Affirmations., Goals, Inspiration, New Year intentions

A New Year, A New Intention

 

happy-new-year-by-edwin-flickr-com
Flickr photo by Edwin

 

Like many people, I don’t like ‘having’ to do anything. This is why I cringe when people ask me about my resolutions or goals for the new year.

“Goals,” “Resolutions,” the words sound so inflexible. I’m not a big fan of the word “resolution,” because there’s something rigid about it, and goal-setting in the usual sense can set you up for failure and frustration.This is not to say resolutions aren’t helpful, they just don’t interest me.

What I do look forward to is thinking about my intention for the new year. The word “Intention” is defined as “a course of action that one proposes to follow,” or “an aim that guides action.”

 

Deepak Chopra says:

“An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish.”

This sounds much more self-directed, more purposeful. Like a journey, with lots of room for discovery along the way.

An intention is something I want to do. It’s a word which represents the type of year I desire.  The intention is my own touchstone word, a magical word that becomes an aim that guides my action. I speak my intention (has to be one word for me) and I feel good about all the possibilities surrounding or accompanying that one word.

I’ve chosen an intention for the last four years. One year the word was “Create.” Another year, “Move.” Last year my word was “Refine.”

I had fun writing the word down on a 3×5 index card, drawing the word on the first page of a new journal, adding photos around the word, making wheel spokes out of the center word. For example, with “Create” I attached each spoke to a word that follows ‘create.’ Create joy, create new stories, create gratefulness …and so forth into my own journey.

Last week I mulled over and meditated on a few words. If you’d like some direction on how to do this check out the post by Nicola Gulotta. Some of the words are:

Balance, Connect, Encourage, Release, Nurture, Surrender

My word for the year is “Breakthrough.” The definition is to advance, step forward, progress, and revolution. I like the sound of that last word, revolution.

Another alternative to making new year resolutions, besides an intention, is to make positive changes in a different way. Read this short article by Melissa Eisner. I chose two of the items to fulfill this year.

Whatever you do or don’t do intentions, spend time with yourself for at least 15 minutes and think about your own journey.

You don’t have to come up with a word. Sometimes enough is enough. And that’s fine.

See you all next year:

 

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Flickr photo by Anne Spratt, cc.

 

 

Anne Lamott self care quote
Healing, Health, poetry, Self Care, tough times, Wisdom

What to Do When You Don’t Feel Safe

Anne Lamott self care quote
Unplugging-Anne Lamott

This has been a frightening week, interspersed with personal trying periods, and a need to bury my head for a couple of hours at a time.

My daughter texted me after the tragedy in Nice, France.

iPhone text
Text One
iphone text
Text Two

 

I hated that she felt unsafe. I hated that I couldn’t stretch my arms across 1,000 miles and give her a hug, kiss her forehead. All I could offer her was to look for hope and to take a deep breath.

But I had to remember that feeling unsafe doesn’t mean that we are.

This was my reaction to feeling powerless, angry, and fearful.

I wanted to share the power of prayer with her, but she isn’t Christian or of any faith anymore. That in itself added to my sadness. But, also gave me the opportunity, later, to have a conversation with her about why I pray and how that helps me.

That night the news across all channels broadcast the tragedy. Soon there was another world event, the attempted coup in Turkey, and another, the sniper attack on police officers in Baton Rouge.

I had to keep the television off and stay off social media. My mind, spirit, and body were out of whack.

My attempts at ‘righting’ myself was to practice some self-care. I tried to find ways to relax and experience safety.

The garden beckoned. The Monarch caterpillars had decimated the milkweed leaving it a skeletal reminder of a once gorgeous fiery orange headed plant. Meanwhile, new butterflies showed off acrobatic skills over the remaining fronds of the second milkweed bush.

Butterfly acrobatics
Butterfly acrobatics

While watering the potted succulents I found that two blossomed with beautiful flowers. Being in the garden helped and somehow pushed me to go to the gym and exercise.

Flowering Christmas Cactus in July-Southern Calif.
Flowering Christmas Cactus in July-Southern Calif.

That evening I decided not to go out and sat in my backyard coloring. My sister gifted me with the adult coloring books a few months back. This may sound cheesy, but I felt a lot of pleasure wielding the colored pencils, so much that I had to go buy me a box of Crayola crayons, the giant 64 set box.

The next day, I read a mesmerizing book of poetry written by a man who had been a slave and put into the ‘service’ of a wealthy slave owner as a child of six years of age. Although his verses expose the cruelty of slavery, his poetry reflects the beauty he finds with his parents and his own world.

Book of poetry, cuban poet Juan Francisco Manzano
The Poet Slave of Cuba by Margarita Engle. Poetry of Juan Francisco Manzano.

Meditation via my cell phone is a life saver. I either go to Pandora and listen to Deepak Chopra or I go to the Oprah channel and listen to one of Chopra’s 21 days of meditations. (Many times they are free).

On Sunday, I attended church service where I’m a greeter a couple of times a month. As I passed out bulletins to numerous families, teenagers and the elderly, the smiles people gave after a “good morning, I hope you enjoy the service” enlivened me.

I wondered why I felt a new energy, and it dawned on me that although the people were heavily burdened, they were trying to live and do the best they could.

Over the weekend, I kept in close contact with my daughter and shared the photos above with her. I don’t know if this helped her but it sure helped me.

Do the best you can. Create your own safe space. Hugs. 

 

 

 

Creativity, Healing, poetry

A Plague of Memories-Poem

 

A Plague of Memories-gettyimages.com
A Plague of Memories-gettyimages.com

 

For the last six weeks, I’ve brought my cellphone to bed with me.
Sounds weird, but what I’m really bringing is meditation from Deepak Chopra and Susan Piver of the Open Heart Project.

Meditation has been a tremendous help in easing stress.

Last night, I stumbled upon a series, Healing with the Masters, that I really enjoyed.

The featured one, a free meditation, was quite new to me. The audio was from Raquel Spencer, who works on connecting with your higher self, body energy, and vibration.

I know, sounds so ‘new agey,’ but I can only tell you my experience.

It was awesome, I felt refreshed, slept very well and found it stimulated creativity.

I woke, in the middle of the night, reach for my cell and jotted down words in my notes section.

Although I don’t feel broken hearted or grief-stricken, these are the words that came to me last night:

A Plague of Memories

 

I kiss my grief

and long for you

undeserving as that may be

 

A plague of memories

chases me

until I stop

examine each

 

A waste of kisses

the grief mine

for trusting you

once again.

 

Have an adventurous week. 

Encouragement, Wisdom

“NY’s Day-Everything is in Blossom!

gettyimages.com
gettyimages.com

I feel about average.”

– Kobayashi Issa

The Japanese poet’s haiku sums up my feeling about the first day of 2014. There is an adventure waiting, many I’m sure. A tingle goes through my fingers when I think of all the possibilities.But then I think of “expectations,” and how they ruin most things. That’s when I start to feel “average.”

Imagine a See-Saw, ‘possibilities’  is the up seat and ‘expectations’ are the down chair.

The definition of a “resolution” is “a course of action determined or decided on…a firm determination.” Sounds so final, so inflexible. Maybe that’s why my New Year’s resolutions haven’t lasted – they feel too much like something I have to or should do.

Not that resolutions aren’t helpful, they just don’t interest me. I forget the resolution-that isn’t true, what I do is go into denial that I even made any resolutions.

What I do enjoy thinking about are my “intentions” for the new year. An intention is “a course of action that one proposes to follow.”

I think of the intention as my own touchstone word. A magical word that becomes an aim that guides my action. I say my intention (has to be one word for me) and I feel good about all the possibilities surrounding or accompanying that one word.

Last year my word was “Create.” I had fun writing the word down on a 3×5 index card, drawing the word on the first page of a new journal, adding photos around the word, making wheel spokes out of the center word (Create) and attaching each spoke to a word that follows ‘create.’ Create…joy, create…new stories, create…gratefulness…and so forth. Into my own journey.

Into the Journey-gettyimages.com
Into the Journey-gettyimages.com

Instead of a vertical See-Saw, either I ‘do’ the resolution (up) or fail to do it (down), the wheel image makes me feel like I’m traveling on a journey.

Intention  is defined as “a course of action that one proposes to follow,” or “an aim that guides action.” To me, this sounds much more self-directed, more purposeful. Like a journey, with lots of room for discovery along the way. An intention is something I want to do.

I’m not a big fan of the word “resolution,” because there’s something rigid about it, and goal-setting in the usual sense can set you up for failure and frustration.

Deepak Chopra says:

“An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish.”

For the past couple of days I’ve mulled over and meditated on which word I wanted as an intention. The one word that resonates with me is “Move.” 

Move forward, move sideways, move my pen, move my body more, move into myself, move over.

I’ve spent an hour drawing the word out, making my spokes, scribbling, and tossing the word around. Feels good. Feels energetic.

Chopra has 24 intentions you may want to use for yourself. See what resonates with you. Use a phrase or reduce the phrase to one word.

Choose one intention for one or two months, see how you feel about it, see where you go, where the word leads you to. If you want to choose another after that, go for it, after meditating and finding yourself in a place of contentment, from a “zen’ state.

  • Expressing love more often.
  • Understanding that forgiveness is an everyday ritual.
  • Witnessing the temple in your physical body and taking care of it.
  • Practicing compassion towards all.
  • Spending time in nature.
  • Creating thoughts that lead to optimism and courage.
  • Building an attitude of gratitude.
  • Meditate everyday even for a  few minutes.
  • Being bold without being a bully.
  • Treating work as a way to serve others.
  • Respectfully parting from those who discourage and lower your self esteem.
  • Stop blaming destiny and start working on manifesting your own goals.
  • Staying present.
  • Staying in touch with old friends.
  • Taking a break from work to relax.
  • Eating healthier.
  • Reading books and articles to expand awareness.
  • Staying offline often to connect with the people in your life.
  • Fall in love.
  • Letting go off regrets.
  • Release the need to treat yourself so seriously.
  • Being kind, but not weak.
  • Complimenting others more often.
  • Breaking the norms.
  • Make time for quiet moments
  • Listen to your self

Whatever you do or don’t do, spend time with yourself for at least 15 minutes and think about your own journey.

What do you want to do this year? Where do you want to journey to?