Originally posted 31 December 2021 on Monty’s Scribbles
First of all let’s address my language choice. I’m specifically avoiding the word “resolution”. I don’t know if an English major would agree with me, but for me “resolutions” are commitments that are destined to be broken. And once broken they hold no more meaning. Especially when you tie it to New Years. It’s been many years since I made any specific New Years Resolutions but when I did I inevitably failed to keep them and felt guilty about it. I’m not interested creating new ways to feel bad about myself. Instead, I’m writing out my “intentions”. As in the behaviors and attitudes that I intend to promote and champion within myself each day. The intent is to do (be) my best in any given day…in any given moment. If I find it difficult to be my best one day, then the next day is a fresh opportunity. In fact, why wait for tomorrow? The moment is now. Missed a morning meditation? Why not throw in an evening one? There are no rules. No broken promises. Just good intentions.
#1 Intention: Rise and Shine
I’m a morning person and I’m tired of sleeping through my best part of the day. I almost always wake up in the early morning hours and depending on my mood I either role over and go back to a restless sleep (when feeling negative or low) or I get up and start my day (when feeling positive). If I roll over and stay in bed I inevitably have low energy and a negative mood the whole day. If I get up, I usually have a few good hours if not a fully productive day. I know this well yet I’m frequently making the choice to have a bad day. Especially during the colder, winter days. My first 2022 Intention is to ”Rise and Shine”. To get up when I (first) wake up. Given my normal sleep pattern, I expect this to be something like the “5 a.m. club”, but less rigid.
#2 Intention: Move
This is another one that if I just do what makes me feel good then I will…feel good. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Physical movement or exercise may not always feel good in the moment but it always pays off in the end. I’d gotten away from exercise over the years due to severe chronic pain (migraines) which often worsened during exercise, but I’ve paid a price for this in my energy level and mood. More recently I’ve found that I can do low impact types of exercise even with a headache (and luckily, or more accurately due to some hard mind-body work, I’ve suffered much less pain lately so it’s less of an issue). I’ve fallen off the movement wagon of late, however, and find myself constantly tired because of it. So my second 2022 Intention is to “Move”. To get my body moving daily whether it be doing yoga, or taking a walk, or going for a bike ride or swim it’s all good. The idea here is whether I feel fresh or tired, I‘ll choose to move.
#3 Intention: Be
If there is anything I’ve learned from my journey to overcome living with chronic pain it’s the power of “being present”, i.e. mindfulness. Feeling stressed or anxious about the future? Guilty about the past? There is no need when your living in the present. Easier said then done. Sure. But it’s not about perfection. Just making the effort to be present has it’s value. Mindfulness meditation has been a big part of my recovery from chronic pain. I say that yet I’ve become lax in my routine. Once again I know I will feel better if I do it, but I haven’t been. At least not as regularly as I need to. So my third 2022 Intention is to “Be”. To meditate each day. My preference is in the morning, but hey, no time is better than the present.
#4 Intention: Create
This is one that is less intuitive. At least it was for me until recently. I didn’t start to creatively write and do visual arts until my 47th year – it was the beginning of the pandemic and suddenly I found myself with extra time and pent-up brain power that was usually used (wasted?) at work. I took to writing. Then to drawing. I made it a daily routine. I published five books within a year. I was flourishing. But in a story as old as the last intention, this was another practice that I started to lag on. Until a week or so ago it had been months since I’d written creatively. But when I write and draw I feel good. It’s a way for me to express myself – to get my feelings out of my brain. To reflect on life and appreciate it more. It’s also a way for me to connect with others. Through sharing my writing and art I engage more with the world around me. I’m happier. So my fourth 2022 Intention is to “Create”. To write and or create art each day. There is no word count or image targets. Just create. Anything.
Well there they are. My 2022 intentions. I’d kick them off on New Years Day, but why wait? Now is just a good as ever.
How about you?