With the start of a new year, I hear the same conversations echoed over and over. There are lots of talks of resolutions, improving, working harder and setting goals. Until fairly recently, looking into the future was not really my thing. I never failed to be stumped by the “where do you see yourself in five years” question. For a long time, I had been living a life that didn’t quite fit. And because I couldn’t be entirely sure I belonged where I was, it was difficult to see where I was going.
My whole life felt like my feet did when trying to walk in high-heeled shoes – never quite comfortable and only slightly bearable. Do you know what that feels like? Like when you want that dress that looked so good at on the hanger to look perfect on you and it just doesn’t. Or maybe you have that expensive shirt with the button that never stays closed. My feet couldn’t find their home in heels, and while everything looked good from the outside, I was quietly torturing myself with every step forward. One day, I took off those heels and I admitted that the life I had spent so much time building didn’t quite fit. And then I wondered what my intention was for building such a life anyway.
There is a lot of talk in yoga about setting an intention for your practice. We teach tuning in to what we really need, treating yourself with compassion, taking your practice off the mat, being authentic and the list goes on. But how many of us take these words to heart? How many of us live intentionally and in line with our truth? Are we meaningfully searching for a life that lights us up or are we staying uncomfortably squeezed into a life that isn’t for us?
I came to realize I based a lot of my past decisions on fear and panic rather than meaningful intention. One day, I decided to be brave and kicked off the shoes that bound me in so many ways. I freed myself, and my feet, by choosing a life of intention. While I am most definitely a work in progress, as there will never be an end to intentional living, I can now look to the future without doubt and anxiety but with excitement and joy. And I can look to my past with gratitude for my experiences and the lessons I learned.
My intention is clear. It is to be exactly me and where I am right now, so that I can be just where I should be in five years and beyond. So what about you, my lovely friend? What is your intention? Or to put it another way, as the poet Mary Oliver did, “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Yoga teacher, life coach and recovering attorney; tireless supporter of authentic living, stubborn follower of dreams