Posted by: Banta | January 1, 2014

Saying Yes

I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions. They feel like a set up for failure or disappointment to me. Mostly because I find it hard to hold onto any year-long resolution for more than a nanosecond. By Valentines Day I either can’t recall or no longer care about whatever really big change I resolved to make in the new year.

The path of setting an intention works far better for me. As a wise yogi friend puts it, intentions are more flexible and fluid than resolutions. Intentions move and shift with us, as the need arises. Intentions adapt to our mind-body-spirit evolution. They are not fixed or demanding. Intentions come with a kinder, gentler invitation to continue along a path. Keep going, they say, you’re doing just fine so far.

Happily, an intention need not remain static for an entire year. Rather, we can choose to set a new intention with every new moon, or at the beginning of each month, if we prefer more manageable and workable time frames. For that matter, we can choose to live each moment in a state of ever-shifting, ever present intention, depending on what the moment brings to us, asks of us.

For this first new moon of 2014, on this first day of January, my intention is to say yes. For the spontaneous and adventurous among you, yes is a no-brainer. Saying yes is what you do, what you live for. Not so for the rest of us, who are hampered by more cautious (okay, sometimes even anxious) constitutions. For folks like us, yes can feel like uncharted, scary territory. Speaking just for myself, I’m a creature of habit. Often to my own detriment, I like my predictable routines. They define my comfort zone. Stepping outside of that zone requires the kind of courage that does not come naturally to me.

But something strange has happened. Over the Christmas holiday, I received an unusual and unexpected gift from my daughter. She challenged each of us in our “small but mighty” family, as she calls it, to do 100 new things this year.  One hundred new things. I cannot possibly participate in this challenge without stepping outside of my comfort zone, without venturing into uncharted territory. In fact, the only place I can hope to find 100 new things is in that uncharted territory. Where else would they possibly be?

Without knowing it, my daughter put into my hands a road map to yes. Whether I say yes twice a week for a year, or every day until the spring thaw, this road map puts me on a path I would never have chosen on my own. Oddly, the way the challenge came to me, I find it impossible to resist. Already I feel a curious rewiring in my brain.  I am actually scanning the horizon for new things to do. This is unheard of. Truly. Those who know me well are silently nodding their heads in agreement. They have not experienced this Banta before. And a few of them are insatiably curious as to what the year will bring. Stay tuned.

I share with you this first intention of 2014, the intention to say yes, with the hope that you will find ways to say yes, too. If not to 100 new things, then perhaps to new joy, to love, to hope, to compassion, to living more fyesully into the light of your own true Nature. In the words of Dag Hammarskjöld, “For all that has been, Thanks. For all that will be, Yes.”

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