Happy New Year
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Setting An Intention

Affirmation: 2014 is
dedicated as “The Year of Divine Connection.”
It’s January 2014, the beginning
of a new year.  I’ve already visited and
examined the past year and now I want to look forward.  Of course, I don’t know what whims of fate
await me but I’ve stocked the tool box with tons of coping skills so I’m not
going to go forward in fear.  I am going
forward in faith and with joyful expectation. 
What would you expect from someone who writes about Positive
Affirmations?  Last year was a good
year.  When I answered the 1st of last
week’s blog questions about the hardest thing I had to do, the answer wasn’t
really all that difficult.  It was a lot
better than some years that’s for sure. 
After I wrote the answer I actually felt myself smiling at how blessed I
Many years ago I owned a
refrigerator sized calendar that had the entire year on one piece of
paper.  I loved that calendar.  I loved looking at the whole year ahead and
planning our adventures and special occasions. 
I still like to look at the year ahead but now it’s all on my
computer.  Somehow it doesn’t feel as
satisfying but I’m adjusting. 

Taking an intention is a regular
part of a yoga practice.  I’ve expanded
that to my “off the mat” practice. 
I sometimes take an intention for the day. It’s pretty cool when it
appears in my daily journal.  We take an
intention for each of the Pink Ribbon Yoga Retreats.  We’ve just begun the planning for this year’s
retreat.  I’m very excited to see what
will appear.  It usually comes fairly
quickly as the committee discusses on that which they’d like to focus.  Last year was the first time I decided to set
a personal intention for the whole year. 
I declared 2013 “The Year of Love.” 

I have always loved the color
yellow.  I live in a yellow
“submarine.”  It makes me feel
happy and yet I still feel grounded when I’m in a yellow room.  Not all yellows, however, it’s more buttery
than gold.  I’ve usually added other
colors to punch it up, like hot pink or purple. 
For the last few months I’ve had an attraction to the color green.  I mention this because it’s a new phase.  In the past I have avoided green.  There wasn’t any green inside my home or in
my wardrobe.  Now, I’ve painted my office
apple green. I’ve added a Kelly green print to a couch and then I went crazy
and chose green granite for the renovated kitchen.  Nothing I had in the former kitchen went with
the green color but I was irresistibly drawn to it and I just relaxed and let
it happen.  Why I wondered was this shift
taking place?  I was discussing my
intention for 2013 with a wise yogi and mentioned my new bent towards the green
color.  She reminded me about the chakra
colors.  Guess what color the heart
chakra is!  Yup, it’s green. 
I’d like to believe that my
dedication to The Year of Love led to more than just an attraction to green and
a new decorating scheme.  Personal growth
and internal development is a slow process. 
It’s just like most other changes one is attempting.  They take time.  There are subtle differences that may not
even be perceived for a long time.  It’s
like that with our affirmations.  We
choose them carefully, write them, read them, perhaps say them to ourselves and
let them slowly permeate our subconscious and eventually our cellular
structure.  Then one day we respond to a
situation differently than we had in the past, in a way that affirms us, not
diminishes us and we realize our affirmation has manifested. 
As I looked forward to 2014 I had
trouble deciding on what besides love was important enough to focus on for a
whole year.  I thought about choosing
faith as a focus and I considered forgiveness but neither of those felt
right.  I do however; want to keep a
focus on forgiveness.  One of my
affirmations is, I freely forgive myself and others.  And, I do want my faith to grow. I attended a
retreat many years ago with my friend Ann Baucom and her spiritual
director.  I was going over those notes
very recently and there was the spiritual direction for which I was
looking.  It entreated me to let my

grow not because of a sense of obedience or even a sense of belonging but
because it is rooted in experience. 
Faith doesn’t only increase because of our religious experiences
although it is possible but for many, me included, my faith experiences happen
both in and outside of church and that’s exactly what I want.  I want to see the moon and the stars, I want
to feel the sun warm my skin, I want to relish holding someone’s hand, I want
to hear the bird’s song and the ocean’s road and I want in that experience to
feel God’s presence.  I want to feel
connected to the Divine.  I’d like to be
connected at all times but this is a mediation, a practice.  In order for me to achieve this relationship,
this intention, I need to pay close attention and focus on my ultimate desire.  Yes, that is something I would be willing to
spend a year cultivating, even a lifetime. 
I have dedicated 2014 as The Year of Connecting to the Divine. 

What are you willing to dedicate
of year of your life towards?  Perhaps,
it’s not one phrase; perhaps you have a list of intentions.  I have one of them too.  It hasn’t changed from last year. It reminds
me of God’s bounty and of the truth that I cannot fathom the riches that can be
found once we connect to the Divine. My ideal life always includes optimal
health but good health and an ideal life require more than care for the body,
the body will cease to exist one day no matter how well I care for it.  I need to focus on the spirit too.  As in past January months I carefully
considered what my ideal life would include. 
I have carefully crafted ten intentions. 
Pray Unceasingly
Forgive Continually
Accept and Give Love Freely
Hug Whenever Possible
Learn Constantly
Recognize the Shadows
Smile Early, Laugh Daily
Be Grateful, Always and for All
Happy New Year!  May your year be filled with abundant
blessings, prosperity and joy.  Take some
time and write down your intentions. 
Won’t it be wonderful when you do your 2014 review, if you find you’ve
manifested your dreams and aspirations? 

Perfecting Christmas

Affirmation:  I let
go of perfection.

As of this writing the Christmas season has officially begun.  Today is the first Sunday of Advent. My
entire family will be here, all our children, all our grandchildren, all the
in-laws and my 90 year old mother. There might even be a few coming of whom I’m not aware. I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many loving
people and the really good news is everyone usually likes everyone else. I am
also blessed because I have the good health and the energy to do everything I
like to do for Christmas.

I love to decorate the house. I would like to leave my Christmas
tree up all year long. I love having red sparkly and gold glitzy things all
around. It makes me feel warm and enlivened. I love to put together the
Christmas cards and I love to snail mail them out to all the people on my list.
I like recalling the memories associated with each one as I write their names
and try to take enough time to say a small blessing over each envelope. I usually
send a photo card and I love to go through the year’s photos, re-live the memories and choose the best picture of each
person. I also like to do a photo family calendar. I was so excited the first
time I saw such a thing. I knew it would be something I would try. The first
year, it took me days to get it done. The good news is now it only takes hours.
I’m sure someday I’ll be even more efficient
but it’s OK either way. I love
going over the year’s photos and putting
different memories on each monthly page and then putting my loved one’s photos in the date box of their birthday.

In the South Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, it
starts much earlier in the stores; earlier and earlier each year and some of my
neighbors have their houses decorated before Thanksgiving. But, for many of us
here in North Carolina, at least in the area I live in, the decorations go up
Thanksgiving weekend. I love that too. I get to enjoy the festive sprit in my
home for about a month.

But, even though I am crazy about all the activities involved in
our celebration, I can stress out. Yes, there is good stress and there is bad
stress but stress is stress and it can be exhausting. Most of our traditions
seem to be activities that I have taken on as my responsibility. I purchase
most of the gifts. I plan the menu. I buy most of the food. I wrap most of the
presents. You can probably add to the list. Most women reading this probably
have many other items for which they feel responsible. I usually handle most of
our activities fairly well unless life happens. You know about life. Life is
what happens in between all our plans.

I like order. I like things neat and clean. There are times when I’m sure my desire for order borders on obsessive-compulsive. But,
the truth is there is only so much time and energy and money and at some point,
I have to let some things slide. It’s a requirement to
maintain my mental and physical health. I have several artist friends and they
occasionally speak about what happens to their art work when they strive for
perfection. They add one more dab of paint, one more stroke of the brush, one
more line to the drawing or one more turn to the potter’s wheel and they have ruined their work. From them, I have taken
the lesson that while I strive to do my best, I cannot always expect perfection
from myself. When I do that, I will consistently ruin my work and ruin the
enjoyment I take from the process. I must tell myself, “I let go of perfection.” The more I practice releasing myself from unrealistic
expectations, the more joyful I am. The more I practice letting go of going for
the gold, the more relaxed I am. And, when I can be centered and calm, my
Christmas, my life and the life of many of those around me is filled with the
things that are truly important to me and to the world; peace, love, joy,
compassion and gratitude.

May you and your loved ones have a Blessed Christmas, a Happy
Holiday season and a Happy New Year.