Sunset on the beach on the last day of 2019 seemed like the perfect thing to do. We were all sick during the first week of winter break, so a bit of sunshine, a breath of fresh air, and the sound of waves crashing was a big yes! Great idea!
I was feeling hopeful. Excited. I still had more envisioning and planning and intention setting to do. I felt open, clear, and ready to expand.
I came home from teaching around midday. We started to get ready. Why does it take so much effort to do anything? It doesn’t even seem like that much. Gathering the jackets, figuring out how many layers to wear, fill up water bottles, prep snacks. I think we need more snacks. Oh man! They need another proper meal before we go. And then there’s cleaning. And more cleaning. Put toys away. Now! And somehow half the day goes by. How is that possible?
A week of everyone taking turns being sick was actually quite relaxing. The kids never got out of their pajamas. Messy-bun-and-slippers mama was chill. I didn’t rush anyone. Nowhere to go. Everything was slow. There was lounging. And then more lounging. Reading together. Napping. Tea. I didn’t even want coffee. Whaaaaaaat???? It was kinda awesome!
“Sunset is at 4:54. We gotta go, you guys! Come on! Everyone go pee and let’s get in the car already!” I quickly made myself two lattes to go — one for the way there, one for the way back.
Traffic was so annoying. I thought L.A. traffic was chill during the holidays. Argh!
Our toddler didn’t nap. I totally thought he would fall asleep in the car. Nope. Bummer.
Walking on the beach was beautiful. It’s the best.
Then we sat down to watch what my husband refers to as “a cosmic light show.” It was gorgeous. But I was annoyed with people around us. The couple that stood by, way too close, and then walked forward and stood right in front of us. They blocked the view of the golden sun almost hitting the water. Thankfully, once they were done with their long series of selfies, they walked away.
But the dudes playing Frisbee, running back and forth throwing that damn thing right in front of my face really got to me. I was putting my grump on, well aware of the bitchiness building up inside of me. But motherfuckers messed my view of the last sunset of the decade, goddammit! And they weren’t even looking at it! They just kept throwing that Frisbee and running back and forth. Sparkles and golden light washed the Pacific Ocean as it hit the California shore. And these oblivious white boys in front of my face. Back and forth.
“I don’t care that they have the right to play Frisbee on the beach! That’s beside the point!” I went on and on about it. How inconsiderate. How unaware. It was Trump’s fault. It was all because of Instagram. The narcissistic, self-centered culture of our day and age. And Colonialism. Patriarchal bullshit! White supremacy. Bro culture. Yuck! How our species ruined the planet. How much I hate humanity.
I did a lot of journaling on the last few days of the year. Lots of contemplating. A lot of releasing.
Clearly, it was very helpful.
On the morning of New Year’s Eve I got a fucking cold sore. Those are the worst! I get soooo depressed when I get them. I knew that it was probably because I was sick. And possibly had something to do with the air being so dry that my lips were chapped. But I also felt like it had something to do with all the emotional/mental release I was doing on the days prior to that.
I was determined to turn this into an opportunity to transform some of my self-diminishing conversations. This is an opportunity to not go down the herpes spiral. While a part of me felt like maybe this was a horrible sign for the year and the decade about to begin, other parts were fighting to make this shitty experience empowering.
But those assholes and their Frisbee right in front of my sunset — that was too much.
We drove home. The plan was to get some really high quality, cheffy-chef pizza on the way back. But when we called the restaurant, they said that the wait for pick up was more than an hour. With New Year’s resolutions starting the next day, pizza, apparently, is a New Year’s Eve traditional food.
Toddler fell asleep in the car. Darn it! Napping now means bedtime will be so much harder and so much later.
There goes our New Year’s Eve ceremony.
I really wanted to embody graciousness, ease, and flow. I was going for full-on goddess-ness. But the tingly sensation on my lip, threatening to ooze with pus in a day or two didn’t exactly make me feel goddessy. And I wouldn’t be able to kiss my husband at midnight. And maybe Trump will win again in 2020. And we don’t have pizza.
Of course, our ceremony started later than we wanted it to. And it was not smooth. Oh man! It was comical. Kind of intense. Powerful. Meaningful. Fierce. Challenging. And hilarious in its clumsy, messy, not-so-holy character.
Shit came up on New Year’s Day too. And the first few days of the year brought some intense energy to deal with — inside and out.
But as my intentions solidified like volcanic rocks after lava heat cools off, I began to feel more grounded.
The first few months since 2020 started have been filled with opportunities to work on myself, and to carve the path that I wish to walk. I’ve been feeling more hopeful than I have in a while, even in the face of depressing, frustrating, and disappointing situations.
Intentions can be really powerful. Our commitment to embodying our intentions infuses them with life. So many times we will abort the mission as soon as we are challenged by our resolutions. The honeymoon phase is short. If we want more honey, we gotta put in the work.
Wavering doesn’t have to lead to falling. And if we fall we can get back up. What makes our wishes, our visions, our desires come to fruition is our showing up, especially in the moments when we feel like we’re being tested.
We’re not gonna be perfect. But something revolutionary happens when we anchor ourselves in how we want to receive, and what we want to generate. We’re probably gonna disappoint ourselves. But if we diligently show up to what we are determined to bring forth, we will experience transformation.
Give yourself permission to mess up. Forgive yourself when you’re far from where you want to be. Intentions are not set in stone. Ask yourself some good questions. Let them change. Give yourself space to let the intentions evolve. Allow yourself to be changed by them. Your intentions are not here for you to beat yourself up when you are out of touch with who you are working on becoming.
Here’s a little quick practice you can do to help you keep coming back to your intentions, and grow deeper roots into them:
Sankalpa Mudra — The imprint of intention
Take a few moments to contemplate and write down a few affirmations that express what you wish to bring forth from within you, and what you wish to create in your life — how you want to feel, who you want to be, what you want life to be about, etc.
To help you find your affirmations, here are some questions/journal prompts:
How does your body feel when you are in sync with what you desire?
What can you do to generate those physical sensations?
What do you need from your mind in order to keep coming back to what you’re working on?
What can you do to support your mind in that process?
How do you want to feel?
What are some activities that help you feel the way you want to feel?
What are some of the inner conversations that help you spark those feelings?
What do you need to say to yourself in order to create the state of being that allows you to be who you want to be?
Once you have your affirmations, place your hands in Sankalpa Mudra — put your left hand on your right thigh with your palm facing up, and place your right hand into your left, with your palm facing down. Gently clasp your hands. Soften your eyes, or let them gently close. Bring attention to your breath and slow it down. Then begin to repeat your affirmations, letting them ride the waves of your breath.
One or two minutes can make a shift in our experience. All you need is to show up for yourself right in those moments when you tend to leave yourself by the side of the road.
When an affirmation dries up, go deeper and ask yourself some more questions to provoke new ways of looking at your intention, and write down new affirmations.
Treat this simple practice as a reminder — you already are who you want to be.
Hagar’s Heart Howl: Making Life Is Making Art
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life beyond Your Wildest Dreams.
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