Tuesday, January 15, 2013

new year inspiration

Halfway into January. Still time for inspiration & intentions for the year to be what you most need and desire. Join Meredith Swim on a little journey of intentions, breath, and all things compassionate. How sweet is she?

As a little girl, the glittering wake of the New Year inspired my own small tradition for goal making. A journal, a pile of markers and a quiet corner were the necessary ingredients for cooking up Resolutions for the New Year. 

I mused on places I longed to explore, books I wanted to read, academic disciplines I needed to implement to get straight As, and beauty rituals I should adopt to look more like a polished J-Crew model. 

The blank sheet transformed into a long list of lofty goals with flowers and hearts decorating the sides. By this time next year, I vowed, I would be smarter, prettier, more confident, and more successful. I’ll just be a BETTER me.
These goals, however, quickly faded from memory until the next time I flipped through the diary’s pages and discovered them. Guilt and a sense of failure always accompanied these sudden goal discoveries because many of them had yet to manifest into reality (I haven’t traveled to Cambodia (yet) and the printer I swore to repair for the past three years remains on vacation). 

Over the past few New Years, I’ve either grudgingly concocted a resolution list or simply skipped it all together. The arrival of 2013, however, brought back the familiar awe I use to feel as a child with the start of the New Year. 

This year is already a year of life transitions - college graduation looms on the horizon and questions arising about the next life step to take are occupying worries and daydreams - and thus, it’s a year of possibilities. 

If I was adhering to the old tradition, I would have created a master goal list concerning GRE scores, internship applications, and additional yoga certifications (all in purple and pink marker, of course!). 

Yoga inspired a new twist on my New Year tradition. Instead of crafting my resolutions, I planted three intentions to guide me through the New Year. A yoga practice doesn’t feel whole for me unless I’ve set an intention; it’s a way for me to direct my thoughts and energy into a purposeful action. 

When I am a student, I intend to stay with my breath and when I teach, I intend to teach to the best of my abilities at this time and space. So, similar to my yoga practice, I decided to let my year unfold through intentions.
Now, what’s the difference between a goal and an intention? This question prompted some research (thank you, Yoga Journal!). Intention and goal are often interchangeably used, but goals are future oriented while intentions focus on the present (yogis are all about the present moment). An intention connects you to your Authentic Self and your inner values. 

Also, intentions and goals collaborate beautifully together. An intention can keep you true to your Authentic Self as you work toward your goal. My goals for taking the GRE this summer will be aided by my intention of practicing compassion toward myself. 

I intend to be kind, not critical, as I study and if by this time next year, I’ve practiced just an ounce more compassion toward myself and others, then, I accomplished some spiritual growth. 
I’m intending to stay connected to my breath as I navigate the daily moments of my last undergraduate semester, keeping me in the present and not worrying about whatever lies ahead. I’m intending to radiate my authentic self; staying true to myself will foster confidence, acceptance and the courage to pursue dreams. 

With this intention, I also observe my journey from the viewpoint that there is no need to “improve myself and be better.” 

I’m already all I need to be for this moment in time and so are you, yogi and blog reader. 

Staying with my breath, remaining connected to Self, and feeling and practicing compassion  already give me reason to celebrate the sweet heartbeats and little beauties of 2013. 

There’s no need to push, the year is blossoming from the seeds of intentions. 

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