Happy nude year

Joey Garcia

Dear Readers,

Let’s get naked together. No, seriously. Let’s strip ourselves down to the bare essentials—souls, intellects and hearts—and leave defenses, dramas, negative self-talk, manipulations and childhood pain back in 2008. Let’s be so self-actualized that we strippercize ourselves into spiritual shape. Ooh, yeah, let’s take it all off until there is nothing left but loving kindness for ourselves and sweet compassion for all others. Ready to get a leg up on a new life? Step right this way:

Strip away your fantasies. If you’re wishing that you had a different partner, job, home, income, car or child, you’re living a second-rate version of your own life. You climbed the stairs to the stage you’re now on. Take responsibility for the choices that led you there. Then, be grateful for everything—like this: Your insolent teenager is a reminder that you cannot control another person, so be a bodhisattva when she or he is a terrorist. The boss who can’t see through the suck-ups on staff is an opportunity to stay focused on your work, not the behavior of others. The partner you imagine is just a dream of who you could be if you got your act together. So choose reality in 2009 and see how every experience is created for your enlightenment and evolution.

Slip out of your defenses. In childhood, you adopted a habit that has morphed into an obstacle to intimacy. You did it to protect yourself from experiencing attitudes and behaviors you feared from others. But now anger, shutting down, isolation or excessively trying to please others restricts you from maturing in your ability to give and receive love. So slip out of your defenses and into something sexy, like authenticity.

Flex your cheeks. Smile at the driver who knows everyone on the road is a brother or sister, the dog prancing on leash, the grass pushing through sidewalk cracks, the smell of fresh coffee on a wintry day, the stranger who is not afraid to meet your eyes or return your joy. Flash your pearly whites and relish the ripple effects of happiness.

Seduce the divine. Read Hafiz, Rumi, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila, Lalla and any other saint or mystic who knew how to give themselves completely to God. Open to intimacy with the divine by bringing passion, purpose and faithfulness into your relationship. Practice daily meditation, a commitment to spiritual principles and faith in response to any challenge. If doubt persists, read a poem, repeat a mantra or memorize sacred scripture. Doing so will remind you how to love your way through any shade of darkness.

Show a little T and A. Tenderness and acceptance melts the hardest of hearts. So extend tenderness to the brokenhearted—including yourself. Accept the unexpected as a norm, because in life, it is. The side effect of extending T and A is pure pleasure: the radical reduction of stress and ecstatic realization that you are creating peace in the world.

Get your spotlight on. Emphasize your strengths. Praise the good in others. Celebrate what works and don’t complain about what needs fixing. Notice beauty. Most people fear that these mental changes inspire complacency. Here’s the truth: With less negative energy infecting you, there’s more positive energy at your service. That’s when change becomes effortless and natural. So lighten up.

Hey, getting naked is journeying beyond hoping for change to initiating transformation. Let’s do it, together. Happy nude year!

Meditation of the week
“Through love all pain is turned to medicine,” wrote Rumi. Are you ready for the biggest year of your life so far? Make it so!

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