Better & Bolder the Blog

Deep Wishes 2018

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I. One way to get at our desires is to get out of habits and rules. We live by our rules. 

What rules do you want to break? What rule has stopped serving you and instead you began serving the rule? 

How do you want to live? What elements – air, earth, water, fire – do you invite to take a bigger place in your life?

II. Write down three to thirty things you wish for yourself in 2018.

These can be specific things, such as a better relationship with one particular person. They can be general: you want more fun or joy. 

The things you wish for may be impossible but you wish to wish for them anyway. These may be things you already have in your life and you want them to continue as they are or grow stronger.

Consider writing down everything you can think of, a big pile of wishes, and don’t worry yet about whether you really want all of them.

When I began writing my list, I careened into writing things I should do, things I might set as goals or resolutions. It made me feel forlorn instead of hopeful. I put my list aside and started up again a day later. My list was more joyful and centered on desires.

For instance, when I wrote “Get to bed on time,” it felt like a goal. When I write my desire, “Be well-rested,” then I’m focusing on the desire, the end result. While I believe getting to bed earlier is my best route to being well-rested, this list is about desire. Focusing on what I should do is not as motivational as focusing on what I want. 

Last night, I stayed up late watching TV while cuddling with my husband and dog. I was doing something I wanted to do and then missed something else I wanted, which was to get enough rest. Cuddling on the couch is highly desirable. While I can’t often choose late nights over getting good rest, I can acknowledge that I made a choice rather than messed up a goal. You may wish to revise your list to focus on desires and desired end results. Now isn’t the time to work out how to make things happen. It’s to find your deepest wishes and desires.


III. This next part of the reflection is offered in three levels.

Level 1: this takes about five minutes.

Level 2: this could take from 20 minutes to a few hours.

Level 3: this will take a while, maybe even spilling over into the next few days


Level 1: Choose three words or phrases that you wish to focus on in 2018. Read over what you’ve written in the past week to help you choose three words. Write down your three words and put that list somewhere you’ll see it every day this week (bathroom mirror, refrigerator, nightstand, wherever).

Level 2: Create a collage of words and pictures to represent your 2018 Deep Wishes.

Go to your list from yesterday of 3 – 30 things you desire in 2018. Revise it, crossing off things that don’t feel so important and adding some more if you like. Underline a few that feel most important. Write those things here:

Look at what you asked to bring with you into 2018 to help you with unresolved issues from 2017. Write that thing or quality here:

Look at Day 4. What ideas or words stand out? Write them here:

Put all your words together on one sheet of paper. You might use colored pencils or markers. Some words might be bigger than others.

Look at your words. Do some repeat? Do they connect?

Add pictures by drawing or pasting in photos from magazines or websites. Add more words, or repeat some of the words, or highlight them. Create a visual representation of the reflection you’ve done this week.

Once you’re done, snap a picture on your phone (your reflection selfie!). You can hang your picture up somewhere in your house to guide you into 2018.


Level 3: Create a Deep Wishes 2018 sacred space.

Find a place in your home that you can visit daily. This is a place you can stop, take a few breaths, or perhaps spend five minutes in quiet.

Sacred simply means stepping outside of the mundane and making a connection. This doesn’t have to be a shrine or an altar. It doesn’t have to be religious or spiritual. It has to be important and worthwhile. It has to be worthy of your attention. It should be nurturing and engaging. Its presence enriches your life as it reminds you, daily, of what’s valuable to you. Its presence invites you to pause and engage on some level with those values.

Set up an area, perhaps on a shelf, that will hold representations of your deep wishes.

These representations could be photos; natural elements (feathers, stones, bones); beautiful or awe-inspiring items; candles (these help focus us and give us an action – lighting the candle – that initiates meditation); or anything that feels significant and symbolic to you right now.

On New Year’s Day, you will begin the practice of stopping at this space every day at the same time – early in the morning, coming home from work, right before dinner, twenty minutes before bed. If you stop and take and then release three breaths, that will be enough. This practice is a fierce commitment to your deep wishes. 

Release 2017

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                                                                                                                                                                    photo Ailin O’Neall 2017

I. This is the first part of the Deep Wishes journey to take us from 2017 into 2018.

Begin today by listing three to ten good things in your 2017.

It may help to think of different areas of your life: work, relationship, home, hobbies, spiritual life.

My list includes a stronger friendship with someone; one particular day in my family life that made me shine with pride and love and delight; and a good thing that came from a difficult time.

Once you write down your list, say thank you to each.

II. This is the second part of the Deep Wishes journey. We continue to release 2017. 

Think on one difficult thing in 2017.

List three ways you excelled in dealing with it. Acknowledge the ways in which you did your best.

Thank it. Send out a prayer that the hardest part is past. 

III. I invite you to consider what from 2017 feels unresolved. What bothers you about the last year?

Set a timer on your phone for three to five minutes. Write about it. What would help to resolve this? Forgiveness? Compassion? Passage of time?

Even if you’re not sure that this can be resolved or what would help, choose one or two solutions and ask for that in the year ahead. Choose to be a bit optimistic and write it down: In 2018, I would like to bring _____ to this situation. 

Not everything has to be resolved. Some things can be left behind. Some things are too big and cannot be handled in a year. 

What can be done in one year is you can nurture more of something that supports you, whether that’s forgiveness, sense of humor, compassion, help from others, whatever you need and can ask for. Look forward to how you can grow that in 2018.