Mantras For The New Year

I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to think about what my word for this year would be.

People like me who don’t make resolutions sometimes pick a word or a theme to guide them through the year as a kind of north star.

 I was having trouble this year. I shuffled through my Feeling and Needs cards, but nothing resonated. 

Then I noticed a Thich Nat Hahn book on my side table: This Moment Is Full of Wonders.

I flipped through it and found some juicy contenders:



Let go

Be Free Where You Are

Go As A River

Are you sure?

Now Is The Time

This Moment Is Full of Wonders 

No Mud No Lotus

This Is It

 No Mud No Lotus made me smile. Yes, I thought, this is perfect for times when I struggle; for times when I want to jump ship, and abandon the project.

Mud stands for hard work, darkness, not knowing, not being sure. Mud is lack of clarity. 

Clear as mud.

Lotus is the flower, the fruit, the result of the hard work, the deep introspection.

No mud no lotus.

So I decided this would be my mantra for 2019.

But it seemed a little dark, a little hair-shirty.

I needed something for the times when I wasn’t in deep struggle.

This Moment Is Full of Wonders.

I liked that. I liked that a lot. 

I like the word wonder

Wonder is an attitude of amazement. It is also a attitude of questioning, of not knowing. And that’s a space I’d like to learn how live in more comfortably, for sure. 

If it became my mantra it could remind me to look for those wonders in every moment. 

I could use it on the yoga mat, This moment is full of wonders, as I’m breathing in a posture. 

This moment is full of wonders as I’m filling the dishwasher. 

This moment is full of wonders as I fold the laundry. 

This moment is full of wonders as I walk Stella through the town and countryside. 

Today I road tested it  as I sat in the periodontist’s chair: This moment is full of wonders: the light glinting off the adjustable lamp, the sand-colored paint on the walls, the sound of the sonic tooth blaster thing, the dentist office’s version of Bohemian Rhapsody playing softly on the radio. 

This moment is full of wonders.

If I were forced to pick just one word for this year though, it would have to be Wonder. 

Wonder in the sense of amazement, like in the Mary Oliver poem where she wants to be “a bride married to amazement.” 

But also Wonder in the sense of curiosity and not-knowing.

So for 2019, it’s 2 mantras and Wonder. I think I’m off to a good start.

Happy New Year.

Yes, the Mantra

I run hot and cold with mantras.  I was really into japa mala for a long time.  Chanted a long Sanskrit mantra taught to me during a training at Kripalu. (Om namo bhagavate vasu devya.) Wore my mala everywhere.  I still have one hanging from the rearview mirror of my car.  It came in handy during “waiting” times.

(Now I read my Kindle during long waits.)

That Sanskrit mantra was too long, though.  I could never get my breath around it.  I switched to a shorter English one at another training, and I still use that one from time to time, and I like it a lot. (“I open myself to you.”)

A few months ago I was on a “Thank-you” mantra-jag.  That one was very, very  nice.

I say my mantras with a mala—108 beads, 1 recitation of the mantra for each bead.

As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, my morning ashtanga practice makes me feel very quiet and meditative inside, so I’ve taken to sitting on my cushion after savasana with my beads and do japa mala.

This morning, for some inexplicable reason, I started chanting “Yes” as my mantra.

108 recitations of “yes.”

Whatever the question, or even if there is no question, the answer, the response, will always be“Yes.”

“Yes” is opening me up.  I believe this could very well be the year of “Yes.”

I watched Jim Carey’s movie “Yes Man” last weekend.  (cute.) And I read a section of Improv Wisdom that suggested an exercise of a week of saying “yes” to everything.


A piece of apple pie now?