New Year Intentions

New Year Intentions

Sydney New Years Eve Fireworks 2007(Image by Christopher Chan via Flickr)

Round two of Holiday Madness is complete, and hopefully, we are on the other side in one piece. Now on the last stretch of the holiday road, we can now let go and get ready to celebrate the coming of the New Year.  For starters, many are ending this decade sober and stronger than they once were, optimistic in their desire for positive personal change in the year to come.  Some may be teetering on the edge of relapse, or may have already ventured down that path.  Hopefully, they make it back to the willing arms of recovery–remember, it just takes the willingness and desire to ask for help!

That said, all of us, sober or otherwise, look upon the burgeoning new year as a summons to better ourselves. We habitually make promises and set intentions to behave differently than we did the year before; we typically do pretty well in keeping those promises in the first month or so, and then, well, complacency begins to set in. The new membership to the gym starts to gather dust or we fall short in our attempts to deepen our spiritual practice, listening less to the call of our hearts and more to the chatter in our heads; at some point, we may even forget why we made these promises and intentions in the first place.

After countless years of failed “resolutions,” and a persistent sense of disappointment,  I decided to begin a new tradition, which is to no longer make promises I can’t keep, but rather, set intentions that allow me to get back up again if I should fall short. Intentions like being more committed to my life, my family, my sobriety, my spirituality. Or intentions to be kinder to myself and spend less time berating myself for things that are banal and insignificant, i.e., not making it to yoga one day or getting frustrated while I’m driving. In the grand scheme of things, one failed yoga class or a frustrated honk of the horn won’t eradicate the initial intentions that were set. Rather, those moments of forgetting allow me to ignite a practice of forgiveness, which allows me to forgive some of those shortcomings as I work so diligently to transform them.  Frankly, the real intention is our effort to change. “Progress not perfection,” right?

As long as we go forth one step, one breath, one day at a time, eventually, all the effort will pay off, leaving us with less dust, and more fervent joy.

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