“Reflections & Intentions”

  I spent the morning reviewing my post from the first of this year.  Well, that was unexpected.  Funny, reading all the hopes and plans for 2020 listed in January: Plans for work and pleasure…Yoga classes and school IN PERSON…travel to Italy…to the US…dinner parties…connecting with people…*sigh*

  I like to give a theme to the year at it’s completion. Usually I do it through the lens of Yoga’s Principles for Connection.  In particular, using the cues from Deb Adele’s book on the Yamas & Niyamas.  If 2019 was about Self-Discipline and Self-Study, then 2020 was certainly an experiment in Non-attachment and Surrender.   

  To make sense of it all I’ve used the journaling prompts of dear friend and colleague, Amy Fogarty at Yara Yoga.  Like her, I use the space at the end of the year as a time to look back on what the past year brought as well as to get clear on what I want to create in the coming one.  Check out her site if you are looking for a beautifully held space to attend classes online.


2020 Reflections

  • Lessons & Growth? Non-Attachment, Surrender, Contentment
  • Most Challenging? Being single during covid
  • Most Beautiful? Being single during covid

2021 Intentions

  • Word anchors? Freedom & Connection
  • More of? Sharing the Tools & Practices of Yoga
  • Less of? Solitude
  • Dreams & Desires? Family & Community

2020 Reflection #1 Non-Attachment

Not looking externally to have my needs met.  How heavy is that backpack that I’m lugging around?  What is heaviest in it? Expectation? Fear? Emotions? Roles? Routine? Plans? Identity? Resentments?

  Coming home from Mexico in March, so in love with life and PEOPLE, wanting to connect and yet having to return to “the cave” of solitude, (it is no longer a fortress).  Sitting with the global and personal implications of covid during my 2 weeks of self-isolation, I felt that a monumental invitation was being given to us all. School would be completed through one means or another and life would look a lot different.  The thought of selling my house and moving to Mexico was off the table, (at least the Mexico part).  But with the uncertainty of what work would look like in the coming months I decided to embark on the biggest experiment for me yet.  How unattached could I be to my stuff, to my way of doing things, to routine, to my Home?  Could I transition from the safety of the cave to the unknown of wandering free as a gypsy?  Could I let go of it all?

  Letting go using the Breath as Teacher: Just like each breath; in order for there to be space for what wants to come in, I needed to become aware and let go of what was no longer working.  I can’t inhale if I don’t exhale.  All of Life is learning to be in right relationship between taking in and letting go. I can choose to make room, to make time and space to notice what isn’t serving me or I can keep taking on more and more, instead of growing, becoming overwhelmed.  The breath also serves to demonstrate that everything is always changing.  Change is the only constant.  Could I learn to live with the freedom to work & do what I love without worrying about the outcome, to rely less on “security”, and to experience life, (both the challenges and the rewards), as they came?  

The invitation was to practice intimacy in connection without possession…to hold and experience life with an open hand.

2020 Reflection #2 Surrender

Reverence: Recognition that the Sacred is always present. Trusting that what needs to come next will.  Devotion to living with purpose and meaning.  Showing up open and excited to see what adventure, what connection awaits.

  Selling my house with everything in it, packing up the essentials in my vehicle and driving into the unknown was the best way I knew to signal the Universe that I trust what wants to come next into my life.  It was extremely freeing being without the debt and responsibility that comes with home ownership.  It was also very ungrounding.  The road trip west was cut short for a couple reasons, one of which was the overwhelm of driving around with everything I own in my vehicle.  Turns out I really do like routine and a small, organized space from which to work and live.  

  The second piece of surrender required me to accept the help of friends and family. To take people up on their offerings of kindness in a place to stay or in meals cooked for me.  For that I am eternally grateful.  Without the unconditional love and support of friendships this year, life would not have been as much fun or filled with as much laughter and wine.  Having a safe space to process life experience makes all the difference.  

Being able to be completely seen by another person, loved and accepted without judgment is another.  I am supremely grateful for my circle.

2020 Reflection #3 Contentment

The moment is complete.  Can I fall in love with my life, as it is, while noticing where I feel content and where I don’t?  Allowing myself to feel the discomfort of challenging times instead of numbing out. 

Most challenging aspect of 2020: Being single during covid                                        

Most beautiful aspect of 2020: Being single during covid

 Happily being on my side of the grass. With awareness, respect and compassion for those on the other side.  Glass half full.  Clearly there are pros and cons to both sides.  I see this going along with the “both/and” philosophy.  Life is opposites. Contrast.  You can’t appreciate one without the other.  In yoga philosophy we are here to dissolve the opposites, realize we are not separate and return to our true nature of connection. 

 Being single in a time of social distancing, limited opportunities to be out, and in the toughest times having to stay inside, alone, for weeks at a time wasn’t entirely foreign to me.  But a part of my personal transformation has been to fall in love with people again.  I dropped my self-imposed Fortress of Solitude, in exchange for the choice to play with discipline and self-study in my Cave of Solitude of 2019. My time reconnecting to the world in the early part of this year left me with the realization that I am ready for and open to relationship.  For community.  For Family.  Being with and talking to people about things that matter LIGHTS ME UP!  Creating space to listen; to see, hear and understand each other without judgment.  Finding ways to do this during covid has brought the luxury of working solely from home. I have a ton of appreciation for being able to do what I want with my time and the freedom that comes with not having other humans to be responsible for.  Also a huge respect for multi-person families living and working together throughout imposed periods of isolation.  Whichever side you landed on in this, we were all given a huge “Opportunity for Growth”.  

The ability to be content with what is, to “be” without needing to change anything about the moment, and to watch and feel myself have the experience whether it was pain or pleasure. To see myself as consciousness experiencing itself in a temporary experiment in this “Jen Suit” requires the ability to pan out the lens of life and remember daily that I am connected to the whole.  To the Allness of everything.  There really is no separate “me” or “you”…in the big picture.  We are all just connected points of the same Light. Waves in the same ocean.  Endless desire to create and destroy, live and die, evolve and transform, experiment to experiment, learning to be more loving and more free as we go.

These were the gifts of 2020.

2021 Intentions

  • Word anchors? Freedom & Connection
  • More of? Sharing the Tools & Practices of Yoga
  • Less of? Solitude
  • Dreams & Desires? Family & Community

  It is my hope to enter 2021 prepared to show up and share the ways that I arrived to this place of Freedom and Connection in life.  I have the honor of holding space for future Yoga Therapists and their guides through the Yoga North SomaYoga Institute’s Mentor Program.  I get to lead calls delving into these principles of connection.  I have been asked to return to work with the Centre for Mindfulness in Public Safety as they deliver Mindfulness Based Wellness and Resiliency Training to Ontario Correctional Staff.  I get to work together online with private clients and students sharing the tools and practices of Yoga Therapy.  I am also working on writing and publishing a Self Care Guide.  Finally, I carry into 2021 the intention for less time alone and more time creating community, family and relationship.  

No expectations, less doing, more “being”.

Experiments.  Noticing. Curiosity

Awareness brings Choice

Choice brings Change

Self-Responsibility * Self-Regulation * Self-Study * Self-Care

“Freedom is CONNECTION to and exploration of our internal landscape.”

Freedom through Connection & Self Care

Jen Aarnamo C-IAYT

Mind Body Whole Wellness

Yoga Therapist

SRT Training

(807) 621-0615

Email: mindbodywholewellness@hotmail.com

Web: mindbodywholewellness.com

FB: Mindbody Wholewellness

Instagram: mindbodywholewellness

iTunes Podcast: Freedom through Self Care

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