It was the first yoga class of 2015 and my “intention” that I chose for my practice that day was “love, not fear.” Misty, one of the instructors at the yoga studio, had said that phrase a few weeks before and I grabbed those three words like a hungry child grabs a cookie. I challenged myself to live a new way.
I have been coaching myself with that phrase for the past couple of weeks and it has propelled me to not rush or dread what I needed to get done. It has revealed to me how often I do things without thinking and with a bit of annoyance. The phrase also has begun to unlock the awareness of how often I do things that I don’t need to keep doing.
It is the New Year and time to set a new way. Last year I resolved to be kinder to myself and to others. And I am kinder than I used to be, but the journey is more like the tortoise and the hare. New ways of kindness are slow and the journey takes time, actually, a lifetime. The phrase, ‘love not fear’ has allowed a new awareness of what my body is doing in the moment. Am I dreading? Am I resenting? Am I afraid? Am I grateful? Am I honored to be of service? Am I fully present with whomever I am with?
Asana is a Sanskrit word which means “sitting down”. It originally meant a sitting position. In the practice of Yoga it denoted the art of sitting still, but later was applied to any posture useful for restoring and maintaining a practitioner’s well-being and improving the body’s flexibility and vitality.
A good yoga teacher explains the importance of taking what you learn “off the mat”. I have been practicing sitting and meditating and breathing to quiet my mind. In the rush of living it has become a safe haven of calming balm. In that act of slowing, I have felt the love and peace of God. He restores and renews my mind and body.
In Jeremiah 28:9 it says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I can quiet my pounding heart and breathe in a manner consistent with His desire to prosper and not harm. It is not enough merely to believe, I am coming to understand my body is meant to participate in grace.
Our pastor today challenged us to spend time reading scripture and then twenty minutes in a dark closet listening to what Jesus is saying to us. He said that the first time you do this it will seem like three hours. And then he said, if you keep at it, in thirty days it will become the best part of your day.
As I look forward to what will come to pass in 2015 I know without question the older I become that more loss and struggle is ahead. I also know fear hastens the end and diminishes what joys are to be found in each passing day. As much as I want to make specific goals and resolutions for the New Year, I have taken on only one commitment: ‘love, not fear’. Three words. One intention. I will start tomorrow morning and wait to hear in the quiet, the voice of love.
Becky Allender lives on Bainbridge Island with her loving, wild husband of 36 years. A mother and grandmother, she is quite fond of sunshine, yoga, Hawaiian quilting and creating 17th Century reproduction samplers. A community of praying women, loving Jesus, and the art of gratitude fill her life with goodness. She wonders what she got herself into with Red Tent Living!
Love, not fear….I will work on that too Beck. I love that you write this!!!! >
Ahhh, yes, Jane…you are already elegantly living this is such a sad season.
Love this, mom! Inspirational as always! I went to get a yoga class I with you soon! xo
Thank you Annie! Let’s do yoga together! Filled with such joy thinking of Van’s birth 4 years ago today. You are an amazing woman who LIVES without fear and dread. I love you.
Becky, what you wrote resonated deeply with how I often engage the world…hurried and filled with doubt, interacting with those around me as if they are a jury eager to analyze my every move. I love the phrase you are carrying into 2015…and I think I’d like to borrow it for myself too. Thank you.
Thank you, Katy. Borrowing is an awesome idea….exactly what I did. Excited for you! Congratulations.
More loss and struggle ahead….it’s a wonder we get out of bed!
And yet the Master beckons, “Fear not.”
We’re given a thousand senses,
but told to not trust them,
but to trust the maker of our hearts.
Love, not fear.
And yet we face battle daily.
So many contradictions…
Thank God for the fellowship of like-minded believers,
for we are, indeed, a peculiar people.
Love you, dear Becky. With you, for you, praying.
Kellli! Yes….we are a peculiar people. You are stepping out in huge ways and I will remember to pray for you as you become more who you are meant to be! And fellowship with like-minded believers is so important. Thanks for writing that! I am so proud of you to go after what you want….in the name of Jesus.
I love your resolve…
Simple and powerful words to sit and dwell with this new year.
May Gods love radiate every cell of your being and propel you into joy unspeakable!
Thank you, thank you for that blessing you gave me. It brought me joy and strength!
Oh how I love you, Becky! Thank you for inspiring me today.
Thank you Ruth….you who inspires people all the time! Thank you.
Thanks,Becky for the much needed inspiration, love,not fear!!! To easy in this unsettled world to get caught up in the fear and unknown all around us everyday. Ive been repeating daily,Jesus ,Jesus,Jesus,I trust in you.That helps calm my troubled heart!! Love to you and your family!!!!
Love to you and Gene. Thank you, Donna. How your being still brings love and joy to me. You make a difference!
Thank you Jan!
Dear Becky, “fear hastens the end and diminishes what joys are to be found in each passing day”. Your words invite me to stop and think about places this past year where I have thought back with fear of “not enough” or done well” or “wish I had a do-over.” Also places where I have thought forward with the fear of “what’s coming? will it be hard? can I handle it?” What here and now moments have I missed in the fear of what was and what is to come. Thank you for giving me a place to stop and reconsider what it might look like to live in the moment. I’m waiting on my word for 2015. I think it has the word “live” in it, but not certain yet what God will add to that.
Valerie…let me know when God fills in the rest of the words for 2015 for you! Ahhh, yes to not thinking forward about what’s coming or can I handle it. Oh…to be in the present with trust and peace and joy…..
You always are an encouragement to me….hugs across the many miles.
I love your realization, “…It is not enough merely to believe, I am coming to understand my body is meant to participate in grace”. Thank you so much for sharing that. What a beautiful kindness.
Love, love and understand your “love, not fear”. I have been clinging to a version of those words given to me weeks ago, through 1John 4:18, and my soul is being transformed. The affirmation feels wonderful. Thanks again. Many blessings to you.
Christine, Thank you for this beautiful verse: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Wow….we MUST NOT FEAR!!!!! Blessings right back at you!
Just lovely…thank you!
I loved your last post Mary Jane! Thank you!
Thank you for this wonderful post, Becky! It came in the midst of feeling anxiety and grief as I wrote my story for the next certificate session. I am finding that simple phrase powerful to orient my heart to goodness and I adopted it into my words for the New Year.
Oh, that is fabulous! You are ahead of me…I am grateful this helped with grief and anxiety.
“New ways of kindness are slow and the journey takes time, actually, a lifetime.” I have been thinking about this a lot…it’s always encouraging to see someone else speak it, and you do with such beautiful invitation. Thank you!
Thank you Janet! Your words encourage me and spur me on to love and good deeds and…kindness!
Thank you for 3 words…I love when you write about yoga; I’ve been learning so much for life in yoga as well. My intention is to love (better, more) – God, myself, others. How can I love others well when I don’t love myself? I read the love chapter New Year’s Eve; I pondered “faith, hope, and love” – I have a good foundation of faith, my hope is strong that God will bring beauty out of continual losses, but my love needs fully intended growth. The “not fear” part didn’t enter my mind that night, but fear does enter it at times, and I forget to breathe deeply the love of God for me.
Yes…it is true, with fear, or anxiety or rushing…we are not fully loving and trusting God in everything. Even the minutes of our day. Thank you for encouraging me to write about yoga. It helps me be in my body and be diligent in taking care of my body for that is very important in the long haul!
Love not fear, and holding the awareness in my body…thank you for this Becky.
Thank you, Tracy. Yes…our bodies are very important in telling us what is kind and trusting.
This is such a beautiful invitation. Thank you Becky.
Thank you. I will never “graduate” from needing to be reminded to love, not fear. But failure is not the end all….it is the prompting to love.
Love your practice, your example, but most of all how you share it so beautifully.
Thank you, thank you. That is a blessing to hear.