[Listen to me read this reflection here]
You and me, we are both like a snowflake. Unique and beautiful in our own way, yet also here temporarily.
As my understanding of the reality of impermanence continues to strengthen, my desire to be intentional in the choices that I make also continues to strengthen.
The growing desire to be intentional leads me to ask a big question at the start of a new year: what direction will I go?
Imagine walking into a forest, where no one has travelled before. In the face of this, there are two reactions: to feel scared or to feel excited. If you feel scared, then you can stop reading this reflection as it is not yet relevant for you. If you feel excited to pave your own path, then continue reading.
While on my own path, there are some big decisions and many small decisions that inform where I go. With no clear markers along the way, I ask myself where I believe I should go. Not what others expect of me, but what I expect of me.
There are naturally obstacles along my journey. Moments when it is dark and cloudy, and when I feel lost. I need help to navigate the unknown and the uncertainty.
What I have started to learn is that when the countless choices that I must make on my path are aligned with a guiding direction, then I actually go somewhere. When they are not, I remain lost.
For the past several years on this day, I have set a one word intention to be that direction for the year ahead. It is a north star or compass, one that helps me navigate the choices I make, large and small.
Last year, my intention was heart. For me, it was specifically an intention to explore leading life more with my heart versus my mind. When I reflect on the year that was, I am eternally grateful for this intention as it helped me make choices that took me on paths that I otherwise would not have traveled.
In previous years, my one word intentions have been trust, fearless, freedom, energy and discovery. All deeply personal and relevant to me, in my own unique way, at the time when I chose them.
This year, my intention is space. It has a very specific meaning for me at this moment. It is learning to give more space to ideas, people and situations, and most of all, it is learning to give myself more space to understand, process and navigate. I could not be more excited to explore this intention in the year ahead.
The ritual to set a one word intention at the start of each year is different from setting goals or resolutions. What I have learned from past experience is that when I set goals, I become closed in my thinking and discriminate against new ideas, opportunities and experiences that are not directly aligned with my goals.
On the other hand, when I set a one word intention, I become open. Open to new possibilities, as I feel empowered to choose along the way how this intention might manifest. The one word is meant to be abstract and non specific to any one context or circumstance. This is the quality that invites creativity and openness.
In reading this reflection, by now you might already know your one word intention for the year ahead.
I encourage you to share your one word intention with those close to you (and I would also love to hear it). Sharing my intention with others is a way for me to further commit to it, to receive encouragement and support, and possibly inspire others to come up with their own one word intention.
If you are looking for inspiration, below is a list of one word intentions that friends have shared with me in the past few years. Pay attention to how you feel emotionally as you read through them. You know you have found your one word intention when you feel lifted, inspired and energized by it.
Like a snowflake, my time here is what it is. This inspires me to be intentional about each and every moment I get to be here. I hope you choose to be as well.