Finding Your W.A.I. (Welcome, Accept, and Intentions) in the Coming Year!

Finding Your WAI PathEvery New Year most people talk of resolutions.  Unfortunately, most of the talk is about how resolutions don’t work and end up causing more frustration and discouragement than any type of help.  The thing is, I’m fairly certain that unless we focus on what we do want and what’s important to us, we likely end up with a year that looks similar to the one before, or worse, one that is significantly less fulfilling.  In fact, without such clarity we’re like a person starting out on a journey with no purpose or destination in mind, or an airplane taking off without navigation.   So rather than eliminate resolutions altogether, I came up with a new W.A.I  (Welcome-Accept-Intentions) of looking at hopes and dreams for the coming year so that we may be better able to enjoy the journey for the next 365 days.

The first letter of my new W.A.I. is the “W” which stands for “Welcoming.”  I first learned of this idea from a friend, author and workshop leader named Mandy Evans.  Several years ago Mandy invited Thom and I to her house for a New Year’s Brunch.  After spending time sharing great food and conversation, Mandy asked, “Would you all be willing to do an exercise?” We all agreed and this is what she asked us to do.

Mandy directed us to take a pen and paper and start writing down,  “I welcome in 2013  ________________________”.  It was, and is, a different way of thinking what you want to experience in the days ahead.  She didn’t ask us, “What do you want?” Instead, she made the distinction, “What are you willing to welcome?”  If I remember correctly, a large focus of what Mandy hoped to inspire in each of us was the awareness of who we were and what was of prime importance to us at that time in our lives.  It wasn’t about getting stuff, or achieving goals, or even making plans for the year ahead.  Instead, it was an excellent reminder that what we think about, we bring about.  Or as the Buddha said, “What we dwell upon we become.”

The next letter in W.A.I. is the “A” and evolved out of that New Year’s Day so many years ago.  Beyond using the “W” for “Welcome,” I decided that the word “Accept” added something essential to the equation.  Every year on New Year’s Day or as soon as possible, I sit down and write out a list of things or experiences that I want to “Accept” in my life in the coming year.

The reason that I believe “Accept” is such a powerful word is because so few of us actually know what it is that we want and thereby accept in our lives and experiences.  Years ago I heard Oprah Winfrey explain how one of her biggest frustrations was dealing with so many people who really didn’t know what they wanted.  On several occasions she made the offer to make people’s dreams come true but when asked, most people came up with puny dreams that were hardly impressive.  For example, instead of saying they wanted to work and train for an entire year so that they could finish the Boston Marathon and finish in the top 10—a woman would say she wanted to join the local spa and lose 10 pounds.  Instead of asking for a trip around the world—another woman would ask for enough money to get her car fixed.  Instead of asking for the financial aid and resources to go back to college and become a doctor—a woman said she’d like to get a raise of $10 more per hour.  See what I mean?  Most people want so very little and Oprah was astonished that they couldn’t dream bigger.

When I heard those examples I realized that instead of asking what people “want,” maybe Oprah should ask, “What are you willing to accept?”  In the case of my examples, the women above could only see themselves accepting a small request instead of a huge dream that Oprah would have been happy to provide.  I happen to believe the Universe is a bit like Oprah.  If we believe in an omnipotent and unlimited Universe, then we are the ones putting the limits on our good.

Perhaps going deeper behind both accepting and welcoming our good is that some people don’t allow themselves to dream big or want much because they believe it is wrong to ask for it in the first place.  It may be the way they were raised or even religious baggage, but some people don’t believe they deserve something extra-ordinary when so many others seem to have it tough.  Some deeply believe that sacrificing for others somehow makes them appear more spiritual or compassionate.  So rather than allow themselves to welcome and accept certain kinds of good—some people pretend they don’t want (or need) experiences or things, when what they are really saying is they don’t feel they deserve them.   Ultimately, welcoming and accepting ask us to look at the benevolence (or lack thereof) of the Universe itself.  It also reminds us that we choose a large portion of what we want to express and experience during our life here on Earth—and the Universe just says, “Yes!”  Or as I’ve written about before,  “Argue for your limitations and they’re yours.”

So this year—what are you willing to Accept?  Another way to ask that question is, “What are you going to settle for this year?    While there is certainly nothing wrong with hoping for a small raise at work, to lose a couple of pounds or to get your car fixed—all of those dreams are a willingness to accept or settle for a rather small amount in the scope of the unlimited Universe.  But make no mistake, that choice is up to us.

The last letter in my new “W.A.I.” is  “I” and stands for Intention.  What do I mean by that and why does it matter?  One of the best books I’ve read about how powerful our intentions are is called, “The Intention Experiment” by Lynne McTaggart.  In the book, McTaggart defines intention as, “the projection of awareness, with purpose and efficacy, toward some object or outcome.”   She goes on to say, “Even your current state of mind carries an intention that has an effect on life around you.”  More importantly she says, “The evidence convinced me that we can improve our health, enhance our performance in every area of our lives, and possibly even affect the future by consciously using intention.”   McTaggart’s book is filled with compelling facts and studies that remind us that while we are not in charge of the Universe, we do have an amazing influence on our individual lives.  Keeping that in mind when deciding what is that we both welcome and accept in our lives every day, and every year, is paramount.

Hopefully now that I have shared some of these ideas about the W.A.I. to approach your future, you’ve been motivated to think about it a little more deeply than the casual New Year’s Resolution.  Remember, this isn’t about what you’re going to get this year or another “to-do” list—but rather a better idea of what you hope to “be” in the days ahead.  And, the details of what each of us hope to experience and express in the coming year is far less important than the clarity and the awareness of how we individually approach our future.   On New Year’s Day 2013, I sat down, wrote out my W.A.I. list for the year ahead, and at the bottom, just like was suggested so many years ago, I signed my name.  The good news is there’s plenty of time for you to do the same.


Filed under Meaningful, Responsible

4 Responses to Finding Your W.A.I. (Welcome, Accept, and Intentions) in the Coming Year!

  1. Wow! This is exactly what I need, Kathy. This is the best post/advice I”ve had on moving forward since my husband died. We always made resolutions for the newcyear, but I was having trouble making any kind of plan for thecnext day! No goals, nothing to anticipate, no good intentions other than moving on. Your W.A.I. process has me smiling and motivated and empowered! Bless you my dear new friend. THERE is reason people come into our lives!

    • Hi Joan! Thanks for stopping by SMART Living and joining the conversation. I’m so pleased that this article spoke to you and offered you some new ideas to include in your life. I think by the time we get to be our age we are so over the resolution thing that it’s important for us to stay open to new ways uplift and inspire us. Thank you so much for your comment! ~Kathy

  2. Good points, Kathy. I especially liked your view of the whole process not as a whole dreary list of to-dos but as an adventure in opening up to possibilities and dreams. It would be far more exciting and a lot less scary or depressing if we approached it from that angle.

    I am sometimes amazed at how little we expect from God (the Universe for others). That is human thinking though because in Scripture God shows again and again that He is a God of larger than life and plenty, not stinginess. Even when we merely look at the world/universe we can see that it is very large and very full of good things. We may indeed deal with suffering because it is valuable in growing us, but it is not because He is a God of “very little” or “you only get small amounts.”

    One point I will make about Oprah’s encounters, though, is that it wasn’t simply a matter of not dreaming big enough. Those bigger dreams take WORK to achieve. Many of the people asking for things wanted someone to simply GIVE them something…without the work. To achieve bigger dreams means taking responsibility for helping make that dream come to pass and many people are unable, unwilling, or just unaware of how to do that.

    Anyway, enough of my thoughts. I appreciated your take on things and I will look at what I want to accomplish in this new year with your points in mind 🙂

    • Hi Stephanie….How ARE you! So nice to hear from you again. I haven’t been back to the Asymetrical Community in ages, are you still active there?

      Anyway, thank you so much for your comment and for stopping by. And I’m glad you liked this one…I actually wrote it LAST January but I still think it has a lot of great information–and I still make it a part of my life so I reposted it to FB. And yes, I so agree that the God or Universe that I believe in is much more omnipotent than many others seem to believe. How could a God that is all-knowing, all-powerful, every where present (not to even mention all loving) have anything to do with stinginess!

      And yes, I can see what you mean about Oprah’s encounters….It does take work, even if just imagination and stick-to-itiveness to experience our dreams. And on the heels of that–it is also likely a fear of change. Many people are so afraid of what their lives might become if something changed that they’d rather stay right where they are. As you say, many people are “unable, unwilling or unaware of how to do that.”

      Thank you again for stopping by….do you have a blog going yourself somewhere now? I would love to come by and support your work so please check back in and stay in touch! Oh, and may your 2014 be an AMAZING year filled with all your dreams coming true! ~Kathy

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