Intentions, not resolutions

I am not one for New Year’s resolutions and haven’t been for many years, but I have adapted a way of making changes in my life, without labelling them resolutions.

Instead, I just choose one word (or two or three) and incorporate that one word into my everyday living. In the last few years I have found that my choice of words have profoundly influenced my every thought and deed.

Some would call these words, intentions, and I actually don’t choose the words; instead, they choose me.

After my father (who had Alzheimer’s) died and my sister and I realized that my mother was exhibiting signs of dementia also, we both decided that we would do it better. Our journey of caregiving up to that point was a fraught one and we did not have the will or spirit to do it again. So we embraced the intention: change.

That intention transformed our lives from one of fatigue, anxiousness, stress and sadness to one of love, compassion, kindness and acceptance. Change doesn’t happen just because one announces it – it happens from the awareness of it. We changed our energy for one thing…which led to awareness of other people’s energy…which led to awareness of the management of the behaviours of people who have Alzheimer’s (their energy)…which led to compassion…which led to love and acceptance. Whew! It sounds like a long year – it was. But it was a year of loving our mother, enjoying the moments that we shared with her, and influencing other people’s energy when they were with us. And it all began with one word: change.

Last year my words or intentions were: pay attention; savour; and trust.

Once again, I am happy to write that those intentions opened my eyes to new insights, creativity, new ideas, finding beauty (in everything!), joy, and self-care. I am happy to report that once we begin to pay attention, our creativity explodes…I had no idea that my daily observation of birds would open me to drawing birds. I am not an artist. Who knew? But what joy to realize that I had a penchant for drawing birds. Am I talented? In complete honesty, the answer is no. But since I am enjoying those moments of solitude in nature, and exploring my inner artist, I do not care about my talent or lack, thereof.

Because I trust. Yes, trust that I am growing. I am open. I am content.

Three small words – nothing extraordinary. Simple, but oh, so full of potential.

Try it. Choose a word. Contemplate or meditate on the word. Better yet, allow your inner self to choose what the word might be because you already know what you need to know. That word or intention will reflect what you need. Trust that you know what you need.  In my opinion, the mind chooses resolutions and hence, they fail. Words/intentions succeed because our heart chooses them.

This year I sat in early January and thought about choosing a new word for the year and I felt nothing – Nada. So, I thought about how much my intentions of the previous year (pay attention, savour, trust) had transformed me – how meditation and mindfulness (in paying attention to the moment) had de-stressed my body and mind; how savour had opened me to joy and delight; and how trust reminded me every day that I was okay just as I am. I decided to let go and just trust that the Universe would tell me what I needed for the upcoming year. A few days flew by and still nothing.

And yesterday it happened. Someone on a television show just turned to another actor and said, “Let’s explore.” And I instantly recognized my word for 2015: explore. And as quickly as that word popped into my consciousness, so did creativity and expansiveness. I wasn’t looking for another three intentions again; I was quite happy with the one word explore. But trust me…that’s how this process works.

Synchronicity is a constant in our lives, but we have to be open and recognize it. I am…because a few years ago, synchronicity popped into my head and was my intention in 2010.

So, forget about resolving to be thinner, richer, or wiser. Instead, why not intend “honour (my health),” or “abundance,” or “acceptance”? Those simple intentions will lead you to wiser decisions about fitness, nutrition, spirit, self-care, family, work, love, non-judgment…and so on, and so on. Trust me on this. In fact, in a short time, you will begin to trust yourself on this.

I haven’t got a clue why this works. Is it similar to when we buy a red car, suddenly we notice all the red cars on the road? Is it all about focus or awareness? I can only assume that the scientist would inform us that the word has been imprinted on our subconsciousness and so it’s working…behind the scenes.  I don’t know. And I don’t care.

I know it works.

And, isn’t that what we all want…to fully recognize that we are okay just as we are; that we can fully trust in the Universe; that we can fully trust in ourselves. And that when we need a little self-improvement, we will intuitively know what we need.

So I suggest that you allow your inner, knowing self to choose a word or two for you: play, joy, travel, colours, trees, relax, simplify…or open a dictionary and just point to a word.

It doesn’t really matter the choice of your words/intentions  because for some strange reason, all the words are interconnected anyways. Since I have been practising this for the last few years, every day I discover that when I pay attention or trust, that creativity bubbles up or that I feel that I have changed or grown or expanded my mind or spirit – interconnections. So I have no doubt that in exploring, my creativity will expand and so on and so on.

All gifts.

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