sankalpa

Bringing Positive Intentions Together for the New Year

new year's kiss

It’s so interesting returning to a life on the West Coast to become one of the last people in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve. On social media I can jump on and watch everyone else celebrating at midnight, while I’m still getting ready, cracking open my first beer, and waiting for my turn.

Every year Mr. H and I have a tradition of doing a play-by-play of the year together, going through each memorable month to explore all that happened. It’s always fascinating to see what we can remember, what stands out in our minds—an unforgettable sunset on the Oregon coast, the ups and downs of our jobs, that time we learned something about ourselves that changed us forever.

I’ve never been a huge New Year’s Eve fan, often dismissing going out to avoid amateur night. This year was an exception, as we were able to share it with a group of wonderful friends, who were all in the same boat as us—without plans, but wanting to get out of the house to do something chill and grown-up.

A couple of our friends own Muse Wine Bar, a magnificent spot around the corner from where we live. After many hours of yummy conversation and wine, we stumbled and laughed all the way home, proud of ourselves for braving the night.

It was worth it to bring in the new year with a great group of people. It helped us erase those earlier NYE attempts, the disappointing ones with questionable company and cheap champagne at midnight.

You can listen to the countdown and glasses clinking like crazy by pressing play…

 

As the year comes to an end, I never doubt its significance. Looking back at the year with Mr. H is one part of that, and looking forward with a positive intention is another.

Most of you know that I am not into resolutions, but I create a sankalpa instead. While resolutions can carry a negative vibe (lose weight, don’t drink, etc.), a sankalpa is more about purpose.

The past two years I have shared my sankalpa on the blog. In a way it’s a public profession, and it has helped me remember to stick with it throughout the year. Unlike resolutions that can be quickly forgotten, a sankalpa tends to stay with you because it’s deeper—it’s intentional.

2014 was “To Love More” and 2015 was “To Simply Enjoy.”

Quite literally I faced my sankalpa in the reflection of a window this summer. It was painted on a wall inside an empty art gallery by my office. There is a lovely irony to it, with the man walking with his smartphone in the background while I snap a selfie.

positive intention

So, my intention in 2016 is to “Live Consciously.” This may be one of my most challenging sankalpas to date, but I believe it is a crucial one for me, and well…most of us.

Living consciously is difficult in our society. Multi-tasking and distractions are the norm, just being is not.

I struggle with it as much as anyone. Hell, I’m a Content Manager at a marketing agency and a blogger/author when I’m not at work. If anyone’s digitally bound and gagged, it’s this girl.

I am very aware of the perilous nature of living life behind a screen. This is why I have stepped back quite a bit with my author platform this past year.

  • I took the entire summer off from blogging, because I needed the time to write my first draft and enjoy the sunshine.
  • I stopped worrying about keeping up with too many blogs and only focusing on a small group of writers I cherish.
  • I don’t spend as much time on my social media channels anymore, so I can shut down the digital madness in the evenings and relax.
  • I chose not to get down on myself for not working on my novel a weekend here or there, as it isn’t necessary to try to win a race against myself.

Have I sacrificed the “growth” of my blog, social media channels, and book sales by making this decision? Depends on how you look at it. From a numbers standpoint, yes my growth has slowed. But numbers have never been important to me, relationships have. This past year I continued to deepen relationships with others and myself, and that’s all the growth I really need.

I’m devouring a fantastic book right now, which I highly recommend to anyone, whether you are into Yoga or not. It’s called A Life Worth Breathing by Max Strom.

In the opening of the first chapter, he hit it right on the nail:

We live in a unique time in history, both promising and ominous. As technologies continue to develop at an unbelievably increasing speed, it seems mankind is not maturing nearly fast enough to adapt. And so we find ourselves in a global crisis. Billions of people now covet the industrial world’s wealth and are replicating its system of modern consumerism as rapidly as possible. But what they are ignoring, perilously so, is the fact that as materially well off as the West is, we are also chronically living what Henry David Thoreau coined “a life of quiet desperation.”

Though Strom starts with a jarring intro, interestingly what follows is his point that there has been an upsurge in people embarking on self-examination over the past decade—exploring Yoga, meditation, and reflection. He says that Yoga may be one of the great rays of hope for our future…and, I totally agree with him.

I got a jumpstart on my 2016 intention by reconnecting with Yoga and meditation, incorporating educational and spiritual books into my predominately fiction repertoire, falling in love with all of it again.

But it’s a new kind of love, with a deeper understanding focused on being present, returning to the student mindset. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve practiced a pose or rolled out my mat over the past 10 years, I’m pretending that each time is the first time.

If Yoga isn’t your thing, living consciously can translate into so many other parts of your life. I can relate this to writing very easily.

Yes, it’s important for me to continue pursuing my creative dreams. However as any author knows, writing a book means shutting yourself off from the real world, and unfortunately, that means disconnecting from people around you.

So, I try to time my writing when Mr. H is busy with something else, because I don’t want to sacrifice the little time we have together. That also means, saying to hell with it some weekends to get out of the house and live. For me, that’s all part of living consciously…absorbing everything fully, with intention.

On New Year’s Eve, I woke up and decided I wanted to throw out a request on social to gather up sankalpas to include in this blog post. Why? To start 2016 on a positive note as a community.

A rather small community responded, and perhaps others did not want their intentions listed on a blog, because it was too personal of an ask.

So, thank you to the five ladies who responded to me on Facebook and Twitter for being open to sharing their sankalpas. I love that two of the five had the same name…

Bring more play opportunities to kidlets!  – Karen

Prioritize work, play, creativity, love, and laughter equally.  – Letizia

Express creativity!  – Courtnay

Learn to love myself.  – Laura

Not only will I open myself to more opportunities, I intend to CREATE them!  – Karin

Thank you all for continuing to share delicious slices of life with me. I wish you all an insanely beautiful 2016!

P.S. If you’d like to leave your sankalpa in the comment section, you are absolutely welcome to go for it.


WWII thriller

51 thoughts on “Bringing Positive Intentions Together for the New Year

  1. Happy New Year to you Britt, this is a joyful post to begin the year with and I think that would have to be my sankalpa – joy. I think you already live more consciously than many, so I hope you can extend that to bring you a great year!

    1. Love it, Andrea! Especially since mine was “enjoy” last year. I kept that with me throughout 2015, and it was a good reminder when I needed it.

      I try to live consciously, but I get wrapped with everything too. The screen time is the most difficult thing for me to balance because of work and blogging/writing. Even if it slows my progress down, I need to relax and get outside more.

  2. Fabulous post Britt and thank you for inviting me with the “opportunity” to express my own intentions for the new year.! 😉
    Happy New Year hon, and cheers to the Year of Conscious Living! I’ll be with you on this one 🙂

  3. Awesome post, Britt! So sorry I was “checked out” during the move and subsequent holiday season. I am working on “being more open to change” this year. Our move made me realize how long it’s been since I was footloose and on the move more often than not. So this uprooting put me in a very scary place. I wasn’t able to maintain the intensity of my writing program these past three months. And I’ve become increasingly anxious about that. But at the same time, I was able to focus more on making our new house a home. On getting little things done. On spending time with some friends in our new space. I’ve missed my blogging community and am trying to figure out how to have everything by having less of any one thing and by increasing the intensity of the one thing I’m experiencing at any given time. Does that make sense?

    1. I hope you’re settling in, Jilanne! I’ve been around, but I feel super behind on catching up with my fellow bloggers.

      Being more open to change is a great sankalpa…love it! Even though you haven’t been maintaining the same intensity with your writing, those all sound like good healthy things. Soon enough you’ll have a cozy home to write in.

  4. That’s a great idea to look back and talk about the year with each other. I’m used to looking forward and thinking of how to change things, but I’ll have to adopt your tradition and start looking back too. I’ve also been trying to disconnect here and there from social media because there’s never enough time. I end up missing everyone, but I’d rather be outside and away from the computer whenever possible. If I lived around the corner from a wine bar, I’d never get around to writing. 🙂 Happy New Goat Year!

    1. It is good to look back too, Sheila doll! I think our driven society makes us all concentrate too much on the future, and it’s important to remember the experiences that led us to where we are.

      Social media will get you, for sure! I’ve been scaling some of mine back as well. Going through the usual battle with trying to squeeze in time for my second draft right now, so I need to evaluate where I’m spending my free time (social/blogging) to make room.

      Living in our neighborhood is tough! There’s delicious food and wine/beer around every corner.

  5. Britt fantastic thoughts here, imagine a world if most people practiced yoga, it would definitely be a calmer and more loved world. I have noticed more people are searching for something. For me I chose to bring yoga back into my life for many reasons, healthy mind body and spirit. Im remembering how good it use to make me feel but also I feel more connected with my breathing and meditation than I ever have before. Early days but I am loving it and trying to do it daily.

    1. I love the idea of a Yoga world!

      Yes, you’ve been talking about reconnecting with Yoga and that makes me so happy. I went away from my routine when we moved to Portland, and I have slowly been returning to the Yoga/meditation practice I had back in Milwaukee. It’s crazy how a life event like that can totally change us, but I’m glad to reconnect with Yoga now. It’s amazing how those feel-good benefits happen instantly!

  6. Thank you Britt, this post hits the mark for me on many levels. I always appreciate your wiliness to share. It has more impact than you may know 🙂 at least with this girl. I will start thinking about a sankalpa and get back to you 🙂 peace to you Britt.

  7. How interesting Britt. Really you should become a guru living in a remote cave (with WiFi of course). It’s great that you have that deep relationship with Mr H – something I was never capable of developing. No resolution or sankalpa for me but I love this post and your outlook on a renewal of your outlook on life.

  8. I love the idea of making a sankalpa instead of a resolution. I think mine will be live, dream, and think positively! I’ll need this as I make a decision about traditional publishing vs self-publishing my MG novels. Gulp!

    I am attached to my computer, but for my stories, and little else. If I didn’t have a computer, then I’d be attached to my notebook. If I didn’t have a notebook, then I’d be attached to my imagination — I’m just naturally detached from the human world and I’m usually up in my head thinking and dreaming about people and places that don’t exist.

    When I do take a deep breath and come back to Earth, I can handle it for a little while before I have to get away again. Don’t worry, I remember to feed the kids and the pets whenever I’m in the real world. 🙂

    If you don’t live in a remote cave that Roy McCarthy suggests, I’ll live in it instead. 🙂

    Happy 2016!

    1. Sounds like you need that cave Roy mentioned, for sure! For me, I have to be careful about being too much in my head. I used to go into hermit mode a lot, but Mr. H doesn’t allow that. It’s a good thing, because we balance each other out. I encourage him to relax at home, and he helps me get out of the house.

      Live, dream, and think positively is amazing! I’m excited for your writing journey this year. I’m going to attempt traditional when I get this WIP finished and see what happens. I figure there will be an expiration date, and then I will self-publish if nothing pans out.

  9. I definitely like your approach to the New Year. Normally, I don’t make resolutions or set goals, but this year, the timing was right to take better care of my health again. So I’m increasing my physical activity and improving my food intake rather than set a deadline to lose “X” pounds. Upping that physical activity also gets me away from computers and TVs. 😉 And since better physical health leads to better mental health, I hope to also increase my creativity over the year.

    Best wishes with your sankalpa!

    1. Those are all positive changes for 2016, love! I always choose physical activity over computer time. Sometimes I can feel the pull of the computer, but I refuse to give in. Happy for you!

  10. I love your sankalpa. Live Consciously. I need to ponder that a while.

    In 2015, I did have a mission for the year: to become stronger. I had no idea that it was almost going to be a requirement for me last year. 2015 was tough. I can’t say I succeeded in becoming stronger, but I was strong enough to survive the most brutal year of my life.

    So I want something less intensive for me this year. I want a quiet year of sorts. I think if I were to choose a sankalpa for 2016, it would be: to be me again.
    Yes. I like that. Here’s to 2016! 🙂

    1. Sounds like you had the right sankalpa last year to get you through the tough stuff, honey. I agree that a gentle more reflective choice will be good for you in 2016. Wishing you all the best as you get back to yourself.

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