Posted by: Bruce Black | January 1, 2014

The Gifts of a New Year

Today is the first day of the New Year, a fresh page in our journals, an empty mat inviting our bodies to explore new poses, new ways of being.

On this day of the year, as on each day of the year, we are the recipients of many gifts, if only we take a moment to notice them.

Look around as you open your journal or step on your mat today. What gifts do you see?

Each time we move and stretch, twist and bend—even the simple act of stepping on our mat to begin our practice—we are receiving gifts.

The muscles and bones that support us, even when we are unaware of the foundation they provide, are gifts.

The gift of our practice, which helps us strengthen our foundation and gives us the gift of strong, healthy muscles.

Mindfulness, too, is a gift, a skill that practice helps us cultivate so we can appreciate our lives more deeply, and feel gratitude for all the gifts that come our way.

The days themselves, each hour, each moment, are gifts, offering us the opportunity to choose how to live our lives or simply listen to our breath (another gift).

All of these choices—the simple ability to make choices—are gifts.

Each breath, a gift.

Our senses—the ability to feel, taste, hear, smell, and see—gifts.

The ability to move our toes, blink open and close our eyes—gifts.

The ability to use our mouth and tongue to speak, to kiss, our hands to hold a pen, to touch and express love, our fingers to type—gifts.

The chance to meet new people or find the courage to say hello, to break through the wall of isolation and step outside our own solitude, to make a new friend or study with a new teacher—gifts.

Even changes in your life—both the changes that you desire and those that you wish didn’t have to happen—are gifts, bringing awareness and gratitude to each moment for what you experience now.

Your practice can help you learn to change, to let go and welcome change rather than resist it. What changes will you choose to make in your life today and in the year ahead?

What gifts will you give yourself, as well as those you love and the strangers who you’ll meet, this year?

What will you give yourself in this moment so you can fully enjoy the gift of your life?

New Year’s Day is a gift, a blank page waiting for your first words to appear.

May your words—and the days ahead—bring you the gift of awareness to experience your life and your practice more fully in this moment and in all the moments yet to come.

Practice Journal: Close your eyes, inhale deeply to welcome the New Year, and exhale slowly. Then open your eyes and let your pen dance across the page, taking you to a place that you hadn’t expected to go. Give yourself the gift of a surprise as the New Year begins. Start writing and see where your pen takes you as the year unfolds. (If you’re stuck, think about a time when a surprise opened your eyes to the beauty in your life.) Write: 15 min.


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