Inspired by ritual – setting an intention that welcomes mystery and wonder

Inspired – Of external quality, as if arising from some external impulse.

Inspired. That’s my word for the year. It came to me on a hike across the top of the Blue Mountains on New Year’s Day.

Selecting a word of intention, of direction, guidance or positivity as a focus was once an annual ritual of mine. I can’t remember when I let the habit slip. Perhaps it was several years ago that I selected a word and it trickled through my fingers like sand and was forgotten. Thanks to my friend Gay, from Create, I was reminded of this lovely New Year ritual and was overjoyed when the word came to me while out in the Australian bush.

With the beating sun upon me, cicadas chirruping above and the open track ahead, I mulled over possible words. Productive came to mind instantly. I pondered, “would I set myself up for more of the same? Could the intention here see me manic and stressed, as I had been in 2017, refusing to rest?” It didn’t feel quite right. Purposeful rose up as a butterfly hovered across my path. That’s a good word. I have always wanted to live a life of purpose and authenticity. Grace, I’d selected before. Ease rated a mention. To glide through life with a sense of ease would be delightful. Words alighted momentarily, like the butterflies, then flittered away. I was not perturbed. I walked on, the intention still in mind.

Then it came to me – inspired. This year my intention is to be inspired. This word is a guiding light, it will help me navigate the way forward even in the heaviest fog. After a hiatus; a time of feeling adrift, bored, directionless. A time of isolation and limited social contact I felt a new energy and desire to move on. Inspired is perfect for me now. After many years of being goal driven and focused the last several years have seen me beached. I’ve found it hard to identify the niggling need inside me, I’ve found it hard to know what direction to take, what action to fill the gaping hole, how to satisfy a tormented mind and itchy fingers. I’ve been on the edges of a terrifying chasm and longed to step back but wasn’t sure how.

The lack of ritual tore the chasm wider. Routine helped a little but too much structure only made me more rigid. Something was missing. There was no mystery or magic. No celebration of belief or faith. Selecting a word for the year is a step away from the edge and a return to myself. It’s also trusting the universe, a higher power.

Establishing this word for the year ritual allows me to drop the resolutions, the need to create lists I won’t refer to and the anxiety from not ticking things off the list. A single word sets a positive intention. It encapsulates how I want to feel and what I want to experience in the year ahead.

There is no one way to choose a word. I let mine float up on it’s own. I will either meditate or go for a walk with the question – ‘what might my word for the year be?’ You might make a list or do a search for positive words or adjectives, find a theme or link among the words and then identify one word that sums up a particular theme. You might spend several days simply noticing what words stand out as you go about your daily tasks. Thoughts about how you want to feel or not feel can help. Sometimes the way we don’t want to feel is a good pointer to identifying our true north. For instance, if you keep feeling bored perhaps your word might be inspired or capable or inventive. Look at the goals you want to achieve. How would you sum them up – aligned, bountiful, complete?

I am keen to see where this year’s word and all it’s connotations take me. I am excited to see where inspiration arises and the form it will take. Do you select a word for the year to live by, to focus on, to lean on? Do you have an alternate ritual that acts as a compass to steer you toward the mystery and magic of life?


A year of inspiration. Inspired by Gay Landetta, 

6 thoughts on “Inspired by ritual – setting an intention that welcomes mystery and wonder

  1. My word of the year is FOCUS. I need to be sure that I focus on what is important and not waste my time chilling out and then wondering why I didn’t do what I was inspired to do. I’ve received the inspiration and committed myself to a new spiritual project. I just need to stay with it rather than frittering away my time with TV or Facebook – dreaded distractions that were starting to be a problem. I need to discern what is good for me and what is just wasting time. What is going with the flow and what is just goofing off? If I focus on what is right for me, I’ll know.

    I love your Inspiration focus for the year. I was in a rut last year and several times, when I went to bed, I asked for inspiration. Upon awakening, I felt the inspiration to be there! Just imagine how life could be if every day brought new inspiration!

    • Hi Karel, that’s a great word -focus. I think we both experienced something similar in being easily distracted and pulled away from the important things. Now we both have our word we can thrive and prosper spiritually as well as on other levels.
      Thank you for reminding me to ask for inspiration before sleep. How easily one forgets the simplest actions.
      It is always affirming to hear from likeminded friends.

  2. I love the word you have chosen ‘inspiration ‘ it sounds like magic✨✨✨as I tap the letters ,and what an amazing place for it to arrive, whilst walking the blue mountains. I have no idea where they are Shannyn but I’m googling after this and you can be sure I’ll want to be walking with you 😁
    The word I have chosen is’visable ‘ . I want to be visible for all the right reasons . It’s the three year old in me I guess stamping my feet .
    Wonderful piece of writing a pleasure as always to read .

    • Cherry, I applaud your choice of word for the year. Visible. I find myself trying to be invisible and then get cranky when I’m overlooked. How silly is that? We should be proud to be seen. I trust your word brings you a great sense of alignment, confidence and pleasure.

  3. Wow – a great piece of writing Shannyn. I really enjoyed reading it.

    My word for the year, if I had to choose one would be space. I find myself always being busy – many to do lists, presssure on myself to perform and afraid to stop. It is in those moments that we stop and create space (like going for a walk, washing up, meditating) that we receive the wisdom buried inside. So I’m intentionally giving myself space from which to create from.

    Thank you also for the reminder on holding a question while walking or as I often call it – walking with intention. It’s something I’ve used in the past but I’d shelved it and forgotten about it. I’m writing a travel article for a new opportunity I have and didn’t know where to start. This will be a great start.

    You ask what ritual we use for a compass – mine is choices. Every 6 months, I do a ‘land of plenty’ meditation which connects me to what I want at a deeper level. After that, I formulate 8 choices of what I’d love to create in life. Each day, I spend 10 minutes imagining each choice, which orientates me for the day and reminds me what I’m going for. I then take inspired action to bring those choices to fruition.

    One last comment on the chasm. Step off. They say jump and the universe and the universe will catch you. It will! I jumped last year and things have happened in the most magical ways! It is only terrifying because it is stepping into the unknown. At the same time that this is terrifying, it is also exciting!

    • Nick, how wonderful to receive your comment. I feel like we’ve just had a mini catch up.
      Space is so important and creating that space for ourselves is rewarding and bears fruit doesn’t it? I’ve recently had space created for me, a forced space if you will. It was frightening at first. It was indeed a chasm. But I’m slowly starting to see the rewards and the opportunities that exist beyond what I thought I had. I have let go and fallen back and seen the universe catch me. I have a few more steps to overcome but it’s not as scary as if I tried to control every little thing myself.
      I do like the sound of your land of plenty meditation. I’d be keen to learn more.
      I’m chuffed you took the time to let me know what you were thinking. Thanks heaps. Would love to catch up.

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