During these last few weeks of 2011, I’ve been pushing to Get Things Done—tying up loose ends, trying to complete unfinished projects, lay out plans for the year to come. All those good end-of-the-year activities that seem So Very Important.

However, in the metaphoric way my body likes to protest my “mind-not-quite-succeeding-being-over–matter,” I’ve also experienced back spasms, a sprained shoulder, smushed thumb, and a torqued knee. As I described in a vlog a few weeks ago, I slammed my thumb in a car door in a mindless flurry of activity. This was after straining my shoulder in an overenthusiastic workout. In the last couple of days, in a fit of denial that I’m not in the same shape I was when I was a fitness instructor in my 20s, I pushed myself into a back spasm trying to do a stretch faster and further than was right for the present moment.

So I have to ask myself what my body is trying to tell me. (I know what I’ve been trying to tell my body, to no avail, “C’mon Let’s GO!!”)

I believe that these physical “mistakes,” where I’ve ignored “where I am” in the miasma of an idealized “where I should be,” are related to how I experience power—trying to Feel, it, Prove it, or generally Muscle my way through it. Now you might think that after 40+ years of practicing qigong, t’ai chi, and yoga, I’d remember that this might not be the optimal way to accomplish my intention. Embarrassing to admit, really.

My injuries are all healing remarkably quickly, ie a back spasm that used to take 2 months to heal has completely reversed itself in two days. But Still. As I set my intentions and work to create my Best Year Yet, I think I’d better remember the image of becoming one with the vast river of flow that is one aspect of Tao. This seems wiser more sane than the kind of Conquer and Deliver attitude I appear to have adopted lately.

Last year, I wrote about the importance of releasing fear for 2011. This year, as I enter 2012, I am invoking the spirit of one of my early T’ai Chi Ch’uan teachers, Dr. Franklin Kwong, now deceased. Week after week, he demonstrated how to feel and use power differently, with a sense of lightness and joy instead of urgency and heaviness. My New Year’s wish is that I carry the touch of his teachings in my awareness once again so I can drop the burdens of “should” to express the possibilities of “shall”.

Have you ever experienced your own power “lightly”?

Vicki Dello Joio, founder of The Way of Joy: A Spiritual Fitness Program, is a teacher, speaker and performing artist. Integrating over 40 years of Chi Kung practice with other martial arts as well as her work in Yoga, Feldenkreis, physical fitness and theater, Vicki has developed a dynamic set of tools to increase awareness, transform obstacles into opportunities and enhance creative potential. Book: The Way of Joy: An Evolutionary Process to Awaken Inspiration, Focus Intention and Manifest Fulfillment, CD: Short Meditations for a Busy Life.