At the beginning of each meditation or yoga session, I am accustomed to setting an intention. Usually, a word will pop into my mind that reflects a quality that I am needing on a particular day or to meet some current challenge. I believe that our minds are quite powerful (although often underused), and the setting of intentions are a step in the creation of what it is we want. The Merriam-Webster dictionary says an intention is what one intends to do or bring about and a determination to act in a certain way. Even the definition is flavored with fortitude.
In the past week, as I have come to the moment of intention setting, I have consistently had the words “confidence” and “courage” arise from my innermost being. Not surprisingly, I’m living through a situation in which these two qualities would come in quite handy. And, I don’t think I’m alone. We are all living in times that could be faced more easily with a healthy dose of confidence and courage.
When I breathe in my intention to be confident, I am not necessarily talking about confidence that I will be successful by some outward appearances. Although that might be preferable, the confidence that I’m talking about is the one that assures me that no matter what happens, I will face it with grace and ease. You might even call it spiritual confidence.
Spiritual confidence arises from trust in the mindfulness and yoga practices that I have undertaken for many years. These practices have taught me that no matter what happens, I am in the right place. I am facing the opportunities and obstacles that will teach me the lessons I need to learn in this lifetime. I just need to wake up and be present and open. Then, confidence provides an anchor during the ups and downs of what might occur. In fact, people that practice mindfulness have been shown to be more psychologically and physically resilient in the face of difficulty and they recover more quickly.
Although confidence can be enough, I suppose, we live in extraordinary times—times that we never foresaw. Who would have thought five years ago that we would all be living in a pandemic and scrambling to find the right kind of mask, test, and treatment for something called COVID? Well, I certainly didn’t. And, while I am an optimistic person, I think it takes courage to show up every day with confidence.
It also takes courage to continue to go to work, do the best you know how to do, and not worry about the outcome. Courage means we pay more attention to the journey than to the result. Courage means we show up for others even when it is hard on ourselves. Courage means we know that going the extra mile might make us tired at the end of the day, but it is a good tired. It is a tiredness that lets you sleep well at night. Of course, it can also take courage to know when to stop, to rest, and to not do so much.
So, that’s it, folks. My intentions for 2022 are confidence and courage. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but intentions feel much more grounded to me, and I have seen their energy weave through my life for years. Take some time now to consider yours.
I would suggest making some time for yourself to sit silently and allow your breath to become easy and relaxed. Feel grounded to the earth through your feet and through your sit bones on the chair. Connect with your breath at the center of the chest. Feel the ease of breath coming into and out of the body. Take a few moments here to connect with yourself and particularly with your heart. You might even place your hands over your heart and feel it beating. Feel the love that is present in your life right now.
When you’re ready, ask yourself “what is an intention that would serve me today (or this month or this year)?” Give yourself a moment in silence to see what arises. Take whatever comes up first and decide if it feels right for you. Sometimes you might want to ask yourself two or three times until you resonate with the answer. Then you might hear a “yes, that’s it.”
I like to set a new intention every day. A new word may arise, but an old one may come up many times as it works its way into your life and provides you the support you need. Common instructions for setting intentions are to keep your intentions simple, but clear, and to vocalize or write them down. It is also often recommended that you make your intentions positive. However, recently I decided my intention was “to be less grumpy” and that really seemed to resonate with me. I hope others around me appreciated that as well.
Here’s to confidence and courage in 2022! Let me know what your words are.