Right now, this year is a blank slate. What challenges will we face? What joys, surprises, and connections await? Today, we cannot possibly know what’s coming—but we can prepare by setting some intentions. Below are some of mine for the coming year.
- Be in the moment. I want to be fully aware and present for every moment—the joyful moments as well as the ordinary and the difficult ones. Through being present and paying attention, I aim to learn, appreciate, and live more authentically.
- Be choosy about my commitments. A harried, too busy, never-enough-time lifestyle is one of the unhealthy trappings of our culture. When I know my priorities and choose my commitments based on being true to my priorities, I can ensure that my time, energy, and action are purposefully directed. And yes, this means sometimes saying “no” to things!
- Be connected. My friends, family, and extended community help me know myself more fully and keep me grounded. As we move into a year that will surely be politically and culturally challenging, staying connected in community is one of my top priorities.
- Listen to marginalized communities. The people and communities who find themselves on the margins of our society are the people and communities whose experience and perspective I most need to listen to and learn from. Right now, I am eager to listen to voices of immigrants; people of color; religious minorities (especially Muslims); GLBT persons; and women.
- Be kind to myself. I can’t take care of anyone else or do any good in the world if I’m not being kind to myself. For me, being kind to myself means simple things like getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, and reading a good book. More challenging, it means forgiving myself for shortcomings and imperfections, dusting off, getting up, and trying again.
- Be brave. Though we cannot know what challenges this year will bring, I expect challenges that demand we stretch in ways we haven’t had to stretch before—that ask us to speak out when staying quiet seems safer—that require us to move beyond our “safety zones” and engage in the world and our communities differently. It won’t be easy for any of us—me included. When I’m faced with difficult choices about when and how to engage, my intent is to be brave and do what’s right—even if it feels hard and scary.
What are your intentions for 2017? Think them through. Write them down. Post them in a place where you’ll see them as a regular reminder. In the rush of the day-to-day, we need reminders to help us stay on track! Another great way to create accountability for your intentions is to share them with others in your community. In my next post, I’ll speak more about that.
Happy New Year! Together, let’s get to work.