Setting An Intention For 2017

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I stepped into 2017 as gingerly as I could manage. Usually, I’m the one bursting with optimism and hope for the year ahead, but as 2016 drew down, I spent New Year’s Eve day on the verge of tears, feeling that we’ve all been duped this holiday.

Regardless of my – or anyone’s – trepidation, we gathered with friends, ate spicy capsicum dip on crackers, even the 3 year old made it to the midnight fireworks (just), and we ticked over into 2017 with all the pyrotechnics, hysterical tantrums, and low level heartburn I am imagining that we can expect from the world in the months ahead.

It’s not my intention, however, to sit passively in brooding mode, crippled by my own fear for the year ahead. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been contemplating whether I wanted to make any resolutions this year, and after some soul searching about where I am and where I’d like to move towards, I decided, instead on setting in intention for the year. Setting an intention is a technique that always served me well in my yoga practice, and even on days when I just wake up feeling out of sorts, so why not an intention for the entire year?

My word for 2017: CREATE.

The idea started with some thinking about my kid, the burgeoning and enthusiastic stick figure/flower/rainbow artist. I really encourage her artistic invention, and it brings her so much joy, but when she asks me to draw with her, I tend to think (though, never say out loud!), “Nup, I’m rubbish at drawing,” and then find some other extremely pressing task I need to complete, while she creates. But, the thing I’ve noticed when I do sit down with her is: 1. She is delighted that I’m spending time with her, 2. She commits more time and puts more effort into her drawings, and 3. She thinks that my scribblings are grand works of art, worth emulating and learning from. So, why do I nearly always skip out on this  experience with my kid? Because I don’t think I’m “good” at drawing. Geez, lady, who actually cares? As someone with a theatre background, I believe so much in the act of creation, just for creation’s sake, regardless of the end result, yet I’ve let pride and fear stand in the way of doing just that, even in my own home.

I drew this. My kid thought it was so good that she put a stick on it and turned it into a puppet. Collaborative art!

I want to create silly things, things that only exist for a moment, things that are ugly-but-who-cares.: jokes, and essays, and paintings, and sand castles, and cakes, and songs.

I want to create on my blogs. I want to write things that scare me to hit publish. I want to build collaborations and nurture fresh ideas. I want to dance on these pages.

I hope to carve out space in my life for creating things that I haven’t begun to envision, yet – things to do with social justice, with helping the people for whom I’m feeling the weight as we enter this year, with speaking up for what is right. I’m heavy with worry this year, and I can either sit with that and do nothing, or I can be an architect for the change I want to see.

And, as I thought about my plans and goals for the year ahead, I realized that I’d need to keep my expectations in check, as I have this massive creative project I’m already working on – a new little girl entering our family in just four month’s time. It’s a humbling honor to be able to create such a thing in and for this world.

The beautiful and frightening thing about creation is that, if you’re doing it right, it will lead you places physically and mentally which you never envisioned. In fact, I’d say that’s the whole point. I recognize in myself so many walls and barriers to break down in order to create – the need to be in control, the concern about what others think, the fear that there’s actually nothing creative inside me, and the summoning of the energy required to make.

Creation doesn’t just happen. I have work to do, and I’m the only one who can do it.

Tell me, do you have an intention or word for 2017? Are you a resolution maker? How are you feeling as we start a new year? 


11 thoughts on “Setting An Intention For 2017

  1. Yvette

    I must say … your robot is pretty awesome-sauce. Your creative juices have not failed you. Just let go and do it! Hushpuppy has it right. xoxo

  2. Jennifer Herb

    You’re a great Mom. One of the best ever! Alice and baby sister are so lucky. C.S. Lewis’s quote always comes to mind (like all the time, I am constantly having to remind myself that), “Children are not a distraction from more important work, they are the most important work.” As a teacher and parent, that has kind of become my mantra. You are living it. You are constantly on the go with Alice and doing meaningful activities with her. That’s why she’s so awesome. Danny has spent very little time with Alice, and even he talks about how he hopes her sweet nature rubs off on Andy. I am not saying this because I think you are doubting yourself, I just think there are no awards given out for motherhood, so we should at least tell the people who are crushing it that they are doing a great job. And you are. Such a marvelous job, leading the way for others to follow. Literally finding activities in our city that will make children more well rounded and posting them for us so our children can benefit – making it easier for the rest of us to be better parents, too! That is no small thing. The trickle down effect is larger than you could imagine. Makes me infinitely happy that I showed up on that playground that day.

  3. Jennifer Herb

    Also, if you haven’t read Mary Oliver’s “Upstream,” you should stop what you’re doing and get yourself a copy now.

  4. Kelli

    That’s a great intention! I may add it to my list- or rather consolidate my list with that word, as it encompasses most of my goals for the year 🙂 Happy New Year, friend!

  5. Maxabella

    “Create” is absolutely perfect. It implies that creativity and doing will be your focus and you can’t get better than that. I hope the year ahead is way more than tantrums and heartburn. I hope it’s wonderful. x

  6. Deb @ inner compass designs

    Good luck with your word. I like how you are looking at creating and taking all the pressure off by looking at silly, temporary and even ugly things. There is a hashtag on Instagram i love using #doitfortheprocess it is a great reminder to just enjoy the creating withiut focusing on outcomes and successes and other people’s opinions.

    (Hello from another American in Australia)

    1. Cristin Post author

      Oh, I must check out that hashtag! Sounds like my goal perfectly concise.
      Hello, fellow Yank!

  7. Hugzilla

    Dammit, this is a really good one!! I’m determined to take this seriously this year as last year I treated it like a joke and ended up faffing about not doing much of anything good! Taking a different approach this year. LOL

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