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Intention for the Year (Part 2)

by Milissa on January 9, 2011

in Philosophy,Seasons

(See last week’s post for background on the yogic practice of sankalpa.)

At the start of 2009, I picked one word as my sankalpa for the entire year, knowing that I would still have daily, weekly, monthly, or project-specific intentions.

Freedom had been my intention, for about half of the previous year. Until Shiva—the energy that destroys obstacles to spiritual realization—had me on my knees, crying, “Okay, I get it. I can’t do things the old way, but I don’t know what to do, show me a sign!”

Enrollment was down in my classes, some of my longtime students having moved away or passed over to the other side. Other life changes—big and small—caused people I had enjoyed serving in my public and private yoga classes to make other choices. I knew I shouldn’t take it personally, but, as Right Livelihood is extremely important to me, I was left feeling isolated and ineffectual. Not to mention, chagrined that I needed to go out and look for a job, after a decade of self-employment.

In this state of grief and insecurity, a new mantra came to me: Let me be a positive force in my community. I had no idea what that would look like, but I knew it meant venturing out beyond the yoga community, working with people of diverse cultures, and being in relationship with children.

I chose COMMUNITIES as my word that first year. Since the fall of 2008, I had been volunteering as a reading buddy at the nearby public elementary school. By March of 2009, I was working part-time at Bright Water Montessori. Serving the Northside community, as an assistant teacher of 1st through 3rd graders, renewed my passion for my yoga teaching. The job also reinvigorated my mindfulness practice .

Last year my word was VISIBILITY—a somewhat scary thing for me to put out there,as I’ve tended not to step out into the public eye, but have kept my work close in. I wasn’t quite sure how this intention was unfolding, until last summer, when a longtime yoga student stepped forward and asked to help with my business. Alice Barry of Entertaining the Idea, helped me to clarify my intentions for Tree of Life Yoga and get the message out to people who would benefit from my yoga and healing arts offerings. So, here I am, with my new website (designed by Sister Virtual), and this blog—sharing my vision with the larger community.

What would YOU like to bring forward in your life in 2011? As you hone in on an intention—if you choose to do this practice—I recommend going with a word that makes you sweat a little under the collar. Something you’ve held yourself back from, though you know you’ve always wanted it. Something you know will unfold if you intend it from your deepest Self.

The words I’ve chosen for the last few years have stretched me, gotten me out of my comfort zone—but ultimately have helped me land in a new state of ease and joy. I know there will be unknowns, as my new intention incubates. At times it probably won’t seem like much is happening. But I will hold my uncertainties in lovingkindness, and wait to see what my sankalpa births this year!

If you would like help forming an intention for the New Year, I am available for private guided meditation sessions. Also, you might consider the Half-Day Restorative Yoga & Mindfulness Retreat, January 22, where we will nurture sankalpa in the seed stage with supported yoga postures, meditation and a mindful meal.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brynn Flaherty January 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Love this, Milissa – thanks!

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