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?

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Intentions

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​I don’t really  like resolutions. I think we’ve overdone that word. I like the sentiment of trying new things, and being a better person.

Resolutions – I don’t know, they’re almost a joke at this point. Have they always been this way? Or did people actually make a resolution intending to follow through throughout the entire year or at least for the first six months? It seems that whenever I hear someone make them, practically everyone in fact, they’ll state their resolution and then say something to the effect of, why bother or, as if, or I’ve already broken that one!

I rarely see anyone taking them seriously, and I think that has more to do with society than our personal willpower.

Lose weight.

Watch less television.

Less screen time.

Exercise.

Walk more.

Write more.

Go to religious services.

All are valuable, all are important, but I think that when we call it a resolution, we’re automatically setting ourselves up for failure.

Did you make resolutions this year? Yeah. Even the way we answer the question is with that Debby Downer voice, setting up the depression of stopping a habit rather than beginning a new focus.

Last year, I discovered two words that I really liked: focus and intention.

What will I focus on this year?

What are my intentions for 2019?

My plan is to use those words and those sentiments and make it part of my writing plan*. That asterisk is for me to explain that for most people they have business plans or school plans. I know that my writing is my business, but the words business plan don’t work for my mindset. As a writer, words are important to me on all levels, so for me my writing plan is my everything, my professional, my getting it done plan. What is your plan?

I’m going to spend the weekend thinking about my intentions, my focus, and my writing plan, and I will fill you in sometime after Sunday.

Intentions

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Last year, or maybe it was the year before, I gave up the word resolutions. The connotation of New Year’s Resolutions is the assumption that they won’t be kept. We go in thinking pessimistically and so our resolutions tend to be grandiose and next to impossible to accomplish. Then, as predicted, like clockwork or a calendar page turning, we give them up and go back to our bad habits.

I settled on goals for awhile, which was a little more proactive, and a little more doable, but for me, goals set a finite destination to what I want to acocmplish and goals wasn’t quite the word I was looking for.

My new word (third if you’re counting) for 2018 is Intention [s], either singular or plural, whichever one fits at the moment. I can wholeheartedly thank Gen Padalecki for the inspiration and the introduction to that word in this context. I must confess that I did not watch her entire vlog or read her blog for that day. As soon as I heard the word intention, I was off to the races. It hit me, inside and out, mentally and physically. That was my word, the word I’d been searching for.

So, now that we are here between the end of the third week and the end of the fourth week, not only of January, but of our new year, what are the intentions you’ve been keeping? Have you added any more since your initial goal-making or resolution claiming or habit-making or -breaking in the last three weeks?

Where do you stand? And where are you venturing? Give your intentions a thought or two, and get back to me. As this morning’s quote reminds us, writing down our goals makes them a little more tangible, and if they’re tangible, they’re doable.

Choose: Focus

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[Note: Some of this week’s posts were originally scheduled to be written last week, but I’ve been very ill since Wednesday. The only two that are slightly off as far as timely are the reflection for January, which was supposed to appear yesterday, and the review of the Wayward Sisters episode of Supernatural, which will appear later in the week.-Kb]


Focus is the key. (c)2018

When you write down your ideas you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools.

 – Michael Leboeuf 



Last Wednesday, I had planned to talk about focus, both in general and what my focus may or may not be for my writing, and that was going to tie into a post for this past Friday about intentions. Unfortunately, on Wednesday, i couldn’t focus on anything except continually alternating between covering myself and uncovering myself with two or more (or less) blankets, and being all around miserable and sick.
It really just illustrates that you can have the perfect planner, the schedule mapped out, the outline written, the post forming effortlessly in your [my] mind, and life will find a way to knock you down.

Because that’s what life is about. Whether they be big or small, life is about facing challenges.

I spent all day in bed on Wednesday, barely lifting my head when an angel from church texted me that she had made my family dinner. She had no idea that I was sick or how much of a lifesaver she was truly being. She had mentioned it last week, but it was a maybe, so when she called, it was a wonderful godsend.

And that’s also what life is about. Sharing love, sharing food, sharing ideas and thoughts and challenges. Apart from my family and church, my writing is the most important thing to me. I think that’s because it encompasses every part of my life. It surrounds and warms, it emotes and comforts, it laughs and screams, and when I can’t do it, for whatever reason, it pains me.

Choose was/is my word for 2018. My second word is focus. Not merely the pinpointing of a topic or a photograph or a subject, but where will my writing take me? Where will I take it? I consider myself a Jane of all trades, which is simply another way of expressing that I take on all kinds of things and remain expert in none of them. Like a Jeopardy contestant, I’m all about a little knowledge about a lot of things, and that’s actually a great thing for a writer, but is it a good thing for a writer’s audience?

Only time will tell, and you, dear reader, will also tell; by your follows and your likes and your opinions, which I love and appreciate.

So where is my focus? What do I write about? So many things interest me, and I can expound on many of them: spirituality and fandom. Self-help and self-assessment. Travel. Writing. I feel like sometimes I can’t decide on which writer, which person I want to be in the moment. I multi-task, but when I looked up synonyms for multi-task, it gave me focus as an antonym. How strange. When I muti-task I tend to focus more on what I’m doing even if it’s three things at once and a delegation of a fourth.

How does all of this align with who I am and the kind of writer I want to be?

What’s the one thing that connects them all for me or to me besides me?

2018 may take me on that journey of discovery. A fork in the road or a crossroads? We’ll see.

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.

 – Greg Anderson