Happy New Year! Can you believe it is already 2015? The time is really flying by. I am not a big New Year's Eve person and to be honest I have not seen the ball drop or the clock strike 12 in years. I do however really like the idea of getting a fresh start as the year begins. For years I wrote a list of resolutions....usually the same ones every year. You know the usual the exercise four times a week, go to church every Sunday, lose 5 pounds, remember everyone's birthday. Somehow that list approach just never worked for me. I make the same list every year and I never seem to do them.
One year I went to a yoga class as the new year approached. I was so disappointed when I got to the studio and the usual teacher was absent, and the substitute was a guy that I didn't really like. Although his practice was good and he was an experienced teacher, his class somehow was focused on him. He said a lot of "Watch me." What? Anyway, I stayed for the class and at that studio the tradition was for the teacher to have a little dharma lesson at the beginning of class before the asana practice. I have to admit, what he said was exactly what I needed. I guess I was meant to be there. He talked about the usual task-oriented, concrete resolutions and how most people have already abandoned them by the end of January. His suggestion was to chose an "intention" for your year.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives the definition above and you can see how it fits. A determination to act a certain way. How you act, what you chose, is how you shape your life into what you want. So rather than a list of stuff to accomplish, just pick how you want to act, how you want to be. How do you want to live your life in the new year? How do you want to feel? What shift would you like to make? For example, do you need to be connected? thoughtful? open? energetic? social? active? Thinking about the broad intention can help guide you every day as you make choices. You can think through how you want to feel/be and what you can do to get there. You may get a small list of things to do like celebrate birthdays, or walk more, but its more a shift rather than an accomplishment. As each day, week, month unfolds, you see how you can live your intention. It seems to be a kinder way to work on change. If you set the typical concrete goals you get that sense of failure as soon as you skip a workout, or decide you hate to lift weights. With an intention you just find a new way. If you want to be more active, you can try walking, hiking, biking, yoga, zumba....the options are really endless. You just have to pick something and try it. If you don't like the first thing you try, you can move on to another one. You just keep living your intention. I love it!
Building on that same theme, I choose one word to decribe my intention and then live toward that word. Here is a link to an article about this process. For example, one year I chose space. I wanted to create space in my house. Clean out junk. Throw things away. Get organized. Get rid of clothes I don't wear. Clean out the garage. It was the year Tom went to Afghanistan and I wanted to hold space in my life for him. For 2014 I chose create. I wanted to create a new life for myself, do more artistic kinds of things, and create a new yoga practice. I think I have done pretty well with it. At the time I had no idea that creating a new life would be culinary school in Austin! Amazing what happens when you just set an intention, send it out into the world, and be open to the options, the work, the results. I am still working on my word for 2015. Maybe connected. Maybe present. I'm mulling over the ideas and am sure it will come to me. Don't you think it is a great idea? I would love to hear your thoughts and if you have a word!
On another note, I love looking back on the old year. You know, like top 10 songs, 10 best books, best trends, year in pictures….I thought this was a great video about what we asked the google in 2014….
So I leave you with this beautiful song. I have no idea who the artist is, but isn't her voice fantastic?
Happy New Year! Here's to a great 2015, a year in which we all live our intentions...