Growing Your Soul: Questions to Uncover Intentions for 2016

a narrow rural road on a frosty winter day

a narrow rural road on a frosty winter day

Winter is a time when nature rests.  Trees drop their leaves.  Animals hibernate.  Plants go dormant.  In contrast, humanity maintains the same hurried pace throughout the year.  The season of slowing invites us to pause, reassess life circumstances and adjust priorities.  Here are some questions you might consider as you explore intentions for the New Year:

What do you want to keep?

What do you want to add?

What do you want to let go of?

What do you want to shift?

These simple questions bring habitual patterns into conscious awareness so they can be expanded, refined or eliminated.  Looking more deeply at each question focuses your attention and energizes your intention.

What do you want to keep?

Sometimes people and activities fall out of our lives because other things crowd our time.  Asking what to keep shines a spotlight on relationships and experiences that bring joy.  Bringing these preferences into conscious awareness gives us the opportunity to purposefully include them as we allocate our limited time and resources.

What do you want to add?

This question offers the opportunity for expansion.  The addition can be as simple as buying a plant to beautify your home or as foundational as taking a class that will lead to a new career.  The important thing is that the addition be life-giving.  It is more energizing to complete a challenging task that we enjoy than it is to fulfill an obligation that requires only a small amount of effort.  While life-giving activities vary for each person, generally they involve one or more of the following qualities:

Stimulating – this could be physical, emotional, intellectual, creative or spiritual stimulation

Contributing – an action for the good of something or someone beyond the self, such as a person, cause, animal, group or the environment

Challenging – difficult enough to encourage growth or expansion but not so demanding as to cause frustration or a feeling of overwhelm

Creative – any activity that provides an opportunity for self-expression

Generative – this involves bringing forth something new and ranges from exercise that reshapes the body, to planting a seed, creating a product, song or story, introducing a novel idea or building something

Joyful – some examples include games, hobbies, dance, music, time with loved ones, outdoor activities and play

What do you want to let go of?

We see the difficulty of letting go when we look at our personal lives and places of employment.  Each year, expectations and demands increase as our households expand and organizations strive to improve profits or engage in on-going improvement.  Rarely are responsibilities eliminated to make space for new goals.

We mirror this approach in our personal lives.  How often do you remove something to make space for each thing that you add?  Sometimes we maintain relationships and participate in activities because they have become habitual rather than life-giving.  Letting go requires stamina and vigilance.  For example, when I decide to eliminate unhealthy eating choices, foods I used to eat activate a sequence of internal responses that used to culminate in putting those items into my mouth.  I must pay attention and consistently recommit to my choice in order to interrupt every step of that sequence.

What do you want to shift?

This question reveals an area of your life that feels unsatisfactory, but you are unable or unwilling to eliminate it.  Therefore, it calls for a change.  Since we can only change ourselves, the response to this question requires an adjustment in our personal perspective, expectations or usual way of interacting.  For example, if I am in an unsatisfactory relationship, I need to find new ways to respond.  As I shift, I destabilize the energetic bond that currently holds the relationship in place and new patterns emerge.

The process of pondering these four questions provides a stable platform for stepping into the New Year.  It reveals those things that no longer nourish your spirit.  It highlights the aspects of your life that bring joy.  And it creates a balance between expanding and refining your life circumstances.  May 2016 bring ease, abundance and well-being to you and your loved ones.


Photograph courtesy of; Icy Country Road by Creator.

About catherine grytting

healer, teacher, spiritual counselor, artist, writer, musician
This entry was posted in deepening into soul, expanding awareness. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Growing Your Soul: Questions to Uncover Intentions for 2016

  1. LeAnne Moss says:

    Thank you, Cathy. This is really perfect.

    Sent from my iPhone


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