Stephanie was invited to write the following guest post for the Olive Fertility Centre:
As the holiday season winds down and we prepare to begin a new year, one more holiday tradition still remains: pondering those pesky New Year’s resolutions. It’s interesting (and perhaps unfortunate!) that this tradition continues when research indicates only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions!
One of the problems with resolutions is that they put us firmly in effort mode, obsessed with outcomes and notions of success and failure. We “should” all over ourselves.
The hazard of imposing firm expectations on specific outcomes is that we live in a world where conditions (internally and externally) are constantly changing, which can derail even the most well-prepared and tenacious among us. Those of us on a fertility journey know this all too well. Even when everything is ‘perfect’ and we’ve done everything ‘right’, sometimes our desired outcome is still not within our control.
It is a subtle shift in language but perhaps as we approach this new year, we might think in terms of intentions rather than resolutions. While resolutions are firm and hard, intentions are more flexible. They’re about where and how we direct our attention, finding that sweetspot between effort and patience. They are about being mindful.
An intention shouldn’t be confused with a goal. It’s not something you attach an expectation or evaluation to, rather it is something you want to align with in your life. It’s an aim, a purpose, or attitude you’re committed to embodying. It’s how you want to show up in the world and, most importantly, doing so with kindness and compassion … both towards ourselves and with how we are in relationship with others.
I read an interview with a meditation teacher named Jack Kornfield last spring in the NY Times and his words have remained with me. He invites us to pause and “to sit quietly for a moment…to rest your heart and ask, “What is my best intention, my most noble aspiration?” If you quiet yourself, your heart will answer. The answer could be simple: “I vow to be kind no matter what.” And when you find the answer in yourself, write it down and place it somewhere you’ll remember. Then when you feel lost or confused, take a breath and remember that vow.”
Wishing you well-being, gentle connection with your heart, and the possibility of a quiet contentment in the simple everyday moments of your life throughout the new year.
Visit www.mindfulnessforfertility.com for upcoming courses starting in January.
Photo by Samson Katt from Pexels