Every new year is an opportunity to pause and reflect on what we have accomplished the year before and what we look forward to in the new year. We make resolutions, that it we make a list of ways to improve ourselves, coming from the root re-solve, to solve a problem. But often we find ourselves unable to keep our resolutions as early as the end of January. We haven’t signed up for the fitness center, we haven’t written three new poems, we haven’t cleared out the closet, we haven’t changed our eating habits, or we did for a while then slid back to what is familiar.
What if instead of resolutions we set intentions? An intention is a course of action we are going to take but it begins with the idea that we are creating or planting the seeds of what we wish to see grow. Deepak Chopra says, “An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create.” and here is a link to his method for setting intentions.
In other words, rather than seeing ourselves as a problem to be solved, what if we saw potential? Instead of lack: I need to lose weight, be more healthy, make more money, have better relationships, find true love, write a best seller, buy a new car….we saw ourselves planting seeds for a future that we love: I am perfect weight to wear clothes I love, I am healthy and strong, I have plenty to spare and to share, I love fully and am loved in return, I am writing something that is compelling, I am driving the right car.
Think back over the past year at your accomplishments that are not necessarily signs of success but are signs of growth. Did you get to your yoga class? (I did, at least once a week, although not the three times a week I “resolved” to go.) Did you call a dear friend you haven’t spoken to in a while? Did you join a book club? Did you speak up about your feelings instead of hiding them? Did you try a new recipe? Did you attend an event in a neighborhood where you don’t normally spend time? Did you support an artist of color by attending his/her reading/exhibition/show? Did you volunteer? Did you speak kindly to a strange? Did you fill yourself with beauty?
Now think ahead to the life you want to create. What would fill your soul in 2017? More prayer and patience? More determination and speaking truth? More fun? More gratitude? More support of those community organizations you think are making a difference? More kindness and more gathering with those you love? More words on the page with dynamic impact? More celebration? More beauty?
This new year in 2017 is a year for deepening our courage and our determination. The world around us is shifting, there is an awakening happening, some of it very painful. It may feel we are sliding backwards, it may feel like a shadow has chilled us to the bone. But at the same time, we are awakening to our fullest potential. We must take nothing for granted, including that others think the way we do. We must remember that we are here to learn and grow. We must not let the fact that we have slipped from our resolutions prevent us from carrying on with developing our intentions. We are beacons of light in the midst of a terrible storm. When it clears, the horizon ahead will be glorious. Be kind to yourself. Be the change you want to see in the world, one small step at a time, one leap into the life you want to manifest. What if you are not a problem to be solved but a solution to the challenges you see?