Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Unexpected Gifts

One part of my annual review process is looking at last year's intentions to see what happened and what didn't.  It reminds me of the psychic predictions that used to be part of the tabloids (and may be still).  I used to always buy the beginning-of-the-year-prediction issue and save it till the following year to see how many "hits" there were.  As you might guess, there were darn few.  

It seems to be the same with my intentions.  At the beginning of 2011, I made an intention map of things I wanted to "Learn," "See," "Do/Create," "Experience," and "Contribute."  I remember really liking the categories and how succinctly I could put so many intentions into such a small space.  I was very specific about my intentions in each category.  Here are my results:
  • Learn -- 5 specifics ... 1 Yes, 4 No
  • See -- 8 specifics ... 2 Yes, 6 No
  • Do/Create -- 7 specifics ... 2 Yes (if I stretch a bit), 5 No
  • Experience -- 9 specifics ... 6 Yes, 3 No   ... these "specifics" were more general
  • Contribute -- 5 specifics ... 1 sort of 2, 3 No
This doesn't look like a very good track record so I decided to look at the specifics to see which ones would still be on my list for this year and discovered that a whole lot of them apparently just didn't have much energy behind them because they quickly dropped away.  What really surprised me was when I made a map of the unexpected gifts of the year and came up with 13 things I couldn't even have contemplated at the beginning of the year.

Some conclusions I have from all of this are:
  1. Perhaps my intentions were too specific and too time-bound.  They were more "bucket list" kinds of things.
  2. I am not the same person today that I was a year ago and will probably be a different person still a year from now. 
  3. Setting intentions is a worthwhile activity, but I need to stay open to the unexpected gifts that come my way and flexible enough to change directions when I recognize a new path.
So, how do you feel about setting intentions?  Do they work for you?


  1. I too know I am a completely different person than a year ago. My thoughts on intentions are that they are better than plans,because it's not something set in stone. While we can make plans, we can never plan the outcome!

  2. As per the old joke about how to make God laugh ... make a plan!

    It will be interesting to see who we are a year from now!

  3. That's the tension, isn't it? Wanting to plan, intending to do, but also wanting to be of the moment. I think your "stay[ing] open to the unexpected gifts..." is best.

  4. This is brilliant Joyce -- in your plans/expectations/intentions is the gift of insight and the thing I need most -- the permission to shift, to be gentle with myself and to accept -- I change and change is part of my evolution of being and becoming me.

    Thanks for this - -you are a gift.

  5. Perhaps within us is a North Star that we can't see or hear. We can only feel our way toward it by taking a step to see if we feel closer or further away. Like the child's game of "Hot and Cold."

    Thanks to all of you for being on this journey ... and may each of us grow closer to our true selves this year.