Many years ago, when I first began practicing yoga, I started each class off by setting an intention. This intention is not meant to be a lofty, strenuous or unrealistic goal for yourself during your practice. Your intention is meant to be a motivating force – a constant reminder of why you came to practice in the first place – to hold onto when your practice becomes extremely difficult. I find that when I open my heart or body into a vulnerable position, I sometimes tend to falter and get frustrated easily. But once I refocus my thoughts on my original intention, I can glide right through each challenge like butta.
I like to take the same approach to what some refer to as their New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t even like that term, but I have my own annual ritual at the beginning of each calendar year. Instead of playing off of my insecurities and setting audacious goals like losing twenty pounds or falling in love, I would much rather take an introspective approach at bettering my life, knowing that the rest will fall into place when the time is right (and the work is done) . I like to reflect on the successes of my past year, and build upon those to raise the bar. Whether it’s linear or abstract, the intentions I set for myself are lifestyle adjustments that take time, tenacity and full integration to unfold. And once they do, then the magic really happens…
Take last year for example…
In learning to say no to unwanted obligations and letting go of things out of my control, I was able to conquer a lot of my anxiety without the help of medication. In trying to create a more positive ambiance at work, I realized that certain negative parts of the environment were beyond my control, and made the difficult decision to leave my job. In trying to live a more active life and keeping a positive attitude, I was able to attract many wonderful people into my life, including my amazing boyfriend. And in going through all the darkness I was so afraid of and clearing out the negative energy in my life, I was able to attract and reflect beautiful rays of light, in every area of my life.
And now that I have my momentum, I know that I can only keep growing and thriving. I want this year to focus on the simple things in life. The emphasis being on experiences, not items of material value. Things and stuff will come and go with the changing needs and environments of their owners, but experiences live on forever and continue to impact us in a variety of unexpected ways throughout the course of our lives.
I plan on spending the first third of my year cleansing. Purging my life of things or relationships that no longer serve me. Figuring out what I use in excess and what can be treated as more of a luxury than a right of passage. Simplify, simplify, simplify. I truly believe that leading a simple life keeps us grounded and all the more grateful for the rarities life has to offer.
Once I have done some soul-cleansing, I plan on becoming the healthiest version of myself. This isn’t necessarily restricted to goals like eating organic/gluten-free/vegan/pescatarian/whatever diet fad comes next, or working out X times a week. The goal is to have a healthy mind, body and spirit. This can be achieved in a number of ways, but for me, I prefer the arts of meditation, cooking, creating, teaching, gardening, writing, dancing, surfing and entertaining.
I am no longer on a solo quest to find happiness. I successfully found happiness in my own heart. I have loved the person I challenged and allowed myself to become this past year, and as a result, found many others who loved the person I became as well. The journey has been so insanely fulfilling, all I want to do is share my happiness with others and help them find it in themselves.
I want people that are unhappy with their 9-5 jobs to look at me and not be afraid to do something drastic. I want to write literature that leads people to find their passion and follow it with every ounce of their being. I will create great art that will be admired by many. I will bring people together to inspire and support one another. I will travel and share my sense of adventure with the people that I love. I will smile at every stranger, I will count my blessings every night, and I will be in the best shape of my life – both mentally and physically. I will continue to live in gratitude, thanking every person I meet for bettering my life in some way.
These are not New Year’s Resolutions and I don’t know if or when I will complete them by, but these are my intentions and they are going to continue to guide me through my life journey, whichever direction it may lead me in.
May your intentions be set from your heart, and may they better your soul. For the experiences during your journey will be far more valuable than the things you have to show for it.