Sunday, January 5, 2014

Setting An Intention

Affirmation: 2014 is dedicated as "The Year of Divine Connection."

It's January 2014, the beginning of a new year.  I've already visited and examined the past year and now I want to look forward.  Of course, I don't know what whims of fate await me but I've stocked the tool box with tons of coping skills so I'm not going to go forward in fear.  I am going forward in faith and with joyful expectation.  What would you expect from someone who writes about Positive Affirmations?  Last year was a good year.  When I answered the 1st of last week's blog questions about the hardest thing I had to do, the answer wasn't really all that difficult.  It was a lot better than some years that's for sure.  After I wrote the answer I actually felt myself smiling at how blessed I am. 

Many years ago I owned a refrigerator sized calendar that had the entire year on one piece of paper.  I loved that calendar.  I loved looking at the whole year ahead and planning our adventures and special occasions.  I still like to look at the year ahead but now it's all on my computer.  Somehow it doesn't feel as satisfying but I'm adjusting. 

Taking an intention is a regular part of a yoga practice.  I've expanded that to my "off the mat" practice.  I sometimes take an intention for the day. It's pretty cool when it appears in my daily journal.  We take an intention for each of the Pink Ribbon Yoga Retreats.  We've just begun the planning for this year's retreat.  I'm very excited to see what will appear.  It usually comes fairly quickly as the committee discusses on that which they'd like to focus.  Last year was the first time I decided to set a personal intention for the whole year.  I declared 2013 "The Year of Love." 

I have always loved the color yellow.  I live in a yellow "submarine."  It makes me feel happy and yet I still feel grounded when I'm in a yellow room.  Not all yellows, however, it's more buttery than gold.  I've usually added other colors to punch it up, like hot pink or purple.  For the last few months I've had an attraction to the color green.  I mention this because it's a new phase.  In the past I have avoided green.  There wasn't any green inside my home or in my wardrobe.  Now, I've painted my office apple green. I've added a Kelly green print to a couch and then I went crazy and chose green granite for the renovated kitchen.  Nothing I had in the former kitchen went with the green color but I was irresistibly drawn to it and I just relaxed and let it happen.  Why I wondered was this shift taking place?  I was discussing my intention for 2013 with a wise yogi and mentioned my new bent towards the green color.  She reminded me about the chakra colors.  Guess what color the heart chakra is!  Yup, it's green. 

I'd like to believe that my dedication to The Year of Love led to more than just an attraction to green and a new decorating scheme.  Personal growth and internal development is a slow process.  It's just like most other changes one is attempting.  They take time.  There are subtle differences that may not even be perceived for a long time.  It's like that with our affirmations.  We choose them carefully, write them, read them, perhaps say them to ourselves and let them slowly permeate our subconscious and eventually our cellular structure.  Then one day we respond to a situation differently than we had in the past, in a way that affirms us, not diminishes us and we realize our affirmation has manifested. 

As I looked forward to 2014 I had trouble deciding on what besides love was important enough to focus on for a whole year.  I thought about choosing faith as a focus and I considered forgiveness but neither of those felt right.  I do however; want to keep a focus on forgiveness.  One of my affirmations is, I freely forgive myself and others.  And, I do want my faith to grow. I attended a retreat many years ago with my friend Ann Baucom and her spiritual director.  I was going over those notes very recently and there was the spiritual direction for which I was looking.  It entreated me to let my
faith grow not because of a sense of obedience or even a sense of belonging but because it is rooted in experience.  Faith doesn't only increase because of our religious experiences although it is possible but for many, me included, my faith experiences happen both in and outside of church and that's exactly what I want.  I want to see the moon and the stars, I want to feel the sun warm my skin, I want to relish holding someone's hand, I want to hear the bird's song and the ocean's road and I want in that experience to feel God's presence.  I want to feel connected to the Divine.  I'd like to be connected at all times but this is a mediation, a practice.  In order for me to achieve this relationship, this intention, I need to pay close attention and focus on my ultimate desire.  Yes, that is something I would be willing to spend a year cultivating, even a lifetime.  I have dedicated 2014 as The Year of Connecting to the Divine. 

What are you willing to dedicate of year of your life towards?  Perhaps, it's not one phrase; perhaps you have a list of intentions.  I have one of them too.  It hasn't changed from last year. It reminds me of God's bounty and of the truth that I cannot fathom the riches that can be found once we connect to the Divine. My ideal life always includes optimal health but good health and an ideal life require more than care for the body, the body will cease to exist one day no matter how well I care for it.  I need to focus on the spirit too.  As in past January months I carefully considered what my ideal life would include.  I have carefully crafted ten intentions. 

Pray Unceasingly
Forgive Continually
Accept and Give Love Freely
Hug Whenever Possible
Learn Constantly
Dance Often
Eat Mindfully
Recognize the Shadows
Smile Early, Laugh Daily
Be Grateful, Always and for All Things

Happy New Year!  May your year be filled with abundant blessings, prosperity and joy.  Take some time and write down your intentions.  Won't it be wonderful when you do your 2014 review, if you find you've manifested your dreams and aspirations? 

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