Hello 2016: Setting Intentions for the New Year January 01, 2016 06:52

It's that time of year again--January 1--the start of a new year.  The potential and hope of 2016 is wide open and waiting.  All we have to do is realize that potential. Right? In theory, yes, but in practice, things can grow a little murky and uncertain.

This year, I have committed to sitting in meditation every day--even if it's for just five minutes; my intention is to establish a seated meditation practice.  Chanting in my car on the way to work--piece of cake. Moving meditation--whether while walking or while practicing a slow yoga vinyasa, no problem.  At some point during the day, I usually sit in a chair or on the couch and complete a round of chanting with a mala, but it's not necessarily in the same place--and it isn't necessarily quiet.  I may hear the sound of the TV drifting in from another room, or my husband or daughter will enter whatever room I'm in to ask me a question, or the bell will ring during a passing period at school, and my practice will be accompanied by the sounds of teenagers shuffling and chatting in the hall.

This year, things are going to be different. I even invested in a lovely zafu and zabuton set (thanks to Dharma Crafts) as an additional incentive and spent over an hour cleaning the living room which had been taken over by various boxes, bags, and books from my daughter's college dorm room.

It's January 1. I've cleared the space. I've made the time. I have the house to myself. I have a lovely place to sit and meditate. What could possibly go wrong?  As I settle onto my meditation cushion and begin to connect with the rhythm of my breath, Maya, our four-pound Yorkie, and Hugo, our 100-pound Bouvier, decide that now is a good time to chase each other around the house.  Hugo is twelve-years old, so his hips are a little arthritic, and he's a bit clumsy now as he stomps around the house like Frankenstein's monster trying to keep up with two-year-old Maya. 

This, in and of itself, isn't bad.  I can deal with the occasional sounds of the trash can or chairs being bumped around in the kitchen.  Even the fast-paced sounds of Maya running around like Speedy Gonzalez followed by Hugo's labored clomping are manageable.  It's when they both stop running in the hallway--and it gets really quiet--I can't abide that.  I know what's happening--Maya has rolled over, showing her belly--and Hugo is licking her belly, and her face, and her legs, until she's totally soaked in his big dog saliva--wet,sticky,and smelling weird--that I can't handle.  

 I open my eyes, sigh, and walk down the hall, where they are both staring at me like guilty toddlers. Hugo is drooling on the floor, and Maya is a soaking-wet pupsicle. I grab a towel from the bathroom closet, clean up the puddle in the hall, scoop Maya up in my arms, and walk back to my meditation cushion. Hugo lumbers into the living room and sits down next to me, resting his head on the corner of my zabuton. Maya is in my lap wrapped up in the towel.  They both settle and become still.

It takes me a hot second to recover from this ridiculous interruption.  After about a minute, my giggling subsides, my breathing settles, and I am able, at last, to meditate. It didn't happen like I had imagined, but it did happen, and I was able to share my experience with my two puppy children, and, honestly, they seemed pretty open to the experience.  That's the way it goes with resolutions...or intentions...or anything else, for that matter. Unexpected glitches occur, and things don't usually go as planned, but with a little patience, perseverance, and creative adjusting, they do eventually happen. Only 364 days to go....wish me luck. Happy 2016 everyone!