Last week my writing group gathered for lunch. This was not one
of our regular every other week meetings, when we each read or share something from a current project. No, this was simply time for friends to check-in with each other, but I suggested we also share our intentions for the year.
This group keeps my writing self accountable, and I knew saying my intentions out loud to them would be an extra push towards fulfilling them. Therefore, I wanted to be very sure I could commit myself to my announced intentions.
In order to do that I spent big chunks of time during the previous couple days reading my journals from the past year, consulting my 2016 calendar and going through my writing notebook.
Last year my main intention was to finish the first full draft of my book. Did I accomplish that?
Not quite. Almost.
I wrote 17 chapters for a total of 28, but I still have four more to write. I was disappointed in myself, and spent time whipping myself for the times I was not focused and disciplined enough to accomplish that main goal. And now here I am entering the new year feeling behind.
Well, that's wasted energy, isn't it? So the next thing I needed to do was forgive myself. I don't mean making up excuses. ("Remember, you had a terrible cold the month of January and could barely write a word." or "The fall was SO busy with other obligations.") I don't mean fooling myself or not looking at myself as clearly as possible. I just mean forgiving myself and moving on. Learning and moving on. And even, here's a new concept, honoring myself for the 17 chapters I did write!
Sometimes I think I am in competition with myself. After all, no one is forcing me to write this book. No one is standing over me and saying, "You have not worked on your book for two days! What's the matter with you, you slug?"
Intentions are not about winning or crossing a finish line. Instead, an intention needs to address who you are, your essence, and the person you are called to be. Especially as we get older.
Pilgrimage into the Last Third of Life, Gateways to Spiritual Growth, an excellent book by Jane Marie Thibault and Richard L. Morgan, offers these words of wisdom to guide my consideration of intentions for 2017. First, is the advice to commit "to life where we find ourselves," and the other is the hope of "being the visible presence of the God within."
My intentions need to evolve from a place of authenticity and out of my relationship with the sacred, the divine, the holy. My intentions need to honor and be present to the life I am privileged to live now. My intentions need to include space for breathing.
I did share with my writing group my main intentions, especially those that focus on my writing plans, and they seem manageable and possible. I have printed them on nice paper and posted them next to my desk and reading them each morning has become a moment of prayer before I sit at my desk.
I'll let you know how it goes.
What are your intentions for this new year? I would love to know.