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Wise Intentions for the New Year

I call the moment when you fully know that a change is achievable realizing the imaginative possible.  When you are able to envision that an alternative is real, you experience a sudden energetic surge toward actualizing it, which becomes self-reinforcing.

 ….. Phillip Moffitt  (2012)  Emotional Chaos To  Clarity.                              Hudson Street Press/ Penguin Group USA

The New Year holiday is a natural time to reflect on the cycles in our lives – the beginnings and endings, the losses and renewals, the ongoing narrative themes that weave in, out, and through our life story.

In the ritual of new year’s resolutions,  we also have an auspicious opportunity to contemplate our aspirations and intentions, our longings as we go forward into the unfolding future.  

For more than I decade, I have had a personal new year’s practice of reflecting on and then writing about my goals and intentions for the new year.   I distinguish between goals and intentions.  Goals express our preferences for future;  what we want to accomplish;  what we want to bring into being.  They provide inspiration and direction as well as determine how we allocate our time and resources.  Intentions, on the other hand, are statements about how we would like to actually think, act, and speak in any given moment as we move forward towards our goals.   Together, goals and intentions describe our purpose—  the forward thrust of our energy going forward.

In my practice,  New Year’s is a time to focus on the “imaginative possible” (to use Moffitt’s phrase from the opening quote).     I bring my awareness to my deepest longings and I inquire deeply about what I am committed to in my life.  I reflect on the projects that I am involved in and want to bring to fruition, as well as those that are on the leading edge of my interest.

The wisdom in “new year’s resolutions”  is the fact that intentions can function as a blueprint for the changes we want to make, in several ways.  First, clear seeing and clear intention are essential in formulating effective strategies for action.  Second, when our purpose is clear and coherent, we are on course towards a particular outcome.  And third, intentions help us stay centered in the moment by keeping our attention focused on what is important and by helping us stay optimally responsive to changing circumstances and conditions.


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