I quit resolutions, cold turkey, 5 years ago. Since then, I've never looked back. Instead, I've welcomed each New Year with intention in a myriad of creative ways that celebrate me, my unique journey and the aspirations I have for each New Year. Ushering in 2016 was no different.
2016's blessings made their grand entrance days before January 1 through Facebook of all places. A friend shared Susannah Conway's course "Find your Word 2016." I didn't gravitate towards the free course right away, as I'd found my way to other expressions of New Year's intentions over the last several years.
2012, my first year of trading resolutions for intentions, was one of my favorites. I deemed it the The Year of my Creativity. I buddied up with my pal, Groupon, to explore the cultural offerings of my hometown at the time, Portland, Oregon, on the cheap. I lived out my year of creative expression through African drumming, aerial yoga, glass blowing, hip hop, photography, sewing and creative writing groups and classes. I stretched physically, emotionally and creatively. This New Year's intention thing was a success and I was hooked! It was so much more enriching than setting a New Year's resolution that wouldn't make it out of its first month.
In 2013, I fittingly chose two intentions for my first full year living in Nashville, TN - balance and harmony. Little did I know that these two words would serve as a beacon guiding me through one of the hardest years of my life. Balance and harmony encouraged me to choose self care and opportunities for support and community and provided me with the necessary grounding and healing through the unexpected loss of my mom, a scary diagnosis and the preparation for surgery the next year. 2014 gifted me with Danielle LaPorte's The Desire Map. I stepped up last minute as a bookclub leader and unknowingly stepped into a life-altering experience.
Courageous, ease and happy coursed through my veins and influenced nearly every decision I made in 2014. In lieu of intentions, I worked with The Desire Map's core desired feelings (cdfs) which prompted actions and choices based on feeling the way I wanted to feel. Last year, I continued with my cdfs, though they shifted a bit, to courageous, ease and ecstatic. I coupled them with Thich Nhat Hanh's poignant question, "will the New Year really be a new year, or will it be just a repetition of the old year?" I gathered my core desired feelings and answered Hanh with a resounding "no" by uprooting my entire life and traveling through Southeast Asia in 2015.
Last month, rather than giving thought to the quickly nearing New Year, I was rightfully knee-deep in the final weeks of my travels. Thankfully, my friend's Facebook post entered my newsfeed for the second time, finally grabbing my attention to join the 5 day free course to find my word for 2016. Free being even better than Groupon, the quality of the course content surprised me. Through the course’s thoughtful prompts, I formulated a list of 50 potential words down to one word, my word for 2016: illuminate!
The last 31 days of 2016 have illuminated my whole being. I greeted 2016 through chanting, singing, dancing and meditating with kindred spirits at Anand Ashram on New Year's Eve in Ubud, Bali. I continued to illuminate 2016 by practicing yoga and dancing my heart's song with Michael Franti at the Yoga Barn on New Year's Day. By illuminating my life, I infused my last days in Bali earlier this month with a vibration that was the highest it's ever been. I felt resolve and clear-mindedness like I've never experienced. I treated my body with the purest foods and my heart and mind with the richest experiences. I honored my path and literally went wherever the illuminated path lead.
I continue to illuminate through thought, word and action since I've returned to the States. I aspire to illuminate the lives of others and extend the love of Mother Bali through a month of free healing sessions.
As the next 11 months unfold, I resolve to illuminate 2016! Stay tuned for all the light ♥
Connect with these questions and ideas to celebrate you, your unique journey and your aspirations for 2016:
How do you plan to live 2016?
What can you do to ensure that 2016 will truly be a New Year and not a repetition of the old year?
How might you live with intention in 2016?
Would it serve you to choose a word, theme or feeling to guide you in 2016?
If so, try these on:
Go with your gut, as I did in 2012 and 2013. Sit in meditation with intention. Have a journal or piece of paper handy. Sit uninterrupted for at least 5 minutes. Close your eyes and ask, "what word or theme would best serve my highest good in 2016?" As words or thoughts arise, write them down. Spend time with each of the words after your meditation. Narrow to one or two words and commit to them. Set them as your intention for 2016!