Last Friday I spent the day at a re:New retreat led by author, speaker, and teacher Rosie Molinary. This year brought some big professional changes in my life and since I’ve never been one to make resolutions, I decided that I needed a different way to mark the transition into 2016. Instead of forming new habits, what new intentions would I be setting for this next chapter?
One of the biggest takeaways for me from the re:New retreat was something Molinary articulated at the very beginning of our time together. She said that as a culture we often use this formula:
doing–> having–> being
We start with the belief that if we do something, we’ll have something and then we’ll be something. An appropriate example for this time of year of resolutions: if I lose ten pounds, then I will have the self-acceptance I need to be more confident in my life.
Molinary said what we need to do is reverse the formula:
being–> having –> doing
If we focus on achieving the feeling that we want, then we have what we need to do the things we want to do. For a productivity junkie like me, this was a major shift in thinking.
Molinary led us through several journal and small-group exercises that helped us land on a single word that captured the feeling we wanted more of this year. One woman chose light. Another chose enjoy. I landed on resolve. The irony isn’t lost on me. I signed up for this retreat because I resisted the idea of resolutions, and yet I ended up selecting “resolve” as my 2016 world.
When I picture having more resolve in my life, I think of determination, focus, and decision. As a young leader I’m tempted to spend a significant amount of time fixated on how others perceive the job I am doing and when I sense dissatisfaction from anyone, I question myself. Not only is this detrimental to my own well-being, but it is also a distraction from the work.
Resolve also means that I will be careful in my decision making around opportunities that arise. Molinary shared with us a metric she uses when deciding when to say yes (and no). She calls it the whole-hearted continuum. From beginning to ending, will this opportunity bring her joy? If it will, she says yes, and if not, she lets it go with the faith that it will become an opportunity for someone else’s whole-hearted yes.
Surprisingly the most enjoyable part of the day for me was putting together my vision board for 2016. At first I felt a little like the way Brené Brown describes in this On Being interview with Krista Tippett:
I was one of those people who, if someone said, you know, “Hey, do you want to take this painting class with me, or do you want to scrapbook or do you want to …” you know, I was like, aw, that’s really cute. You know, “You do your A-R-T, I’ve got a J-O-B.”
As I sat on the floor and flipped through magazines, I pulled images and words that resonated with me, some of them for reasons I could not articulate until they came together on the board itself. It now sits by my desk as a constant reminder of my goal to have more resolve in my life this year.
If you’re interested in learning more about Rosie’s retreats and coaching or if you’re looking for some ideas on renewal for this year (or anytime), please check out her website at rosiemolinary.com.
Katey Zeh, M.Div is a strategist, writer, and educator who inspires intentionalcommunities to create a more just, compassionate world through building connection, sacred truth telling, and striving for the common good. She has written for outlets including Huffington Post, Sojourners, Religion Dispatches, Response magazine, the Good Mother Project, the Journal for Feminist Studies in Religion, and the United Methodist News Service. Find her on Twitter at @ktzeh or on her website www.kateyzeh.com.