Over the last few years, I’ve adopted a new year’s practice that many of my favourite bloggers were practicing: choosing one word to guide you in the year ahead. Though various prompts and questions are suggested as helpful tools, I’ve discovered that just allowing the word to choose me works best.
It means listening and being attentive for that ‘right’ word, then sitting with it, noticing how my body reacts – softens into the word or tenses up. There’s a bit of internal auditioning going on as I try each one on for size and comfort. The word is meant to inspire, challenge or motivate me, to move me towards a fullness that is yet beyond my reach. And invariably, the ‘just right’ word finds me, and this year it’s FOCUS.
I don’t know about you, but there are days I can “work” for hours and have little to show for it – distractions abound, my mind wanders, and next thing I know, the clock has moved another hour forward. That’s time I can’t get back, so having my word – FOCUS – front and centre where I can see it, helps to pull me back to the task at hand. Leo Babauta (zen habits) wrote a good post about finding focus – you can read it here.
One word to guide me and 7 others that require my attention: listen, create, know, practice, open, connect, and believe.
My Intention Journal is where I commit and explore each of these words and how they apply to what I want and need to do in the coming year. I’ve given up trying to get it done in one sitting, or even by the end of January. Instead, I work on my journal through the year, gathering images that resonate with each words meaning, gluing them into my journal and perhaps adding a few words of my own.
What about you? Do you have a similar practice? Words or intentions that guide your footsteps as you step into the unchartered territory of the coming year?
Inside the front cover of my journal is a blessing/poem by John O’Donahue – another guide for the days and weeks and months ahead. Perhaps yours too…
May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work you do with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement.
May you be present in what you do.
May you never become lost in the bland absences.
May the day never burden you.
May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.