Photo by Karly Santiago on Unsplash

I believe magic is in the moments in between, not in the dreams we expect to happen.”

Chantel Funk

Every year I like to do a vision board and set intentions for the year. My typical style of this ritual has been to make specific goals and habits, put them visually on a board and aim to achieve them by the end of the year. The board would act as a visual reminder to help manifest my dream. This worked historically to accomplish my goals by making my day to day objectives clear. I have grown immensely since doing this practice and I am thankful looking back that this was something I did as a ritual while it served me. There is a shift in me this year though, a shift to a new way of living. A new way of perceiving what can be.

I have always been an achiever. A doer. Someone who has thrived on being busy and working on projects. It has served me well to be specific about what I wanted to accomplish. I am proud of the things I did and the goals that I crushed in the process.

This year as I pause to reflect and start my ritual, I find myself thinking differently or with a new perspective on how I want to move into this year. I find the act of measuring myself to have been harmful. After 5+ years of hustling, everything came to a crashing halt. I found myself depressed and with a feeling of hopelessness. I found myself never seeming to measure up despite achieving my goals. I found that despite my absolute best efforts the “perfect life” I unknowingly was striving for was unattainable with all of the variables life brings. Now I choose the word unattainable because when I dug deeper within my heart I found that I was striving for a life without hard things – not realistic. The idea that if I “did all of these things” life would somehow be easier. This year I could not have anticipated a pregnancy, followed with a pregnancy loss, would make training for a marathon unmanageable. I can see now in hindsight that this loss was made more difficult by the goals I had told myself I was only worthy if I crushed them. This concept is bullshit and it set me up for failure.

Photo by Paico Oficial on Unsplash

Setting goals is a means to an end. It makes the ability to mark it completed necessary. If it absolutely has to be completed then it should be a goal. Setting intentions however is different. It does not require one to complete it or fall short when it is left incomplete. Setting intentions and having an action plan absolutely is something that has to be done if you ever want to grow in a specific direction. How we approach intentions needs to change, at least for me. Instead of creating a vision board of all the things I am currently lacking and focusing on what I “don’t yet have” (maybe you can see where the self worth piece comes in here) my new approach will be to visualize the parts of me that are wonderful and that I want to explore more with intention. Without the pressure of arriving at some “destination” of a life. The focus will not be on goals or achievements but rather a meditative practice on what the highest version of myself moves through the exploration. For example, I love running. I would like to do a marathon or 42km run just to say I did it. This goal has been one of my goals for a while. By focusing on it I have managed to run over 375 km this year. So instead of claiming this year to be the year (because we actually cannot predict what life has in store for us) and falling short of that goal and feeling shitty about it, I am going to put on my vision board the simple idea of being a runner. For my intentions I am going to make this more of a priority in my life. Because it was a goal of mine, it has influenced my nutrition and my schedule. So when I reflect on my running experience and set intentions for 2022 I am going to draw on where I am at and exploring how I can get creative and challenge this practice. I believe this leaves any results open and potentially more fulfillment coming from what comes of the year. We also don’t cap or limit our potential.

I believe life is hard, it is about holding both the sorrow and the joy. If we are hyper focused on a goal it allows no nuance (where the beauty of life is). By keeping what happens open ended, we set ourselves up for the best possible state of mind. We embrace all seasons. With life being so challenging for an extended period of time the capacity for hard things is lessened. It compounds us not measuring up with us not coping. Its a type of grieving which is both depressing and exhausting. For 2022 I will be setting the intention of making more space for life. Less hustle and more putting my feet up. I thrive being creative and creativity is born of boredom. I want more space for things unexpected both good and difficult. I think there are alot of beautiful, simple things I could be enjoying in the everyday. I walk into this year feeling renewed with a sense of magic in the air. The space for innovation and newness following a very difficult two years. I will build back my reserve of self care, compassion and capacity for hard things so they don’t rock me so much. It will be okay and I hope you know that you will be too.

As always I love to share my experiences for those who find them interesting and helpful and I always love to hear your feedback! I hope this transition into the new year is one that brings you hope and love.

-Chantel Funk

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