A few years ago, friends of ours introduced us to, or co-invented with us (none of us can seem to recall which happened) a practice of coming up with a single word for the upcoming year, on New Year's Eve. The word, we decided, should have many possible meanings, and not be stated as any kind of affirmation (I will play more in the coming year/I am playing more in the coming year) or resolution (I need to play more in the upcoming year). Instead, it would allow for word play - for exploration, for change in meaning, throughout the year.
The first one Dylan and I chose, and we chose the same, was "consume." We tried to gently explore our food consumption (going on a diet, eventually, but really focusing more on watching/noticing consumption than losing weight, which was a helpful change in perspective), and also financial consumption, consumption of goods, of energy, of social interactions.
Luckily, neither of us developed consumption.
My following year was integration, which I chose because of my work with inner child and adult self issues. Then, this last year, support, exploring how to better support myself so I could support others (the hidden "resolution", but even with that in the background, I still did more exploration than resolution). My word for 2013 is play.
I developed this exercise into a habit for my students as well. So here, on the first day of 2013, I invite you to explore making your own sankalpa, intention word, for 2013.
New Year’s Intention
Today, I want you to find a word:
in this, the last class of this session, the last of 2012,
I ask you to find an intention word, a sankalpa*, for 2013.
Explore. Play. Find a word or words that are workable for you, or,
start writing and let those word or words find you.
Twenty minutes is a lot of time to find one word. Try to soften and let it happen.
This is not a resolution.
This is not expectation.
This is finding a word or words you can weave into all you do for the next year.
If you want, gently explore what this year brought to fruition for you –
experiment with six word stories or mini memoirs of this last year.
Such discoveries could help fuel what you want to see fruit next year.
In oneself [lays] the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, then the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.
- Krishnamurti in 'You are the World'.
The juicy, precis[e] sankalpa* is the resolve, determination and good intention that resonates precisely in your core and aligns sublimely with your essence. It is fluid enough to insinuate itself through the semi conscious patterns of self-sabotage, wounded self's objections and ego discontent. It is a will power that is flexible enough to account for changing circumstances as the sankalpa begins to manifest in your inner and outer world. Yet it is precise enough not to be diverted by core negative beliefs that stand against it.
* Sankalpa: (Sanskrit) "Will; purpose; determination:”
A solemn vow or declaration of purpose to perform any ritual observance.
-all quotes from http://saraswatiyoga.com/Sankalpa.html