I’ve never thought of my self as a New Years Resolution sort of person. I’m absolutely a goal-setting person, but I didn’t like scheduling my goal setting for the onset of a new year. Yet here at the beginning of 2019 I find myself with a New Year’s Intention for the third year in a row. Not a resolution, not something I plan to will into existence, but instead an emotional approach for the next portion of my life. (I grant that the difference between resolution and intention may be splitting hairs, but this is about me, and my life, and how I want to dwell inside my life, I figure I get to use whichever words feel right to me.)
I did not decide ahead of time to find a new intention for the coming year. I didn’t consciously decide them at all. The intentions just arrived mid-to-late December as I was contemplating the year ahead of me. They were like gifts “Here Sandra, this is the focus you need for the year to come.” So I won’t complain at getting a gift again this year.
At the onset of 2017, I felt a need to Grow My Heart to whatever size was necessary to encompass the emotional load ahead of me and to love more people. When the Grinch grew his heart three sizes, he became strong and sure. I wanted that.
At the onset of 2018 I set out to Be Less Afraid. I took the strength I gained from growing my heart and used it to confront my own anxieties. I practiced staying with uncomfortable feelings instead of always taking action to resolve them.
At the onset of 2019 the words that have come to me are Be Courageous. Being less afraid was holding ground without letting fear drive my actions. Being courageous is stepping toward things even if I am afraid. It claims ground. In order to be courageous, I’ll have to continue the practices of growing my heart and being less afraid. Apparently my annual intentions are cumulative.
These intentions aren’t goals. There is nothing I can measure. No progress I can check off of a list. I think that is good for me. Task lists are one of the ways I hide. I wield my tasks-accomplished as evidence of personal value. Not realizing I was even doing that until I started pondering on being courageous and how terrifying it felt to believe in my own worth without outside validation of it. I shy away from that, and from many other things. Courageous me must start doing and claiming the things that task lists were letting me hide from. The specific daily actions I need to be taking become clearer as I continue to think about what courage means in my life.
All of it is a work in progress, not something that will be completed. The ways I live courage in January will likely be different than in August, responding to the differing needs of those periods of time. I have to stay in tune to figure it out as I go. No simple answers or quick fixes here. It will be big and complex. Life is always complex no matter how much we try to compartmentalize and control so the vastness of existence doesn’t overwhelm us.
Be Courageous. It is a worthy work for the coming year.