Art in Action: Focus on Feeling First ~ 3 Ways to Intentionally be an Anti-Resolutionist

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Art in Action is a weekly post: a short, practical guide to applying the ideas and principles in the Focus Pocus posts to your body and life. As always, I love to hear from you about how you use them and how you translate the ideas into action.

It’s true: I’m an anti-resolutionist. Resolutions are the what. Intentions are the why. Resolutions tend to be narrowly focused. Intentions are more spacious. I think if you really want to get to the heart of what you want to create in your life, focus on the feeling and on the why.

In my post this week, I referred to an exercise for finding the intention behind a resolution. Below I expand on that and add two additional ways to intentionally set your course for 2016.

1. Let It Get You In The Feels

Think of something you want and imagine yourself fully possessing it. What do you see when you have it? What do you hear? What do you smell and taste? Who is with you or are you on your own? And most of all, what do you feel? Inside and out? Physical and emotional? What do you feel like when you have this thing you want?

Get crystal clear on the feeling that your desire will give you. Then close your eyes and let the desire fade out of your imagination and let the feeling stay strong. With the feeling in mind, think of as many activities/situations/people/experiences that already give you that feeling in your life. Then think of other ways that you can get that feeling. Focus on the feeling and expand your imagination and make a list of as many ways as you can that you can get that feeling…including, perhaps but not necessarily, the thing you started out wanting.

Do this exercise with anything you feel a strong desire for to get to the heart of what you really want.
(inspired by Jamie Catto’s Practical Magic workshop)

2. Meditate On It

Make a list of all the resolutions your conscious mind wants you to make: all the things you think you should (or should not) be doing. Be exhaustive: let your mind list everything it can think of in all categories from career to family, health to friendships, spirituality to social action. Then set the list aside and meditate for 10 minutes: just sit quietly, follow the sensation of your breath and the sensations in your body. If you start thinking about your resolution list, just let it go and come gently back to your breathing. After sitting for 10 minutes, make a new list of what your heart wants. Are the lists the same or different? Which do you feel the most energy around? (inspired by The Pen and The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World by Brenda Miller and Holly J. Hughes)

3. One Little Word

Since 2011, I’ve followed the inspiration of Ali Edwards and chosen one word to set my course for the year. It’s a simple and powerful way to make choices and focus my energy on what I want to create. The process of choosing my word is one of opening up my awareness to see what presents itself. When I stop over-thinking it, I feel like my word chooses me. Here are the words that chose me for the past few years:
2011 ~ Open
2012 ~ Release
2013 ~ Spacious
2014 ~ Worthy
2015 ~ Freedom
Let your mind relax and see what feels like your word for 2016. I’m still noodling on mine. When I have it, I’ll share it. I hope you will, too.
(inspired by Ali Edwards’ One Little Word project ~ I did her program for several years and highly recommend it!)

Do you make resolutions or intentions, set goals or choose a word to set your course for the new year? Share yours in the comments below or at the Focus Pocus Facebook page (I’m offering a gift of art meditation to all commenters and sharers)!

  1. My word for 2016 arrived during yoga this afternoon: heARTful! (Yeah, I think I made it up. It’s like Mindful only from the heart with ART in the middle of it!)

  2. Pete Kashatus said:

    My word is SEEFULLY!
    View the world with wide open eyes, a wide open mind, and all of your senses. See as an artist sees. See the dark and the light. See the large and the small. See as the yogi sees. See the noise and the quiet. See when it’s clear and see through the fog. See the peaceful and the troubled. See the healthy and the sick. See the joyful and the sorrowful. See your world. Sense your emotions! Let yourself in all of its capacity be filled fully.

    • I love this, Pete. I love that you and I both made up words and I love the inclusiveness of yours. Happy 2016, my friend. I look forward to dancing and sitting and writing and drawing together. ❤

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