Ready or not, here it is. A new year, a new cycle, a refresher course in day-to-day life. It’s been my annual practice to reject the making of a new year’s resolution and instead embrace the choosing (or, as I maintain, being chosen by) a word that embodies what I need, where I need to be, and in what direction I must head towards. A mini mission statement of sorts. I learned it as ‘choosing an intention, or choosing your own personal theme to guide your year.”
Over the last few years with this as my practice, I have seen over and over that this is the right choice for me. I am solid in my belief that new year’s resolutions are anything but resolute, they allow too much opportunity for failure. They are too specific. Too rigid. For me.
Choosing a word, or letting the word emerge has been transformational for me in the last few years. I started with the word Nudge, it was perfect and over the course of that year I let the subtle nature of life’s little whispers be my guide and in the end, beautiful change occurred.
“I desired to move in a new direction and knew that I needed, well, a few nudges to get there. I wanted to be pushed. But gently.”
From there, Nudge made a new friend and we added Give. The year of Give was full of surprises, the biggest being that in my need to make room for this, I found that in the end I received so much – and learned about the very act of receiving. It is an act. And one that requires a conscious decision most of the time and not always easy or comfortable.
“As I glance back over my shoulder at this last year; I realize something important was quietly occurring all along. I see that in giving we also receive, and that I had some big lessons to learn about this.”
From there, Nudge and Give welcomed Intentional and together we formed a small gang. It was what I needed, truly on levels I really could not have ever anticipated.
I realize as 2016 begins that in all technicalities, I skipped a year. Trust me when I say that was not Intentional. Or was it? I had no word chosen for 2015 and there were no knocks at my door, so to speak. When I thought about it, it became clear that Intentional was not done with me yet. Not ready to open the door to someone new. It chose me again, so quietly and deftly. So we kept at it and in the mind’s rear view mirror where objects are never as close as they appear, I see how being intentional has yielded unexpected, but necessary, important and right, results. So for the combined course of Intentional 1.0 and then 2.0…
I look back and see an intentional spirit around co-parenting so my son is secure, even when it’s most uncomfortable for me.
I see intentional actions with my finances and getting things in order. The question marks are slowly being replaced with dollar signs.
I was super intentional in the midst of of a contentious process called mediation. I may have less enamel on my teeth from gritting them, but I chose intentionality at each turn to save my own soul. At least my sense of self. At the end of the day, we may no longer have to live with that person, but we will always have to live with ourselves. I wanted that to keep going well!
I see a list a mile long of tedious tasks that need to be tackled. And they were. Now if I can just muster the fortitude to finally paint the bathroom?
I set my mind to making peace with and letting go of choices made in ‘yesteryears’, so that the noise of then would not drown out what I need to be paying attention to – and enjoying – in these days.
I see the intention of planning a trip to DC + DE + VA for my son and I, something I’ve wanted to do with him for a few years. I made it happen for us and it was monumentally successful and fun. And memorable.
I got intentional at work and it was noticed. Changes started happening. Opportunities appeared. New ideas began to spring up and I was intentional about what I created from those ideas. And on the opposing side, when the unpleasant occurred, I chose to be intentional with my rebuttals, and choosing which battles to fight. Sometimes, being intentional means being quiet: watch, look and listen. I did a lot of that too.
I became intentional on where I stand, or sit, or kneel – or rather, where I clearly don’t and cannot – on faith and religion.
I was intentional about the holidays and this may seem trivial in light of all else, but last year I was Scrooge, Bah Humbug and the Ghost of Christmas past all rolled into one. I was miserable because I didn’t plan well. I just wanted it over. I identified where the breakdown(s) occurred that led to such an unnecessarily disappointing and exhausting time, and from that I chose with purpose and made changes where things had failed – and it worked. Magically. And, this year? I was legitimately bummed when it was all over.
So, with just those highlights, I see that Intentional knew what she was doing. What a smarty-pants! As 2015 rounded near the bend and 2016 was within view, I started to feel a shift. I wasn’t sure yet what or what it meant exactly.
At work, we have to change our log-in pass-phrase every so many months. And it has to be a certain number of characters at a minimum. Like a lot. Along with my word for the year, I also choose a pass-phrase that has meaning to me. I’d read of a guy who changed his life with his pass-phrases and got over a broken heart, quit smoking (e.g. ‘Quit@smoking4ever’) and saved for a dream trip – each one month at a time, because he’d chosen pass-phrases that he had to type Every.Single.Day and as the days passed these desired outcomes became part of his consciousness. It changed his life in significant ways over each month based on what he chose to focus on. What a cool idea I thought, so I’d started doing similar a few years ago. But, as the reminders kept hitting my inbox recently, I was stumped at what to choose.
Until one day it appeared. There it was. It just stood up and said, hi!
I obviously am not going to tell you my pass-phrase. That would just be silly. And intentionally stupid. Intentional would not be happy with me! But I really want to because I really like it!
But I will tell you that in the midst of my pass-phrase also appeared my word for 2016. I love the collaborative spirit working here!
It chose me. Again. It always does.
Are you ready?
I’ve actually already told you.
The word is ready.
The gang’s all here: Nudge, Give, Intentional 1.0 and 2.0, and now we’re saying howdy to Ready.
The way I see it, when we allow the influence of what the word is, what it means (to us) and why it showed up in the first place, we allow ourselves to move, to bend, to grow, to change. You become all of that, and because it happens incrementally, slowly (and almost) effortlessly, you just are.
And, that becomes you. It shows. It looks good on you.
Here we go, ready or not!
Oh, and I can’t stop myself. If you choose a word, I’d love to know what you choose or what chose you!
Happy New Year!