What’s your intention for this year?

At the beginning of a yoga class, often the instructor will ask students to take a moment and set an intention for their practice. Sometimes that means dedicating the practice to a person or a cause. Sometimes that means having an internal intention — seeking to be aware of one’s breath, or choosing to be gentle around that hip injury that’s still recovering, or practicing patience. Setting an intention is a way of framing our participation in the small steps before us on the mat in a way that reminds us of the big picture. In a very different medium, Ali Edwards’ ‘One Little Word‘ is a scrapbooking resource that many people use to help set an intentional focus for reflection on their lives.
What’s your intention for this year? In the midst of the whirlwind that families and faith communities and workplaces can be, setting a personal intention can help keep us attuned to the work God is doing in our inner lives and civic spaces.
As your family begins a new school session, as our faith communities launch a new program year, we get to set an intention too. When we do this together, it can help us learn on purpose. When we set an intention about our learning and reflection together, our shared life becomes curriculum–one long conversation we are having together, with multiple touchpoints and inroads, with branches drawn by our curiosity and connections with each other and God.
Here are a few intentions — and some suggestions to spark your creativity about how you might pursue them. Whether you’re looking for shared or personal focus for the year, may your journey be one of learning on purpose, and being surprised by what you find!

Intention: Self-Care

Taking time to attend to my physical, social, emotional needs so that I can be the leader/parent/partner/human I am called to be.
  • Set a date for a personal retreat, and reserve a space/travel arrangements now.
  • Make your dentist, doctor, financial advisor, and therapy appointments. And keep them!
  • Get three new books (or reserve them at the library!) that you’re excited to read — not feeling obligated to read.
  • Consider your daily and weekly routines. Where can you build in some space for prayer, meditation, play, and learning? What can you stop doing this year? Who can you ask for help?

Intention: Practice the way of Jesus

Attend to the ways my habits and interactions embody the teachings of Jesus.

Intention: Seek and tell good news

Proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.

Intention: Get my head above the fray of church life.

Find new perspective, connect with colleagues, learn something new.