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Sacred Effort

It’s 2017. We are all leaping into the New Year. Perhaps some of us, or most of us may be slowly waltzing instead. The classic slow waltz steps to a tune and beat that is smooth and sweet – not too slow or too fast. But, within the dance itself, there’s a commitment. And, yet, not just any commitment, a commitment to the flow of the dance as a whole. Each individual step creates something beautiful that we know of as the slow waltz. That’s the image I conjure up when I think of the phrase Sacred Effort.

A dear friend recently asked me about my word for the year. I love choosing a new word each year. I have a whole ritual that goes around the annual word choosing. It’s nothing super intricate; it’s pretty simple actually. I meditate at the beginning of the New Year with the intention of being open to any word or words that dominate my awareness. Most of the time I argue with the word(s) that pry themselves into my consciousness and it goes like this, “Really? That’s my word… uh no, I want something more airy, more light, more exciting!” Well, this internal discourse can go on for a while. I must confess that I have to begrudgingly let go.

So, there I was meditating with my soul sister in the Brahmananda Ashram in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve and instead of one word this phrase kept swirling around my awareness – Sacred Effort. This time I was a little more welcoming. Perhaps that’s a sign of my maturity. Or maybe it was a sign of my age and I was already getting tired before the turn of the year, ha! Either way, when these words entered my headspace, it immediately connected to my heart space and for the first time in a while of doing this ritual, I accepted it. Ironically, accepting “Sacred Effort” for my 2017 word/phrase was rather effortless.

While I’ve stacked my list with things to do and accomplish, people to see, and places to go – I’m a Type A Pita-Vata ENFJ personality package of intense, dedicated, and sweet all at the same time with varied degrees of intensity – I’m also looking at my list with more ease, more compassion, and more effort. But, most importantly, it’s not just any effort; it’s a sacred effort. I’m learning to shape who I am at the core with more holiness. In market management terms, it’s a bit like prioritizing. The effort I put forward this year will be to those things I hold not only most important, meaning the things that feed and nourish my mind, body, and spirit and keep them in healthy balance, but it will be done with the intention to sanctify the energy and action that I put forward to accomplish all my Type A endeavors. That’s my lofty goal at least.

Then again, maybe I’m recognizing more in my spiritual practice and in my life when to say “no” and when to say “yes” to things. I’m learning to discern with more prudence. It’s still a delicate balance to hold and I mess up more times than I’m willing to admit. I like to think of myself as dancing to the smooth and sweet steps of my life with the right amount of effort that it seamlessly flows. In that moment of the dance, the formula disappears and the art stuns the viewer in a moment of holy awareness. Sometimes that holy awareness is just the sweetness of our breath, at other times it’s our gaze at something beautiful, and still at other times it’s a culmination of our dedication to something we hold dear that blossoms at the tireless effort we put forward. There’s something inherently sacred wrapped around that.

Cheers to Sacred Effort in 2017 and a fresh start to you and yours.

Om Shanti Om ~ Athea


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