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 entirely. A 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.”
“…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.”
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. ♥