The New Year is here. Traditionally,healthy-living goals are set for the 'new, improved YOU'. Whether we write them down, shrug them off, or wait until Chinese New Year, like my friend and warrior Steve Mazan said he was doing; one way or another, we review our past and think about the future. We are looking toward the future and hoping.
For cancer warriors, it may be daunting to set wellness goals that depend less on our willpower but more on chemo schedules and doctor appointments. Many of my students are facing difficult decisions about surgery and new chemo cocktails. Where do goals for the 2012 fit in? Wondering if this is their last year - where do goals come in?
I believe that hope is built into our psyche's, just as much as breathing is hardwired into our autonomic system. We wake up each dawn with a new hope for the day. It's called living. Goals help us shape and define our core beliefs; what is essential for our lives. During cancer, my goals were simple, I wanted to spend as much time with my then 16 year old daughter, being her mom. Cancer treatments made it difficult for me to take care of myself, let along do a lot of mothering. You know, house cleaning, laundry, carpooling, lunchboxes, healthy dinners. So, I had to think about the limited energy I had and spend it wisely. This usually meant that I could choose one thing to accomplish in the day and I saved energy to have conversations with her, sit outside in the garden, listen to her school reports. These were my goals. The physical practice of Hatha yoga was beyond my energy level, during cancer treatment. But the yoga of heart and mind was very present for me. I meditated, practice aspects of yogic living, and developed compassion for myself and for others.
Wherever you are in your cancer journey, yoga will meet you. It enhances our lives with its compassionate teachings. Don't stop at wellness being just about physical goals, use yoga's philosophy to define inner growth as equally important throughout life and beyond.