Surrender to 2016

Surrender to 2016

Resolutions, Intentions or Goals?

If you have a tough time making and keeping New Year’s resolutions, or just think the whole thing is full of crap, this post is for you.

Recently I alluded to having been on a pretty intense slog of a Shamanic San Pedro retreat (if you need more info about what that is, read here). It’s been about a month since the ceremony and I’ve had some time to digest the experience, so I thought now would be a good moment to share a small chunk of the wisdom from that weekend. We’ve just broken through the membranes of 2016, with many of us reflecting on what we feel went wrong or right for us in the last year. This re-cap can be acidic (2015 you are a fucker) or saccharine (sigh, #soblessed).

Regardless of what camp you fell into, 2015 is over: say no more, mon amour; grab the proverbial fork, for she is done. Now we can only look forward. 2016 is here to stay for the next 12 months.

The more proactive of us have been toying with drafting the dreaded list of new year’s resolutions. Shudder.

We’ve all been there before, declaring the big list of insane, inane achievable items. And we hardly ever achieve them. From my perspective, the reason resolutions don’t always pan out is because –foreshadowing- we usually write them from our minds, and not our hearts. We tend to write goals, not resolutions. It’s often a cut and dry grocery list, an ice-cold summary of semi-purchaseables.

Want to eat healthier? Start shopping organic. Want to get in shape? Book a personal trainer. Want to learn French? Rosetta Stone, added to cart. Want to see Italy? Cash in some air miles.

See what I mean? There’s not a shit-ton of heart there. Possibly some credit card debt, possibly some level of focus or commitment, even some enlightened use of scheduling tactics – but not a lot of heart. You might feel momentarily buoyed if you tick something off the list, but it’s not likely to help you change or grow as a person.

Focusing on writing heart-based resolutions or intentions, not just goals, changes the game entirelyA peek into the origin of these words may help illuminate the difference: the word “resolution” is from the latin root “resolvere”, which actually means to loosen, or release; “intention” comes from the latin root “intentio”, meaning stretching or purpose; and finally “goal”, our good friend #goal, actually descends from Middle English, meaning limit or boundary.

So which will you choose this year – to release, stretch, or limit yourself?

I have a hard time trusting that things will unfold the way they should. Sometimes things unfold slightly differently than we think they should (or they don’t unfold at all). I’m busy looking for ‘signs’ all the time, little totems I can line up on the hearth to convince myself that the path I’m on is still in line with the one I created in my mind.

Think back to a time in your life that something magical happened for you unexpectedly: meeting the love of your life, getting a huge break in your career, moving city or country. These things rarely happen purely by design or through your vision, and they didn’t feature on your list of resolutions. They just happened, landing at your feet like candles at the altar. The very part of us that thinks and believes it knows what it wants is our enemy. In desperate need for clarity, we can crowd out the possibility for trust, magic, love and synchronicity.

That’s why for 2016, my intention is to surrender. I’m going to surrender to the possibility that every goal I set could be a boundary in disguise. I’m going to let go and have faith that the Universe might have much more amazing things in store for me than I could ever plan. I’m going to trust that I won’t always know the way, but the way itself already knows.

And this is what my last Shamanic plant ceremony was about: surrendering myself to be stretched against all of my mental resistance that thinks it knows a better way. That, and becoming a gorilla…but that will have to wait for another post.

So what will be most important to you in 2016: your heart or your mind; belief or faith; clarity or trust?

I hope you resolve to live in your heart, bursting with trust and faith, surrendering fully to the beautiful unknown that 2016 will bring.

Quotes to share from people who said it better than me:

“Faith is not a belief. Faith is what is left when your beliefs have all been blown to hell. Faith is in the heart, while beliefs are in the head. Experiences, even spiritual experiences, come and go. As long as you base your faith on experience, your faith is going to be constantly flickering, because your experiences keep changing.”

― Ram DassBe Love Now: The Path of the Heart

“…I had asked her to pray for me. She said “for what?” “For clarity,” I pled. And she immediately said no, she would not pray for that. I complained that she seemed always to have clarity and certitude. “I’ve never had clarity and certitude,” she said. “I only have trust. I’ll pray that you trust.”

Mother Teresa and John Kavanaugh

Do you have any resolutions you’d like to share? Let me and the rest of the crew hear about it below in the comments. ♥



  1. TheWooMaster
    January 3, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    I couldn’t find a way to write it into the post – but the best New Year’s Resolution I ever made was to spend as much money on the inside as the outside. It was a great one as it wasn’t ‘achievable’ per se, and made me seriously shift how and when I spent my time, money and energy. 🙂 xxx

  2. January 6, 2016 / 10:15 pm

    I did enjoy your description of when things happen seemingly unexpectedly. I can recall some of those occasions and how delightful they were so interesting reading. As for resolutions – I have some thoughts about doing more writing – lets see where it leads.

    • TheWooMaster
      January 9, 2016 / 6:34 pm

      Thanks so much Gillian, huge apologies for the delayed reply – you were incorrectly sent to the spam dungeon! One of the bits of wisdom that came out of my Shamanic ceremony is that the magic of life is in all that unexpected, beautiful ‘fate’ – in that moment we become vessels receiving exactly what is intended for us. By over-doing/thinking/analyzing, we crowd the space energetically and make it difficult to receive. To surrender, therefore, is to receive. I hope that you do continue writing, and that it leads somewhere fantastic. 🙂 I’ll be checking your blog out as well! Take care. xxxx

  3. January 7, 2016 / 10:02 pm

    Thank you so much for your eloquent summary of what I have for so long felt, but not always been able to express due to word-finding malfunction! You are so very right (in my opinion) about the need to stop and get into our hearts before we set our intentions, because the only way we will actually move forwards is by knowing with certainty that we truly desire something – and where else does that desire truly live if not our hearts! For the record, my intention this year is to trust in magic 😉

    • TheWooMaster
      January 7, 2016 / 11:10 pm

      Thank you so much Helen! I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. And thank you for the kind words too. Surrendering was a big theme for my last Shamanic ceremony, albeit a very, very difficult one for this impatient Aries. It’s so easy to be run by the cognitive machine, and not just when we’re making resolutions, right!? I LOVE your intention, that’s a great one. I hope it comes back to you tenfold. 🙂

      • January 7, 2016 / 11:20 pm

        You’re so welcome… surrendering was definitely a massive lesson for me last year too – an equally impatient Aries!!

  4. January 9, 2016 / 8:40 pm

    I just love this post and all the wisdom and inspiration here.

    I so easily get caught up in do-ing – in fact I get a thrill from doing as many different things at one time as humanly possible (yeah, Gemini). And as a Northerner I’m conditioned to take life, particularly career and the business of making a living, very very seriously. Which means I’m often in an adrenaline state, spinning in my head and living life at warp speed with little time to stop and smell the coffee.

    So ‘Surrender’ and ‘Trust’ are my intentions for the year ahead – along with being present in my body and opening to explore the thrill of living deeper not faster.

    PS: Off to join the Woo Thang Clan right away – this feels like coming home. Thank you for creating this space to share.

    • TheWooMaster
      January 9, 2016 / 11:44 pm

      Thanks for commenting Linda! I also have a BIG problem with this. I’ve only started to work on surrendering seriously since my last Shamanic ceremony in the beginning of December. Even then, I fought against the medicine for almost half of the night! Control, and the desire to feel really ‘on top’ of everything in this heavy, anticipatory way is SO seductive. I was on psychotropics and still couldn’t manage it all the time!! Ha! 🙂 Thank you so much for following and joining, I’m so happy to have you as part of the clan. The space is only meaningful with you guys in it too – so thank you. <3

  5. Mysti Easterwood
    January 15, 2016 / 4:58 pm

    You are such a treasure, Lee. Thanks for the good Woo(rd). In 2014 I hit 6 out of 7, because they all had to do with resuming my career as a writer. Then 2015 struck – BOOM! (Sarah’ll tell you the hardest bit).

    This year, having seen that the War of the Titans was (re)announced on Friday, Nov. 13 in Paris, I’ve made it my “resolution’ to treat each & every Freya’sDay as the goddessresplendent space that it is — through 2016. Cooking, kissing, meditating, bathing: anything that honors Her in my ever-so-temporary form, which She graces with some wit and leftover beauty — but irrepressible curiosity about the what-next-ness of this Wicked Olde World.

    Thea Zöe.

    • TheWooMaster
      January 15, 2016 / 6:24 pm

      Thank you so much! And welcome to the motley crew. I love your Freya’s Day resolution. It’s been some time since I’ve heard it referenced that way, and it was great to go back and to re-examine the etymology.

      I understand what you have been through, at least in part, which is to say that I understand almost nothing. To withstand such moments in life is to prove that you do not just have a stash of ‘leftover beauty’ at your disposal – you clearly have mountains of it. I’m really wishing you and your family the very best for 2016. Thank you so much for coming here to share – this space becomes what it is because of woo-men like you.