January is one of the few times during the calendar year when we put pressure on ourselves to transform. While in modern culture's consumerism we are encouraged to buy the latest version of a gadget to replace the last, “2014 Me is going to be so much better than the 2013 Me” may not be the best mantra when looking for an update or creating change of self. Tossing 2013 aside just to exchange it for 2014, trading past for future, could diminish the hard-earned results of our ongoing transformation over a lifetime. Lifelong transformation navigates a series of experiences, failures, minutes, and months. It would not behoove us to toss that collection away completely. We risk losing our foundation and constitutions. How could we frame new experiences if we couldn't align them with experiences from our past?
The month of January is named after the Greek god Janus, a two-faced deity, as depicted above, that looks both into the past and future and symbolizes times of transition. Janus may not seem like a hero of the present moment for us to use in our practice as he looks in two directions. However, if Janus' two heads are gazing towards past and future, the center of his being must be in the present, right?
During the last weeks of 2013 and since 2014 started, I have been supporting my students on the mat with thematics of transition. Donning our best Janus headdresses, we have been exploring play between leaning back and taking risks in diving forward. To punctuate our mat dancing, we have focused on staying relatively still in postures and incorporating complex postures that take time for the getting in and getting out. It is interesting to observe how much more readily students connect to the concepts of moving and passing through than to the moments of sitting with what comes up in challenges or stillness. Being in the present is truly difficult work! Perhaps we can view the first month of 2014 as a series of present moments bridging the gaps from past to future in an ongoing flow. There is a distinct grace in this mode of transformation.
If you set resolutions and goals for yourself in 2014, by all means acknowledge the truth behind what inspires this call for change. Take the challenge for self-evolution, embrace it with both arms, and begin your graceful transformation dance. Take a dip, add a leap, move in circles, tip toe, stomp, swing, shuffle, and pause from time to time to re-adjust your Janus headdress.
- TaraMarie Perri