Linda Neale's Blog

New year's resolutions, intentions, actions

Linda Neale - Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. 

Samuel Johnson

Our intention creates our reality. 

Wayne Dyer


Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions.  You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard-boiled egg.

Maya Angelou


This is the time when many of us set our intentions for the coming year -- some people call them New Year's resolutions.  Both resolutions and intentions have gotten a bad rap, primarily because they are only beginning steps toward change.  But they ARE a beginning.  A resolution is weaker than an intention.  It can be words only, words that spring to mind when we feel bad or guilty about our behavior.  "I'm never going to drink again" or "This year I'm going to lose weight".  That's why over 80% of New Year's resolutions are not met, because they're often based on guilt rather than carefully considered plans. Intentions are stronger than resolutions, because they imply a process that continues over time.  Both resolutions and intentions are insufficient for change, however, because these is no action plan attached to them. In order for change to occur, action AND intention must both be present.


In my book, The Power of Ceremony,  an entire chapter is devoted to the ceremonial principle of intention. There are two kinds of intent -- conscious intent and spiritual intent.  Conscious intent comes from us -- it is what we set out to do when we make a New Year's resolution, for example. 


Spiritual intent does not originate with us. It is the prevailing force in the universe.  Some call it "God's will" but Rod, my husband, calls it "the Natural Way".   Wayne Dyer, who researched and wrote about spiritual intent in his book, The Power of Intention, describes it this way:
“Intention is a field of energy that flows invisibly beyond the reach of our normal, everyday, habitual patterns . . . everything in the universe has intention built into it . . . intention doesn’t err. . . . The acorn never turns into a pumpkin . . . nothing in nature questions its path of intent. Nature simply progresses in harmony from the field of intention.”


Most of us have access to spiritual intent through our intuition. We may “get a feeling” that we should or should not do something. Perhaps this action is something simple, like talking to a stranger sitting near us in a café. When we talk to the stranger, we find out that the person has an apartment for rent in the very area we wanted. Or we take a different route home and become the lone witness to a car accident. This is our intuition at work, connecting to the invisible force of intention.


 That's one reason why we pray.  We try to determine what we are "supposed" to do, and if our will is in line with God's will.  This is tricky, and requires great discernment.  But once we understand how our intentions connect with the larger field of spiritual intent, it is rarely easy.  It almost always requires much hard work and action on our part.  As Rod says, "you have to meet the Creator half way."


So I don't have any New Year's resolutions.  I have some plans, some intentions, and some activities I'm saying "no" to. At this stage of my life, I'm trying to discern my unique contribution to my family and community.  Some of what I've discovered so far involves  supporting my husband, reaching out to young people of all ages, helping our family business, working with peoples' dreams, writing, and encouraging women to take steps toward a ceremonial life. That seems like enough for now.


I'm interested in your process as well.  If you make New Year's resolutions, and feel like sharing how they have worked for you, you're welcome to write them here.   Or, if you have any thoughts about intention or action plans for the coming year, you're invited to share those as well.


Happy New Year everyone!  May gentleness and happiness enter your life  in unexpected ways in 2013.


PS  Women who are interested in the medicine wheel ceremony are welcome to attend a meeting on January 26th.  Click HERE for more information.






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