Dear Ones- A new year, a new decade. Happy New Year!
Our theme for the month of January is “Intention”, which seems appropriate for a new year, I suppose. I have to admit, though, that I’m not a fan of “New Year’s Resolutions”. We all-too-often make resolutions to change our lives in some huge way which is quickly forgotten. Then we end up feeling guilty, feeling like we’ve failed. And I’m NOT a big fan of setting myself up for failure.
But “intentions” are different. Intentions do not require perfection. They are not about outcomes. In Islam the word for “intention” is “Niyyah”. Wikipedia defines it as “the intention in one’s heart to do an act for the sake of Allah”.
In Muslim thought, only Allah is perfect, and so ANY act performed by we humans is inherently imperfect. Therefore, Islam recognizes that it is the intention which is most important, rather than the outcome.
I was reminded of this recently, when a project I’d worked so very hard to “get exactly right” turned out to be so very much less than perfect. It seemed that (almost) everything that could go wrong, did. It was frustrating and disheartening.
Ultimately, though, I’ve come to see that the outcome was much less important that the intention- that the “finished product” was viewed by others as much better, and less flawed, than my ego wanted to admit. It wasn’t perfect, there were mistakes and missteps. I wish it had been better, and have spent a good deal of time making sure I don’t make the same mistakes next time. But in the end, I would like to believe that it was the intention that really mattered, rather than the outcome. (at least, that is my most fervent hope!)
We will fall short. It’s part of being human.
So, perhaps, what I might wish for you, at the beginning of this new year, is that you forge ahead, even if you make a mistake. May you firmly hold the intention of making the best year possible, of doing the best possible, of being the best possible, of loving extravagantly, of laughing exuberantly. May each of us renew our intention, our commitment, to live our life with integrity, beauty, courage and kindness.
And if we fall short (actually, “when”, not “if”!), well, nobody’s perfect.
Wishing you peace and blessings,