Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote:
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

The year is going, characterized by the now dimly lit winter days and the tidings for the coming new year. And so, yes, let him go. Like any good yogi, it is time to surrender ourselves to the dawning of a new day, a new year, and to allow ourselves the opportunity to be part of this new year one day at a time, letting go of all of the notions and expectations that we had for 2011 and working to find peace with what has been. Ring out the need to be in control, to criticize yourself for what has not been. Ring out the tension and tightness in your jaw, the harbor of resentments that you’ve docked yourself in. Ring in forgiveness and tolerance, compassion and love. Time and again, as yoga practitioners we are reminded that enlightenment does not bring us some new and outward gift; enlightenment is an aligning to our true self, a self that is right there within us ALL THE TIME. We need only be willing to surrender the false to discover the true.

Is 2012 a time of renewed energy, a spiritual and creative rebirth into the Age of the Aquarius? Or is it perhaps, a coming doomsday? I do not know what will happen in 2012 and will not pretend that I do. I do believe that this new year, as every new year, brings an opportunity for understanding ourselves better and as we better know ourselves, we gain the opportunity for rebirth and renewed energy. I am choosing this year to align myself with my heart’s desire, align myself with the truth in me. With this alignment, I believe, comes the opportunity to walk lighter and with more compassion on this earth; to working to serve a better defined purpose, and so we naturally begin to contribute to a greater sense of both personal and world-wide enlightenment and renewal. Any time we wake up to our true potential, our true desire, and align our self with this purpose, something very special happens. It is not magic, yet it may feel that way. When we do everything we can to keep our mind, body and spirit whole and healthy, that beautiful line from Paulo Coelho’s novel The Alchemist comes true: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Stay open to all this year has to offer you. Rather than setting yourself a limited list of things to achieve this year, vow to open up and discover the true you. Often we get a taste of this on the mat, many times during Savasana, or when we meditate. That is what the practice is for–to give us the taste that creates the moment of awakening in which we realize that, yes, we want more of this, much much more of the awareness of our true nature, our blissed out, peaced out nature. So ring it in with happy bells. It is a wonderful time, the new year that brings the coming of new light and new opportunity. Ring out the false. Ring in the truth.