When I contemplate the last decade, the decade of my 50s, I am scanning the roles that I played: mom, wife, Girl Scout leader, life coach, legal nurse consultant, teacher and student, among others. I saw my oldest son get married and then a daughter and another son move in with their favorite people. I watched my youngest child grow into a beautiful young lady. I said good-bye to my father, three aunts, an uncle, two cousins, a friend, a neighbor and a beloved brother-in-law and most recently, my dog Maggie. Yes, amidst the flow of life and learning, there were great losses. And there was a great push to be present for all of it, the good and the bad.
This past decade has been a journey of self love, something which does not come naturally to me. I still say “yes” to too many requests which causes my schedule to be overwhelming and me to experience unnecessary stress. I still do not easily discern the difference between the “yes” that comes from the beautiful yearning to serve others or the “yes” that beckons from the remnants of unworthiness that were planted early in life, that demands “yes” in order to stay lovable. I am slowly learning that “no” is a complete sentence and that justification is not needed when I am making myself a priority.
I have a daily practice of setting intentions. I mostly set the intention of kindness, of not taking things personally, of being true to my word, of relating to others from my heart instead of my head. Setting intentions are very different from setting goals. There isn’t a tangible achievement at the end of the day, like checking something off a to-do list. It is the sense of satisfaction that I showed up for life a certain way. Sometimes, my intentions are realized and sometimes they aren’t. Still, they serve as my internal navigation system, my GPS. They help me get back on track. I’m pondering my intentions for the decade in front of us. And then I realize that intentions are better set one day at a time, if not one hour at a time. Intentions are very present-moment focused. I can set goals for the decade and I have. I plan to travel. I am going to read A LOT. I will practice mindfulness and yoga and compassion. I am going to become a vegetarian, maybe. I will publish a book, oh yes, I will. These are my goals. I can see them manifesting. My intentions come from a different place. They will be determined daily, each morning as part of a prayer, a beckoning from some deep place to live my best life in this God-gifted day.
Putting aside intentions and goals, I have many wishes for you and me. For all of us, the new decade brings endless possibilities, even when reality looks grim. Just think, there will be three chances for a new President in this decade: 2020, 2024, 2028. That is something to celebrate! My wish for all of us is to CHOOSE happiness; yes, it is a choice. The exception is when you have an addiction or a mental illness that prevents you from accessing that choice. If that is the case, my wish for you is the courage to ask for help. You are worthy. There is no shame in your game. We all need help at some point. We are human and it is brave to embrace our humanity. I wish for a world that is more compassionate, that we do not close our eyes to suffering, that when we see others suffer, a deep longing stirs in us to end the suffering and take action. Let us all be filled with the wisdom and grace to make the world a better place. Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!
Much love, Jeanette