A year full of harmony and understanding

I finally find the time to sit down and write my newsletter…
The holiday season is always such a hectic period and the year started strong. I’ve never really liked this season of the year for as a kid, my brother and I would spend Christmas away from my parents. They used to own a “pâtisserie” in France and my father was making everything from cakes, croissants, chocolates, to ice creams to savory dishes. I can sense what some of you are thinking: what a dream!! And yes, I loved it!! But as much as I was so happy to grow up surrounded by sugar, my brother and I never spent a Christmas with my parents for it was their busiest day of the year along with new year’s day.

But somehow the last few years, I started to get more into the Christmas spirit and I enjoy it a lot. I think what I like the most is the lights and the sense of warmth and coziness that holiday offers. We are so busy all the time that it feels so good to slow down and spend time with people we love.
For New Year’s eve, my husband and I also kept things quiet as we wanted to start the new year with clarity and intention. We went to the New York Insight meditationcenter from 9pm to 12.30am to welcome 2015 with meaning. I believe in the power of thoughts, how they affect our reality. And being able to spend this holiday meditating with like minded people was a blessing.

The week following the New Year, I asked my students to choose a word that would define 2015, that would be their theme for the year. Such a simple exercise but truly powerful. The word I chose is HARMONY. I will make 2015 a harmonious year at every level of my life and for the people who surround me.
Coming back to the power of our thoughts, I believe in setting an intention, in holding it clearly in your heart and mind so it can become a reality. Since January first, every time I felt an argument could arise, or I could be thrown off by a situation, I would remember that word: harmony. Right away I would stop the vicious cycle of my thoughts and my behavior would change.
In the yogic philosophy of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, that is referred to as the technique of “pratipaksha bhavanam” (sutras 2.33 and 2.34). It tells us to invite positive thoughts when negative thinking arises. This helps to eliminate the thoughts in our minds that we do not want and are not healthy for us.
Another way to control unwanted thoughts is to consider the principle of cause and effect. If thoughts are cause and experience is the effect, then we are asked to consider what the effects might be of our actions, thoughts and words. Will they be positive or negative?

Of course, as I chose the word harmony, little did I know that my country would be under attack and that over 2000 innocent people would be killed in Nigeria by Boko Haram. So where do we go from there?
I still believe more than ever that harmony, understanding and love are the answers. We need to understand that we are all the same and it’s only by coming together that we will create harmony. Love is always the answer. Let’s spread it every day even in the tiniest way, for it does make a difference.

“I strongly believe that love is the answer and that it can mend even the deepest unseen wounds. Love can heal, love can console, love can strengthen, and yes, love can make change.” Somaly Mam

I want to wish you a magical and peaceful year. May you be free from sufferings.
With Love,