Saturday, January 01, 2005

Stories of New Year's Intentions?

New beginnings...that perennial thought that rolls around each year around this time. We all consider them, even if we don't actually commit them to paper. I'm talking New Year's Resolutions, of course.

Just the other day, I saw a discussion on this topic where the person didn't call them "resolutions," but "intentions." I like that. I think it speaks more clearly to who we are as frail humans, wanting to do good but often faltering at every step on the path. "Resolution" is such a strong word, and to me, sounds harsh. Like a military command, rather than something we do to try and become a better person. "Intentions" are something any of us can keep, though I must here declare that once, about four years ago, I actually did maintain one New Year's Resolution for an entire year. Yes, I wore an apron every time I cooked! My clothing remained relatively stain free that year, and my bottle of Spray and Wash lasted into the following year!

Many stories are simply stories of intentions. "The Golden Lamb," from the middle eastern countries, tells of three friends who intend to take a golden lamb they were given to gain their fortune. They intended to become rich. Yet, realizing that a golden lamb, split three ways, was just chump change after all. They agreed to visit the Grand Vizier on a day when it was known that his intention was to hear all stories of conflict and pass judgement himself. He asked each young man in turn what they intended to do with their fortune, should he grant it. Each young man had fine intentions, one as worthy as the next. The Vizier could not fairly award the fortune to one over the other, so he asked that they each tell a story to his court.

Each young man took his turn, having had lots of practice tending the flock of sheep from which the lamb had emerged. Each story, though different, was enthralling to all who heard. Upon hearing the stories, the Vizier gave each young man his fortune. Warm cloaks, good sandals, and a crusty loaf of bread.

The three friends were outraged. The wise man simply smiled, and explained his intent.

"You could be merchants, or traders, or bookkeepers, as you each suggest. The world is filled with such as these. You all have incredible gifts beyond those, gifts the world hungers to enjoy."

The men were baffled. The Vizier continued.

"You tell stories. You've been given warm cloaks against cold nights' travels. Good sandals to allow you to travel far. And bread to feed you until you reach your destination. Once there, you will be richly provisioned, in exchange for your wonderful tales."

Those three young men did indeed set out, and life did indeed proceed as the wise man had suggested. They may not have become rich in goods, but they were richly rewarded with friendship, conversation and food in exchange for their wonderful stories.

I'd like to think that any intentions I make this year will be such as this. Instead of wishing for more and better, I'd like my intentions to take me places with conversation, rich friendships, and of course, great food. My yoga intention for 2005 will allow me to partake of that food, right?

***As an aside to these ramblings, let me share my first great intention for this year. I did the work needed to apply to be a member of a design team for a new line of scrapbooking supplies, one that everyone who knows me said, "It has your name all over it." The company seeks to share the richness and diversity of world cultures through its products. I was honored and delighted to see my name, along with my design, joined with twelve other designers from around the globe, gracing the page of the Grassroots Originals Design Team yesterday. Now that I've been given this gift to share stories in a different medium on behalf of Grassroots, it will be my intention to do my best and most creative work for them.


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