The holiday season is always a time of great reflection for me. As I begin preparing for the New Year and setting my goals, I think about what happened over the last year and what I hope for in the next. This year, in addition to my goals I will be setting some intentions for 2015. Unlike goals which are measurable and concrete, intentions are hopes and desires, more feeling than fact. I’ve decided that I’m great at setting goals and achieving, but I’ve been asking myself more and more, “How do I want to feel while I’m working towards my goals?”. That’s where intention comes in. So in 2015, I set my intention for the following:
This year I want to focus on what it means to be in relationship with others–the people I am in direct connection with and humanity as a whole. In 2014, I was blessed to live in Japan for much of the year and I have begin thinking about what it means to fully love myself and share that love with others. Despite the language barrier, I have come to meet wonderful people that have touched my life and I hope that I have touched them, as well. I have also come to love a different culture and way of being. Japanese society has taught me the value of simultaneously respecting tradition while being forward-thinking and innovative. In 2015, I hope to give love by being open and accepting of new people, new places, and new experiences. I will love myself and others by setting healthy boundaries.
Joy is wonderment combined with gratitude. Fully experiencing each moment by being present and thankful for the gift and/or lesson of the moment is my focus for 2015. Over the course of 2014, I learned that life without joy is a chore. I also learned that being filled with joy is a choice. I want to continue to choose a life of gratitude and wonder as much as possible in the new year. Confession, joy is not my default setting. Left to my own devices, I can easily become pessimistic and just plain icky, so I will be striving towards joy all year, hoping that by 2016, I will be joy expert!
My intention for community goes hand-in-hand with love. In love, we give and we take. We share intimacy by knowing the other person and allowing ourselves to be known. Community is love on a bigger scale. Being in community means giving recognition and support to a group of people that have something in common with you and receiving recognition and support from that group.
Living in Japan has meant physical separation from my family, friends, and the organizations and clubs that I am a part of. I have had to find and form new groups of people to belong with. In the process of “getting in where I fit in”, I’ve had to think a lot about the pieces that make up the whole me. I’ve had to decide which pieces of me need nurturing and recognition from others with similar pieces and which parts of myself I can care for on my own. As protests have erupted all over the US in response to police brutality and a demand for justice for all, I have contemplated what I can do about an issue that effects me and the members of my community, despite being a world away from it all. I would like to discover more ways to give back to my community when I am apart from it.
My experiences in Japan have also made me think about what it means to be a responsible member of a new community. I am an outsider that hopes to get in. I am struggling to learn the language and customs with the hope that at the very least I will demonstrate polite manners and social grace, while maintaining faith that I can come a little bit closer to being a part of the community in which I am living and creating lasting relationships with people I live among. In the new year, I want to continue to explore what I bring to the communities in which I am physically present and what I can contribute to those communities that I am absent from.
Are you setting intentions for the new year. If so, how do your intentions connect with your goals? Here’s to sending 2014 off with a blast and welcoming 2015 with a bang!