Intentions 2023

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This post was a lot to write. And rewrite. I hope you will be able to draw out something for yourselves as I call myself out and set my intentions for the next few weeks. If you are inclined to add anything or offer any suggestions, please do so in the comments. they would be most welcome.

I offered a preview last week of goals, resolutions, whatever they’re to be called this year. That can be found here if you need a reminder of my first thoughts. At the end of that post, I said that I was going to take a break, read a chapter, play a game, and get dinner ready. I did almost none of those things. I’m sure we had dinner, but I can’t think of what it was. Even Saturday night’s dinner was in flux since no one took out the meat from the freezer despite multiple requests. Last night also. (Note that these requests were not always towards others in the house; I told myself to take them out and then forgot to, so it was a multi-person failure.) Pasta until the meat defrosts, I guess.

It’s probably not a bad thing that our (my) new year is off to a less than stellar start since the years that I’m all gung-ho and organized for will often fizzle out by February.

I plan to use my Instagram more, and that was one thing I did do last week: a post on intentions there. You can view it and click to visit there from my sidebar on the left. I will share the picture below since I’m going to try and use it as a guide for my intention setting.

Intentions. (c)2023

The words I used were:

  • Focus
  • Change
  • Intentionality
  • Faith
  • Gratitude
  • Opportunity
  • Kindness
  • Accept
  • Surrender
  • Reflect
  • Begin

Each one has a different thought process behind it, some from years past, others from spiritual direction, some that simply always come up again and again (like focus and intentionality). I may add some as the weeks go by and I settle into my new year.

None of these words are easy to implement in my day-to-day life. I plan to keep a small copy of the list, perhaps with the picture and reflect on it through January, as a mantra, a guide, an accountability checklist. By accountability, I simply mean is this something that I keep in my head. Is it something that I’m aware that I’m doing or am I ignoring it because it’s hard? It’s not a grading system – no A’s or B’s, no failing or unsatisfactory. Am I doing (it, whatever it is) with intentionality or am I sleep-walking through another day?

One thing that I can take a bow on is the following: About a year or two ago, I made the decision that I did not need the last word in online discussions. I also did not need to engage with everyone there. I will still call out lies and misinformation, but at some point, it’s time to walk away. Before I made this decision, I was anxiety-riddled constantly, needing to convince people of the truth, of the facts. This decision needs to be recommitted to every day. I need to know when to walk away, when to push. I’ve been proud of myself, and while this isn’t a new year focus it is something that continues to be encouraged. Every day is a new day.

I will still speak out.

In between birthday fun for my daughter, trying out new Christmas gifts, and just relaxing with the family, I spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday watching the vote for Speaker of the House. I have never seen such a shitshow on the floor of Congress, and it was a despicable showing on the second anniversary of January 6th. Two Republicans nearly came to blows, and one had to be dragged away. I was proud of my party; of their commitment to the people, to the advancement of new leadership without in-fighting and acrimony. Over the weekend, I posted part of the speech given by Minority Leader, NY Representative Hakeem Jeffries, where he took us to church so to speak. It was exhilarating, it was motivating, it was inspirational. I look forward to the day when he is Speaker. The Republicans can say they’re behavior was a lesson in democracy, but in reality, it was a lesson in dysfunction and chaos.

As I told my class last semester, everything is political. Everything. From the water that flows through our pipes to the roads we drive on, from the schools to the garbage pick-ups. We all need to be involved, every year, every election, every race. I guess that’s one of my goals. Civics 101.

Apart from politics, I need to see what priorities I need to keep and pull to the forefront. I’ve come up with three in particular, although there is always room for more. They are:

Therapy.

Writing.

Faith.

I need it all, and I need to learn how to blend them, how to connect them, how to live them, and how to balance them. I should add that word to the photo and list above: balance.

It’s all a balancing act. I’m a mom. I was a teacher. I can multi-task. I can also drop all the spinning plates. It happens. I need to accept that and move on – No. Not on; forward.

As I look at each of those words on the list and the three main places I want to focus on, how do I make it happen? How do I use all the tools available to me without constantly running around in circles, thinking I’m succeeding, but really only standing in the same place?

The first thing I’m going to do is to put a note on my calendar, about a week after Ash Wednesday. Lent is a good time for reevaluation, and I can see how and if I’ve moved forward between now and then.

I’m also going to list one specific, tangible goal here related to the three subjects of therapy (which includes talk, writing, art, etc.), writing, and faith. As I’ve said, and as I believe, they are all interconnected in my life. I rely on my faith in my writing, I write about my faith, talking through things (even if only with myself) – it’s all related and yet still separate enterprises that need their own nurturing and development.

The words sound easy, but we all know that it is also hard. Hard to change, hard to grow, hard to become something different, hard to change. With the internet and social media, we can all be so self-aware and easy to be swayed towards something, even simple, non-hazardous things: a glass or water or Diet Coke?

I know that I’m more outgoing in certain ways since becoming a regular online. I wonder how I managed without the online community that sustains me as much as my family does. I speak my mind more, sometimes to my detriment. I say yes more without saying no first. I realized that I protect myself by declining, and then “changing my mind.” It lets me have the time to think, but I’m getting more comfortable with saying yes (and no when appropriate).

How do I set goals and keep myself on a trajectory of moving forward?

NaNoWriMo really motivated me to write every day, and while I haven’t been writing every day, I have been writing a lot more. I don’t mind the writing without the external validation despite really loving (and needing) the validation. Writing a book won’t work that way, however. I can’t publish every little piece online, can I?

Where do I go from here?

  • Focus

on who I want to become. Who am I and how much of that do I want to keep? Physically, keep healing – my walking is not where it should be. Make strides with my book, outline a chapbook or e-book before Lent.

  • Change

is hard. It is also inevitable. I’ve written about it more often but that is because it affects me almost every day. I have an empty space where my dear priest was. I’m trying to accept our new pastor for who he is, not for who he is replacing. I’ve had some one-on-one talks with him, I’ve gone to reconciliation (once), and I’ve gone to a few masses during the week. Another major change is the retirement of my therapist. (Is he even allowed to do that?) Our last session is tomorrow. He gave me a list of new people to see, and I’ve decided to wait at least two weeks, perhaps a month before contacting anyone. Simply having him on my calendar is and has been a comfort – knowing that I can get through a struggle because on this date coming up on my calendar, I can talk about it.

Change is ineffable.

  • Intentionality

Pray with intention. Take 10 minutes every morning and start my day with some prayerful time.

Don’t just write when it strikes my fancy but set time aside to write something every day. At least 30 minutes. It can be done.

Keep up on my spiritual journal and my editorial calendar for my website.

  • Faith

I believe; help my unbelief.

I believe, but I struggle. I’d also like to be able to express my faith in a way that can be understood.

  • Gratitude

I will write down 3 things that I’m grateful for before I go to bed at night.

  • Opportunity

See the opportunities as they arise and take them.

  • Kindness

Be kind. Reflect before commenting (online and off.)

  • Accept
  • Surrender

This was a breathing exercise I learned at my last retreat. Breathe in Acceptance, hold it, breathe out Surrender. I’ve been using this as a relaxation to help me settle into sleep.

  • Reflect

After breathing, reflect, and then…

  • Begin

and begin again.

We’ll come back to this post in a few weeks, and see where I am.

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