‘Tis the season – and almost everyone since Babylonian times has been doing it around this time of year. Paying their debts. Making promises to their gods. Re-affirming commitments. Making resolutions.
Usually I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. To be perfectly frank, I think the whole exercise is a set-up-for-failure construct of a hyper-materialistic, status-conscious over-culture designed to essentially convince people that they’re not good enough in any number of cash-depleting ways.
(But tell us what you REALLY think, Corner Crone!)
Resolutions versus Intentions
This year, though, I did set an intention. Truth be told there’s not all that much daylight between the definitions of resolution and intention, but that sliver of daylight has some pretty significant nuances of difference.
Maria Fermoile, doctor of physical therapy at Alliance Health in Fresno CA, writes:
The definition of resolution is 1) a firm decision to do or not to do something and 2) the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter. Again I ask, did you achieve your resolutions? If not, did you feel guilty or even shameful about having set them? If the purpose of setting resolutions is to make a firm decision and actively solve a problem, how do we feel if we don’t accomplish these expectations we have set for ourselves? Do resolutions create more stress and an avenue to get down on ourselves if we don’t meet them?
The definition of intentions is 1) a thing intended; an aim or plan, 2) the action or fact of intending. Some may think an intention is not strong enough to create change. It seems to me that intentions allow us to be more creative, aware, and mindful of what we would like to change. Resolutions seem to ask us to be perfect, something we can never achieve. Resolutions seem to focus only on the outcome, not the journey. Intentions are more inviting. Intentions ask us to look deep inside ourselves, to become more of an imperfect human being. Intentions allow us less human-doing and human-thinking. Intentions are more freeing asking nothing more in return than you practice. Intentions do not hold you to a specific outcome, just head in the direction of ambitions. Some may think that intentions are not the same as goal setting. To the contrary, goals are synonymous with intentions. Set goals, work for them, just don’t beat yourself up if your accomplishments are less than your desired goal. Take comfort in the journey and embrace your progress.
I particularly resonate with the idea that “resolutions seem to focus only on the outcome, not the journey”, and I’m drawn to the concept that “intentions do not hold you to a specific outcome, [they] just head you in the direction of ambitions.” To me, this sounds very compatible with my approach to Tarot.
Broken Ground, Fresh Seeds, New Growth
Those of you who are regular readers (and thank you!) know that this new year and new decade find me in a different physical location and new emotional/spiritual landscape after a particularly rough year. All of that STUFF has pretty much informed my decision to get over my judge-y self and set an intention this year. I’ve been rock-tumbled into a fresh start, and I need to be intentional about how this current iteration of Me is going to move and live and have my Being.I’ve been blogging on The Agora since 2017, and became the editor at the beginning of 2019. I’ve been writing meditations, poetry, lyrics and readings for Unitarian Universalist publications for the last 10 years or so. Writing is a fairly solitary existence, which suits me to my toes. I sit at my ‘puter, my crystal in my lap, staring off into the middle distance against a backdrop of green (used to be a Norwegian Pine, now it’s a gigantic Bamboo bush), and let my fingers follow my thoughts.
I don’t go to conferences or festivals much, but when I do I am always surprised that anyone actually knows who I am. I’m used to being invisible. It’s comfortable. So when a friend recently told me, “You are now a prominent Pagan blogger whether you meant to be or not,” I probably shouldn’t have been as taken aback as I was. This is not false modesty expressed to elicit praise. I honestly don’t think anybody knows who I am in the great scheme of things. And I’m super OK with that.
But the seed had been planted.
Intention and Accountability
The intention I’ve set is to be more physically visible in the Pagan community, to get out from behind the keyboard (eep!) and interact with people face-to-face in specifically Pagan settings. To keep myself on track, I decided to keep a simple daily log of whatever action I’ve performed (outside of my regular Practices) that supports my intention.
The actions don’t have to be all outwardly focused; things like furthering education in a particular topic can be counted. Here’s a sample of what I’ve done thus far:
01/01 – read Homeric Hymn to Demeter; read Hesiod’s Theogeny
01/02 – sent workshop proposal to Festival organizer
01/03 – read Tarot history and theory; wrote blog
Sure, these are little things, but over the year they are going to add up (I hope!) and strengthen my ability to honor my intention. The daily log also holds me accountable to myself. My intuition is that it will help me track trends and patterns, which will in turn empower me to further refine my intention.
As it happens (uh-huh), just as I sat down to write this blog I heard from my Sistah From Another Mistah, Serendipity Wyrd. I asked if she was planning to attend Mystic South, and by the end of the conversation we had sketched out and submitted a workshop proposal. Between Florida Pagan Gathering and Mystic South, this year I will attend double the number of Festivals I attended last year, so . . . score! It feels like the Universe is telling me, “so, what have you been waiting for? Jump on your broomstick and FLY (but don’t forget to keep your log notes)!”
Magic flows where intention goes. Never doubt it. You have more power to manifest your intentions than you realize, if you can release the fears that hold you back.
Hail Hekate Rixipyle!