New Year Intentions: Peace

As we enter the New Year, I felt inspired to fold origami Peace Cranes. I bought origami paper, typed “peace crane” into Google and looked up the directions. I had a goal. I wanted to fold cranes to adorn the ceiling in the exam room. The origami crane has become an international symbol of peace and is a beautiful gift to anyone in need of healing, of repose. I also knew the process could offer a contemplative exercise, and so I began. I folded my first crane as I watched the directions online and read a blog by Susannah Conway, a photographer and writer, on setting a word intention for the upcoming year.( She described choosing a word to embody the journey of the year ahead, to cultivate a greater awareness. Her word for 2012 was brave.

In sanskrit, Sankalpa means intention. We are encouraged to set a sankalpa for each time we step on the mat, for each time we step off the mat and in these culturally auspicious transitions, to set a sankalpa for the year ahead. As I folded cranes, I mulled over what my word could be.

Meanwhile, I also checked facebook over and over, read email, experienced angst over the other plans or tasks I had intended for my day. I craved chocolate. I experienced delight and sadness as my thoughts rambled in a myriad of directions, from relationships to internal struggles, my spiritual journey, my yoga practice, business, what to make for dinner, my dog’s arthritis, beauty of the fresh snow, a new medical diagnosis in a family member… oh, the list could go on. And, in all of that I wondered, “what is my word for the year?” What is my sankalpa? What do I want to cultivate? I am seeking a deep alignment with my Core Essence, with the Divine; but even my practice, my reading, my meditation and my contemplation for this eventual enlightenment has been fraught with unrest, with a sense of urgency, with a frustration when my actions or my words do not align with my deeper beliefs and values.

Often asked why the clinic is named Soaring Crane, I have had many different answers, and the answers have changed over the years. Cranes are symbols of longevity, health, and peace. They are a symbol in Alaska of the change of the seasons as they fill the skies and fields with their dance and song. The name resonates deeply within my being as a symbol for my own journey. However, during this reflective time between Christmas and New Year, the longing for peace experienced at the very core of my being grows and expands with a fiery impetus and I recognize this is why, this year, the clinic is named what it is, why I fold cranes, and what I need to cultivate most. There is my word!

Peace! What I deeply desire is peace. Peace with myself. Gentle, loving, compassionate, nurturing peace. I desire to seek spiritual and personal growth from a place of beauty and fullness, rather than from a “need” to fix myself. Peace. Peace in my relationships. Being able to see all beings as manifestations of the Divine, and as reflections of myself, with no judgement, with clear boundaries, but with pure compassion. Peace. Peace in my career, financial status, goals, teaching, writing, hobbies. Letting go of the anxiety, the frantic movement from one thing to another and reposing in each moment, full of wonder, open to the limitless possibilities available in the next moment. Peace. Peace in my actions. Finding the space around my emotions to rest, to wait, to speak from a place of deep alignment with truth. Peace! Santi (shan-tee)!

And, so, I fold cranes. I contemplate peace. I explore the myriad ways in which peace could suffuse my life and I invite peace. I breathe. I breathe into the taste, smell, sensation, experience, and the space around the peace. I know there is even more beyond my current experience, my current state. I stop writing, feeling the urgency to share, and I go to sit with peace.

May your year be suffused with peace. I invite you to set an intention, a word that carries you forward this year; intention imbued with love, compassion, and joy!

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantih