PLANTING SEEDS, LAYING THE FOUNDATION & EXPANDING MY CAPACITY: The Story of My 2017 & My Intentions for 2018 (Atha Yoga)

January 2, 2018

 

 

On this New Year's Day, as I sip my coffee with a smile on my face, I look back at the year that was with gratitude, and I look forward to the year to come with excitement and hope...

 

It's my year-end tradition to reflect on the year's events, to check in with my intentions from this past year, and to set my intentions for the year to come. If you're reading this, thanks for taking the time to check in with me!

 

I've had an expansive, transformative, foundational year, and I'm glad to share a little bit of the story of my journey with you here:

 

2017: A YEAR OF GROWTH,

FOUNDATION-LAYING & EXPANDING POSSIBILITIES

 

WINTER

I shot out of the end of 2016 feeling more motivated to show up for World Peace than I ever had before... I decided to take Gandhi's advice to "be the change," trusting that the best way to change the world was to change myself first. For the first time in my life, I committed to 100 Days of dedicated personal betterment. 

 

In that time, I practiced yoga and meditation every day, was completely sober, cut out all social media and television, wrote music, took classes, participated in multiple marches and non-violent actions, volunteered, read, journaled, worked and generally did an overhaul on most of my self-defeating habits. This was all in service to my intention for 2017 to find holistic wellness in my mind, body, heart, spirit, marriage and purpose. 

 

It's the most productive and disciplined I've ever been in my life, and it was definitely a struggle. One of my greatest lessons from this experience was that abstinence can be its own form of unconsciousness. My happiness lies in the middle path between hedonism and monasticism. The real trick is to choose skillfully and powerfully in every moment where I want to fall on the spectrum. 

 

SPRING

The Spring began with the end of the 100 Days and the beginning of a period of adventure and celebration, starting with our official housewarming for the house my husband and I bought (after a trying and tumultuous closing process that took 6 months.) 

 

It was an incredible life moment, to be gathered with all of our friends and family in our new home celebrating the realization of a dream. From that moment on, a new foundation was created for my life, a home, a place where my marriage, my art, my community, my dreams could find grounding and grow forth from. I still wake up every day in awe of the blessing of our house. 

 

I then went to Nashville, Iowa, and Missouri to visit family and to say goodbye to my childhood home, as my parents prepared to sell it. I realized through this experience of closure that the universe was giving me the opportunity to lovingly let go of my childhood so I could step more fully into my manhood.  This poetic life-moment came full-circle when my parents delivered my childhood possessions to my new house and we got to celebrate my new home together.

 

SUMMER

The Summer held many expansive experiences, oftentimes terrifying in their newness, from co-leading an ongoing music & yoga workshop with my friend Christy Marsden (LOVE YOU CHRISTY!), to learning to live loop, to producing and hosting a series of live-music jam nights (that included a 50th Anniversary celebration of the Summer of Love.) I also learned to live-stream from my house (starting with the 1 year anniversary of my album) and gave my first-ever sermon while officiating my dear friends' Becky & Casey's wedding.

 

Oh, and there was also the EPICNESS that is Burning Man thrown in at the very end for good measure (I did two live music sets at Burning Man this year, one in a dust storm!)

 

 

FALL

The year ended with a series of the most intense and transformative experiences of my life so far:

 

My 2-week200-hour yoga teacher training was followed by directing/producing my friend, Carl John's one-man show, followed by producing a 5-day transformational festival, followed by learning 16 George Michael songs (in 2-weeks) before singing in front of an orchestra and over 1,000 people...

 

Each of these experiences could be its own blog post (some of them are.) Each one was its own giant endeavor. Each one tested me and expanded me. They altered my understanding of my capacity and were powerful seeds planted for harvesting in the New Year. 

 

I realize now that this was exactly what I had called in from the end of 2016. I wrote at the end of 2016: "I am using all of my skills to serve, learn and create, engaging with projects that bring me joy, fulfillment and abundance." And that's exactly what I did. 

 

Taking the leap of faith within each of these experiences, trusting that I really could do the thing that I'd never done before, as long as I believed I could, was essential preparation for the work I get to do this year...

 

 

2018: ATHA YOGA:

"NOW BEGINS THE PROCESS OF UNIFICATION"

 

And so, now, after a decadent Christmas spent with friends, I look to 2018 and arrive at the following intention for my year:

 

"ATHA YOGA:

Now begins the process of unification." 

 

Taken from the first two words of the yoga sutras (and from my corresponding tattoos on my feet), my intention is to unify all aspects of my being, including my body, mind, heart, spirit, purpose, creativity and will toward balance, peace and joy through devoted practice. 

 

I am committed to finding my way back home. I am committed to developing sustained awareness. I am building toward eventual presence in each and every moment, so I might be more available to my purpose and to the beautiful gift that is this life. 

 

I know that only through unifying my being can I be available to my ultimate mission of unifying our species. 

 

THE 100 DAYS RETURNS IN 2018!

 

I am excited to announce that I will be returning to my 100 Days practice again on January 22nd. I'll be posting the details of this and my intentions inside of it soon. I will be inviting you all into this practice if it serves you as well, so if that interests you, feel free to email me at bencaroncreates@gmail.com.

 

THE 2017 BREAKDOWN

 

The last thing I'll leave you with in this post is my final year-end tradition of creating a list of all of the things I accomplished during the year. This helps me to realize the full weight of everything that I've done by seeing it all in one place.  If it interests you, it's below.

 

THANK YOU FOR READING THIS!

 

May we all do the things we need to do to be well, happy, joyful and at peace in 2018. :)

 

 

2017 ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 

  • Worked as a PA on the Paramount Lot

  • Threw a 3-Day Intentional Event in Joshua Tree

  • Was a guest speaker on a relationship panel for Youtube

  • Took a 27-Day Transformational Online Buddhism Course

  • Marched in the Women's March

  • Volunteered & performed for the Carnival of Love in Skid Row

  • Did a 100 Day Intentional Commitment w/ friends 

    • Meditation, yoga, sobriety, no social media, weekly accountability check-ins, reading, activism

  • Went to a different spiritual center every Sunday for 14 weeks with Debbi

  • Wrote a song cycle with my friends Ryan & Enolia

  • Hosted the 2017 CSULA Alumni Awards

  • Participated in an ongoing discussion group/meditation for World Peace

  • Performed at the Long Beach Artwalk for Artivism Now

  • Closed on, designed, remodeled, moved and decorated our new house

  • Set up, decorated & ran a successful Airbnb on our bottom floor of our house

  • Produced an ongoing monthly live music jam night at Petit Ermitage

  • Wrote with Leo Gallo, Sylvia Macalla, 

  • Performed with Ray Davis's High Vibe night at Molly Malone's

  • Attended an Online Mindful Leadership Course

  • Volunteered with Read Across America

  • DJ'd/emceed Dean & Tasha Schull's wedding

  • Volunteered with the LA Food Bank

  • Co-wrote a personal empowerment book 

  • Project managed for a friend's company

  • Successfully argued a refund of our fees with our escrow company

  • Attended an expansive kundalini/breathwork/meditation retreat 

  • Did multiple Chopra/Oprah 21-Day meditation programs

  • Marched in the Tax Day March

  • Volunteered with the Monday Night Mission in DTLA

  • Helped produce an intentional gathering for a friend's mom

  • Officiated Kiel & Kiara's wedding

  • Sold a car

  • Marched for Climate Change

  • Hosted an epic housewarming party with my sister Jenni in attendance

  • Wrote a treatment for a movie musical

  • Attended FC Symposium in Nashville

  • Collected my things from my family home in Iowa

  • Attended my niece's first birthday party in Kansas City

  • Volunteered with the LA Pride March 

  • Performed on the Life Changes Radio show

  • Hosted my parents & in-laws at my new house

  • Co-wrote with a rising pop artist

  • Produced a 50th Anniversary concert/event for the Monterey Pops Festival at Petit Ermitage

  • Hosted a Father's Day event for my friend Hank

  • Wrote a number of blog posts about Burning Man, politics and spirituality 

  • Learned how to live loop

  • Opened for KC's Heroes at Boardners

  • Worked as a casting assistant for Beth Lipari

  • Began a weekly community activation call

  • Taught voice lessons to two different students

  • Flew to DC to visit friends and family

  • Helped a friend plan their wedding as well as DJ their wedding

  • Produced & directed a friend's one-man show, "The New West Revival"

  • Broadcast my first full-band livestreaming concert from my livingroom

  • Project managed & personal assisted for my friend Audra

  • Sang BGVs for a major Youtube video project

  • Co-facilitated an ongoing heart-based healing workshop at Yoga Blend with Christy Marsden called, "Heart, Lead the Way"

  • Attended Burning Man for my 5th year in a row

  • Performed 2 official sets at Burning Man, one in a white out rain/dust storm

  • Officiated my friends' Becky & Casey's wedding in Colorado

  • Started & shot 3 episodes of a new livestreaming FB Live show called "Love from B&T's"

  • Performed an acoustic show at Bar Lubitsch with Jaden LaRue, James Byous & Erik Carlson

  • Completed 200 hour intensive yoga teacher training

  • Got my first tattoos! (on my feet!) 

  • Performed at my friend Dae's birthday benefit for fire relief

  • Volunteered at Covenant House shelter for homeless youth

  • Stood and sang in my friends' Greg & Jim's wedding in Las Vegas

  • Helped my friend move out of her apartment

  • Went to NOLA for Halloween

  • Produced & performed at a 5-day Transformational Festival "Kasperpalooza"

  • Performed as the lead singer for a 16-song George Michael tribute with the Colorado Symphony in Denver

  • Performed at my friend's housewarming party in Chicago

  • Helped develop a community protocol for repeated harm

  • Performed in Open Fist's production of "BOTH"

  • Produced & directed a live Christmas eve special

  • Officiated friends' Jesse & Cookie's wedding 

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