Living Into Intentions
Often as a year comes to a close, we exhale with relief, glad that we’ve made it through, especially when we’ve experienced difficult times. And it seems we’ve collectively, globally, experienced a slew of those times these past several years. But even when experiences have been pretty okay, we are happy to turn the page from another chapter of being in the world and with great hope, we set our sights on possibilities of what might be even better ahead.
As we came upon the threshold of 2024 the energies a lot of us seemed to carry felt a bit different though. Despite a month of end of year rituals and celebrations, it seemed as though we were closing our eyes, holding our collective breath, then tentatively crossing an illusory threshold into 2024.
If it was not about ourselves directly, in the understanding of our interdependence it seemed as if we were carrying a dreaded anticipation about what might be in store for someone on the other side of the world, or perhaps for Earth, Gaia, Yemaya -- the Great Creator Mother herself.
Or maybe it was about someone right here where we are. Or maybe it was because something beyond here impacted someone we know and so of course certainly us, because we are, after all, interconnected. And if nothing else, 2020 made plain to us that we cannot avoid our interconnections, in ways we don’t always consciously consider until connections become lost, broken.
About a week ago I was glad to join with the other ministers at ERUUF to hold open a retreat space for folks to slow down, to create a renewed energy together through reflection, re-connection with the elements, the earth, and one another, and to set intentions for 2024.
We did his by grounding ourselves in centering meditations, and by coming to understand what makes a process, any process, a sacred or spiritual practice, or what makes it simply another thing that we’re doing, like taking a walk or drinking tea or cutting up strips of paper to create a collage.
The distinction is the intention with which we hold our actions.
Rather than thinking about intentions as a 21st century euphemism for creating New Year resolutions or goal-setting, as is now often popular, the intention we explored that day was was about our inner motives in how we choose to engage with something. How we might hold it, not outside ourselves but within.
We framed our intention setting in multiple ways. Primary was a reflection process developed through learnings I received from Buddhist dharma teacher Kaira Jewel Longo, called the Sankofa Examen. It combines elements of the Ghanaian Sankofa philosophy of, rather than attempting to rid ourselves of the past, to instead retrieve the wisdom it holds that we can bring into the present in order to progress forward. This combined with the Examen, a Christian practice created by St. Ignatius of Loyola (co-founder of the Jesuits) in which a period of time is reflected upon to see where the presence of God or the holy was encountered.
During the Sankofa Examen we sought out where the presence of love, compassion, deep care, wisdom, and presence itself held us as we reflected upon 2023, and what we encountered there, and what needed to be forgiven of others and of ourselves. We finally considered the qualities we wanted to manifest in the threshold crossing of 2024, holding those with intention, and calling upon the grace, assistance, and support we might need to bring them into being. Because in Oneness we intentionally do this together.
In 2024 may we live into intentions that cause us to open our eyes, release our collective breath, and breathing together in our interdependence, to take actions that would nourish and supply a journey toward collective healing, peace, and freedom. And may this intention be reflected in actions rippling out to touch the hearts and minds of others the world over.
May it be so. It is so.
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