Intentions for 2018 (and beyond)

As I've gotten older, words and concepts that used to make me roll my eyes have settled in and taken residence in my heart and mind. 

Talk of full moons, energy exchange, open-heartedness, connecting fully, cleansing rituals, and authenticity that used to grate on my nerves...  I'm bewildered to find that now they have blossomed into things worth reaching for.  I consider all the time I spent living in a life that wasn't my own, and I know that now it is worth it to put thought into where I place my energy, and what kind of return I get on it's investment.  In these years of awakening and finding myself, my focus has fallen on living with intention.  I'll be honest, even typing those words still makes me feel a little uncomfortable, but I'm working on embracing them un-apologetically.

In the past I've felt that talking about authenticity or living with intention implied more control over life than people can really claim to have.  As my fingers feel out these concepts and pull them closer, the idea of the law of attraction - that if you put positive energy out life will return it Ala The Secret - still doesn't sit well with me.  Imagine having spent year in a relationship that left you hopeless, worthless, and broken.  Now imagine someone telling you that if you act more positively, good things will happen to you.  How can I reconcile the blatant implication that all of that terrible sadness and pain are now my own fault?  No, that's not quite what I'm talking about here.

In my mental and spiritual growth, I have come to embrace one key concept above all the others.  In everything, in every way I can, I must cultivate and nurture the positive.  I have spent ENOUGH time in this life shuffling through days filled with negativity.  Negative energy, self-doubt, put-downs, worthlessness and things that make me feel bad have no place here anymore.  In the past four years I have cultivated my tribe, chosen to stay connected with people that bring positive value into my life.  I look at my jobs, my activities, my hobbies, and my friends and acquaintances, and I ask myself - when I put energy into this, does it energize me?  Does it lift me up?  And here I am, in a life where I have surrounded myself with people and things that make me feel happy, make me feel so much hope and love.

It isn't about controlling life - because we can't do that.  I am still sad sometimes.  I have bad days, I have anxious days.  I have days where an interaction doesn't sit right, or where I wish that something was different.  There is plenty in my life that is out of my control.  Making the decision that the things I DO have control over need to be things that are good and positive gets easier and easier.

So, for 2018, I'm setting intentions for myself.  These are not resolutions, made with the idea that next year will be the year I finally change or better myself.  They are not goals made with a mountain to climb and an ending in sight.  They are realistic, and the ones that reach are not reaching to someplace that feels unreasonable or unattainable.  These are the things that speak to my heart, and the ways I want to fill my time as I go about my life.  These things will build me up, empower me, and move me forward.

Some are biggish steps, and some are small.  Many are about building habits that add positive value to my life, and about connecting with the people and things that fill my heart and make my life beautiful.  Even my list was created with intention, with care and practice and colors that make me happy.  It is hanging on the wall between the living room and kitchen, where I will see it and walk past it many times every day.

Here's to you, 2018.  Here's to creating and connecting, to building a better world in whatever small ways I can, and to appreciating the good things I have.  To cultivation, intention, soul-filling, heart-growing, self-care and nurturing, and beautiful memories created every day, in every way I can muster.