Why are we watching people crowd in the cold to shout and watch a ball that I can’t even see? I’ve never eaten black eyed peas, but I’m supposed to prepare them every January 1. Fireworks- the loud gunshot adjacent bangs and I-know-it’s-coming-but-not-quite-when-it-will-explode flashes of light- terrify me and my muscles unconsciously tense through most of the evening. Why set resolutions? If I really wanted to focus on a goal, shouldn’t I begin then instead of waiting until January? The ritual of New Year’s Eve and Day has confused me since I was a child. Besides Martinelli’s sparkling cider going on sale, I would vehemently avoid most everything related to the pomp and circumstance.
Thinking I had to, that it was A Thing That We Did and in a state of desperation, in years past, I would write down goals such as I want to lose 200 pounds because I’m not skinny enough, I need to save $100/month because I’m not rich enough. I’m not enough. My motivation was that I had already failed and I was grasping at straws to force myself to believe that failure could birth greatness.
I was minimizing myself. Making myself smaller. Both my body and my mind were being restricted.
In addition to focusing on what I lacked, my goals centered on a future time and took me out of the moment. My negative self-talk permeated throughout my objectives, leaving no room for pleasure or enjoying the life I was living.
That slightly changed last year when I decided to focus on setting intentions for the new year, not resolutions. When ready to end a toxic cycle, to change something not serving me, intentions allow me to create a new and specific frame of mind that will serve my purpose (thanks Therapist Hannah!). To communicate and act on:
- who I want to be
- what I want to contribute
- how I choose to invest in community
I would form the objective that guides my actions by:
- Framing it in the present: I intend to invite calm and ease within myself
- Making the action attainable: I will meditate for 10 minutes this morning
- Leaving room to adjust: My intention is to enjoy the things that invite ease
My intention for 2021 was authenticity, first accepting and then embracing who I am naturally. Being bodacious. Throughout the year, when trying to decide to take on something new I would in part wonder how does this relate to being my authentic self and then move accordingly. When I collaborated with a local domestic violence services agency to create a series of writing workshops for survivors, my goal was to cultivate healing and invest in the collective well-being of my community. I thought back on how honing in on my sense of self while healing from abuse was not the glamorous road that media (including aesthetic Instagram quote pics, storylines in movies and TV shows) made it out to be. How I wanted the space to authentically explore how sexual violence changes the way we view ourselves and how we can relearn who we are. Finding my purpose and passion, learning how to comfort myself through fear and knowing my worth allowed me to hone in on my sense of self and see that I was abundant- that my body was a site of liberation and I had all the resources within myself to live a full life.
My intention for this year is to accept abundance. To gift myself the maximum time and space to invest in myself. The maximum amount of time to recharge, the maximum number of staunch boundaries that I need with people.
Part of abundance for me is remembering that I am part of an ecosystem, like a forest. I would often think of trees as solely individual trees, often in competition with each other for resources such as water, sunlight, nutrients from the soil. In actuality the roots of different trees are often connected. United with each other. If one tree is nourishing itself, it has more resources to nourish and feed the others. Again thinking of my own body as a site of liberation, I deserve to nurture myself, so I can be both fed and a feeder.
This also means loving in abundance. My love for myself and for others is not finite. It is not a pie that will eventually run out of slices, or where some might get a larger piece than others. Each new relationship, whether platonic, family, etc., is its own unique creation between and defined by us. I view relationships in a non-hierarchical way based off of communication, autonomy, mutual needs and wants, and caring for one another. I want to learn more about each person in natural and genuine ways (hey authenticity and prior intentions carrying over!). I have learned that when I remove outside expectations from what a friendship should and shouldn’t be, it slowly over time takes its natural form when we move at the speed of trust. It can become something more beautiful than what limiting societal expectations dictate.
When I’m able to nourish and see the abundance in myself, I am then able to love others in abundance, in a mutually defined relationship.
I intend to embrace the fullness within myself and the enrichment and love I can give others. I will nourish myself as part of an ecosystem, not a competitor. I will not treat my love as a limited resource.
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