An Intentional 2015

My best to everyone in 2015! My year is starting off quite nicely - how about yours? 
Instead of resolutions this year, which I seem to forget by March, I'm making a few new intentions for myself. To me, an "intention" feels more mindful than a resolution, something I carry in my heart and practice as often as possible. I'm going to start pretty simply with just three but may add more as the months go by.
My new intentions are:
  • I intend to live mindfully, and with love, caring, and kindness each day.
  • I intend to be of service as much as possible, making this year increasingly better for myself and others.
  • I intend to be more fully and joyfully "me" by embracing both my light and dark sides without apology.
Mindful living is something I began to practice in a very limited way after reading works by Thich Nhat Hanh. But it takes more than just once-in-a-while practice to truly give and receive the benefits of mindfulness. I realize now that it's an ideal to try for in each moment. I'm not sure what the results will be - at the very least, I hope that those I care about will sense that I am more *present* for them when we interact.

The last few months of 2014 showed me the importance to being of service to the world around me. A small group of people here in Colorado are making a positive difference in safety concerns in a busy recreation area. Working on this citizen project hasn't always been easy but the results are well worth any difficulties I've endured. Because I experienced the benefits of service work firsthand, I intend to do more of this in the coming year. This may not always be large works of service in the public good. A work of service may simply be helping an elderly neighbor to the coffee shop when he's not quite steady on his feet. Service as I define it is simplyreaching out and lending a hand when I can.

You might think that embracing my life fully would be pretty easy given that a year ago I came close to losing it. But this intention is more than just letting me be me. It involves ongoing work toward understanding myself more, both sunshine and shadow, and embracing both fully while still moving toward being a better person. The shadow side includes things like emotional triggers, sad times, and "bad" habits. It makes sense that embracing the darkness might be difficult, but I think that truly opening up to loving my light side is no easy task either. The light side is our magnificence. For me, it includes every bit of myself that is excellent, even those areas where that magnificence frightens me. For example, I find that I enjoy and am very good at public speaking to large groups of people. But three months ago, the thought that I could ever enjoy talking to large groups of people about my growth experiences of this last terrified me! But I can't truly live life as the unique person that I am unless and until I embrace light and dark.

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