At the beginning of every yoga class, once we have finished easing our bodies into assimilating to a room typically heated somewhere near the temperature of Satan’s soul, we set an intention.
For the purposes of yoga specifically, it tends to be one of two things: 1) A check-in of sorts; a little something to refocus you when the practice is challenging you physically and mentally or 2) A goal to center around throughout the time on your mat. Perhaps by the end of the 60 mins sweating out every ounce of liquid consumed in the last week and contorting your body into questionable positions, you are that much closer to self-love, energy, peace, what-have-you.
Downward dog or no, an intention is a goal or a plan set to make a change. (Fun fact: In medicine, it refers to the healing process of a wound. That is entirely irrelevant here, but you never know… you may need that at the next trivia night.) It actually derives from the Latin word intendre, meaning “stretching” or “purpose.”
But enough of the slight departure to “nerd out,” right? Why am I really writing this post?
If I’m being honest, I’m like everyone else around this time of year. The clock strikes midnight on December 31, and I’m holding a list of resolutions the length of my arm. I make a new workout regimen, stock the fridge with leafy greens, and decide that I’m going to run that half marathon I’ve been talking about since senior year of cross country season. In the process, I probably get irrationally overwhelmed about the ratio of things on my list to the all-too-limited number of days that are actually IN a year. And likely, by the time December 31 rolls around again, I’ve maybe accomplished 10 of the 493 goals on the list.
Sure, I still made the list for 2019. But rather than get overwhelmed by how daunting it looks on a sheet of college-ruled looseleaf pasted on my office wall, I decided to post three single words. Three little somethings to refocus me when things are getting physically or mentally challenging. Intentions.
to remain for a time 2. to keep the attention direction— used with on or upon.
I’m a chronic goal setter. And like any Myers child, I’m stubborn enough not to sleep (sometimes, all too literally) until I ink a hefty, Ticonderoga No. 2 check mark next to that goal. But often I find that, rather in revel in the accomplishment of that check mark, or enjoy drinks with friends instead of thinking about the ever growing number of emails waiting to be answered, or savor the dinner I just cooked, I’m already mentally onto the next thing that needs done.
This year, I resolve to dwell. To relish in an accomplishment as long as it deserves. To make those emails wait for an extra two hours while I read an extra chapter of Harry Potter. To sip my old-fashioned a little slower. To take a day to binge watch that show I’ve been dying to watch for three months now (Ray Donovan, if you were curious). To savor the details of a moment before I move onto the next. To dwell.
to devote serious energy or energy: endeavor
There’s something about having a dream that makes you the best bit of crazy. You just want it SO bad. It’s the first thing you think about when you wake up, and it’s the last thing on your mind at the end of the day. It’s your favorite thing to talk about and gives you butterflies at the mere thought of it.
And most of all, if you want it bad enough, you are constantly striving. You give it everything you’ve got. Whereas dwell was one of those intentions that erred more on the side of being a goal, strive is more like that yoga “check-in” when the going gets a little rough. When I’m running short on sleep and scorn myself for chasing some crazy dream, instead, like a little lightbulb in the cerebrum: strive.
It’s the best bit of crazy.
without end, limit, or boundary: horizonless, boundless
This one is my personal favorite. For some reason or other, the human brain seems to be wired towards can’t. For example, I can’t run a half marathon; I’m not in the shape I was when I was eighteen. I can’t tell that certain someone how I feel; he’ll only laugh. I can’t hope to be in the writing room with some of my heroes this year; I’m still a rookie.
But who says? The only things you truly cannot do are those which you say you cannot do.
So, this year, the sky is the only limit.
This year I dare to dream just a little bigger.
This year I go for it.
This year is limitless.
Just like the Latin derivation of intendre indicates, intentions may take a little stretching, if you will (so my moment of nerdiness wasn’t entirely for naught). They might require you to put yourself under the microscope, which, goodness knows, isn’t exactly comfortable. They might not (in fact: probably won’t) happen overnight and may be met with a little metaphorical muscle resistance. But with a fair bit of striving, you’ll master them. After all, you are limitless.
Eat your leafy greens.
Do your cardio.
Love fiercely, both yourself and others.
And downward dog or no, write your intentions on a college-ruled piece of looseleaf paper with a Ticonderoga No. 2, and put them somewhere you can see them. This is your year.