Setting Intentions for 2019
At the start of each yoga class, we take a moment to reconnect with our bodies and breath and set our ‘intentions.’ This is the practice I’m adopting for 2019—focusing on the why.
It’s not listed as an antonym, but for me, the opposite of intentional would be mindless, and there is quite a bit of mindlessness day to day in Seoul. I see it most on my commute: mindless scrollers stopping mid-step, bumping into each other as if the other were not there, and silently scrolling still on the subway.
I think there’s a mindlessness that comes with getting older as well. In your late 20s, when all the frenzy of your early 20s and not knowing what you’re doing with your life subsides and you finally start to feel in the swing of things, the routine becomes sort of mindless.
People are funny about ‘resolutions’ and even ‘goals.’ Maybe it’s just semantics, but I think it’s partly that the practice has become mindless. I know I’ve had variations of the same ‘resolutions’ year to year. By setting ‘intentions,’ the focus shifts from product or outcome to purpose and meaning.
So here are my intentions for 2019:
health and wellness
One of my favorite things to do in life is eat, but even this has become mindless for me. We eat out most meals in Seoul, which is fine, except that I don’t always make mindful choices or take time to savor what I’m eating. This is something I intend, and have already started, to focus on.
There are some people who need to get a workout or some movement in every day in order to feel good. I am not one of those people. (I can’t even fathom what it must be like to be one of those people!) But I aspire to be. I never want to take it for granted that I am in generally good health and able to be active, and so I intend to find what feels good.
Yoga feels good for me on multiple levels. I’m someone who recharges by being alone, something it’s nearly impossible to be in Seoul. By focusing inward, I’m able to recharge in a new way while also being physically active. With this, I’ve started to practice meditation, and I can already feel the effects on my mental and emotional well-being.
Consumer culture is almost violent in Seoul, and it can be challenging to not get swept up in it. I’m reminding myself of my mantras—all you need is less, and, have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful—and continuing to do my research, practice patience, and save my pennies for quality pieces I truly want and that will stand the test of time.
With consumption comes waste, which is something I want to become increasingly mindful of this year. We are necessarily doing our part by separating trash and using public transportation, but two more steps I’d like to take are eliminating food delivery and take-aways from our lifestyle and taking five-minute showers.
‘Influence’ is another thing people are funny about, especially now that it’s become an entire industry through social media, but it’s something I think about often as an educator. Every mindless and intentional decision has influence. My final intention for this year is to focus on what I want that influence to be.
I consume a lot of media. And I enjoy most of what I consume. But most of it is probably time better invested in the people I love, passion projects and hobbies, or even grocery shopping. And it’s not often enough that, after reading a blog post or tweet, seeing an Instagram photo, or watching a YouTube video, I think hey, that was worth my time, or, that added meaning to my day. Most of it is mindless (or trying to get me to buy something).
Andrew and I aren’t too strategic about our blog, but we’re not exactly intentional either. We’re honestly just introverted with a lot of thoughts and mostly using this space to talk to ourselves. But according to our analytics, there are more than our family members and friends reading this. So, I’m focusing on (at least some of) what I write here to be worth your time or add meaning to your day.
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