You’ve probably heard of (or done) the world of the year practice— you pick a single word for you year ahead— an intention, a desire, a goal.
I started this practice as casually as anyone, not realizing what all I was claiming or inviting in by my choice, often forgetting about my word within weeks of choosing one.
Having no clear intention for your year, or setting one and then taking zero action in that direction are both bad habits that will keep you in repetitive cycles.
As Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Setting intentions is about bringing more consciousness to your choices.
As I started to take this word-of-the-year practice more seriously, something shifted. It became an incantation, and the primary value I used to help make decisions. I would ask, “which choice is more aligned with my intention for the year?.
Equally as beautiful was using it as a lens through which to reflect on all that had happened the 12 months prior.
There was the year I chose fearless. I traveled across the world by myself for the first time. I learned how to be alone. I had built walls around my heart after a devastating relationship and kept them there so long I stopped noticing I was closed. This year I started pulling them down and had years of repressed emotion bubble up. I hired staff for my business before the income existed to cover payroll, and invested thousands in business coaching on a credit card. I jumped again and again before I could see the net appear. I did not become fearless, but I cultivated courage. I got free from so many of my limiting beliefs about what I was capable of, and what was possible. Not only through discovering how many of my fears were mirages, but through fears realized, and coming out the other side.
Then there was the year I chose “surrender”. Oh God. Little did I know. And God-stuff, it was. My heart was broken open again and again that year and I writhed and fought and resisted the cracking until I was brought to my knees. My control mechanisms were challenged at every turn. I learned what it means to let go and I learned how to grieve. It changed everything. I started my coaching practice, I healed deep attachment wounds, I dove into my ancestral karma, and got intimate with my own mortality in a way that freed up so much energy.
The next year I chose from my ego, and claimed “effortless”. I thought it my heart at the time. The heart truth would have been “peace” or “rest” or “relaxed” but I was too scared of what I’d have to give up for those). Effortless, it was not. I came up against obstacle after obstacle. A year of continuous frustrations and toiling. I was angry, and tired and indignant and at times despairing until I got the message. Your intention word is a choice for the curriculum, not the experience during the learning! I was being taught all the ways I created more work and all the ways I was conditioned to “effort” harder. I had to get brutally honest with my victimhood patterns. Victimhood creates heaviness and collapse. This year taught me to stop avoiding the work. Hard choices = easy life, easy choices = hard life. Now, I don’t ask for easy; I ask for strength, I ask for resolve. And rather than collapsing into “why me”, I bring my inner warrior when I’m faced with challenges.
Last year, I chose a Sanskrit word that means the grace, power, and patience of an elephant. Invoking the unbothered and gentle way in which elephants navigate through a village pack of barking dogs. Elephants don’t need to prove their power. I got to see all the ways my self-esteem was attached to external metrics of success. I got serious about creating sustainability and balance in my business, finances, and relationships. I made choices based on heart instead of strategy or image. I cleaned up energy leaks and shone a light on the princess fantasies and behaviors that were holding me back. I found myself the most rested, nourished, and truly relaxed in my own skin I’ve ever been.
You can implement this practice, too. I lead a free workshop annually on the Lunar New Year and guide people through practices to connect with body, heart, and spirit so you can channel an intention that serves your highest good. You can also choose intention words on a new moon for the 4 weeks ahead, or an intention for a trip, or an experience you’re headed into.
Bringing consciousness to your values and desires through intention will only enrich your life.
Let me know how it goes,