things change for us and sometimes staying the course is what feels best because dedicated time on a project or purpose or goal is what is needed. With the fast paced, busy lives we lead, we can forget to evaluate, so having a regular check-in with ourselves helps remind us that we are always a work in progress and there's always room for growth or movement.
Using Moon's namesake here as inspiration can be helpful as each month the moon becomes dark in the sky. The new moon is an invitation to go inward... to check in with your heart, your core… to examine how you feel on the inside versus what's going on in your external world. What feels aligned for you and what feels out of balance? What good changes are working and what still need some adjusting and editing? Maybe with that quiet moment with yourself you realize that your job makes you really happy or grounded right now, even if it wasn't what you thought you'd be doing. Maybe you discover you'd rather do an in-person class, because the on-line course you've been taking isn't lighting you up like you thought. Maybe you realize that your body needs better nutrition before you incorporate so much exercise. Maybe it's realizing you need the joy and thrill of a new adventure to mix up the day to day normality. Or maybe it's finding that you are super content with the way things are right now, so you're just going to enjoy and savor where you are.
This Monday, Feb 8th, 2016 is new moon time. I encourage you to take a few minutes to yourself. Light a candle. Pull out a journal if that's your thing. Close your eyes gently and place a hand to your heart. And listen to what your inner guide tells you about what's happening for you. Then you can make a choice…. you can keep going in the direction your headed or you can veer off to the left to take a new path or you could sprint through the trees to add a little spontaneity to your journey. There is no right or wrong answer. Your inner wisdom will know exactly what to do for you.
**MN loves, if you're wanting some guidance or clarity about your journey or decisions in life, come join me for a Breathwork Healing Circle on Friday, Feb 26th, 2016 and let the breath help clear some space for contemplation. More information about it here on the event page. Private sessions also available for long-distance sessions.