"It's the way you name your ship That's the way it's going to row"
The quote above is from a song from the latest album of my favorite band, Gogol Bordello, known for it's unique Gypsy Punk sound, zany stage shows and transnational message of peace and unity. Like a traditional call-and-response Sea Shanty, the song frames a question many of us ponder at the start of a year:
You know It's time for a change But how And where do you start?
Most of us start with New Year's resolutions; I prefer Intentions. A working definition for intention is: “to have in mind a purpose or plan, to direct the mind, to aim.” I believe that to set intentions is more than naming a goal; it calls forth the manifestation of a dream, where all the forces of the universe can align to make even the most impossible, possible.
At this point of my Big Transition -- leaving an organization I founded after more than 11 years -- the possibilities are endless, which is terrifying and exhilarating. Old habits are like the tug of the tide, puling us toward old ways of being and doing that may no longer serve us:
You taught your parrot to stutter Now you're a slave to his chatter But it is the way you name your ship That's the way it's going to row
So, what do I want to name my ship? Given that I am seeking new opportunities in work, I could name my ship the SS Prosperity. Nope, too shallow. I want to bring peace, justice and equality through my work, so how about SS Service? But what about me? SS Wellness? SS Romance? SS Inner Peace?
To name the virtue that I need most right now, I have to think about what holds me back from being my best self. What limits me most? It's a four-letter word: F-E-A-R. Of failing, of succeeding, of saying the wrong thing, of pissing people off, of being judged, of disappointing myself and others.
For 2016, I name my ship the SS Courage and I set sail to My Best Self. I summon my courage for these things:
To say yes To say no To dream big To trust the unknown and unknowable To ask for what I need and receive it To speak my truth To fight injustice To love myself To be fully human.
So, what will you name your boat?
Best wishes for 2016!
P.S. Do yourself a favor and listen to the song and read the lyrics.