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home : commentary : actnow April 29, 2016

A year of intentional reflection
"[This intention-focused group] helped me to dust off my viewpoint and see many good things. I accepted my imperfect path to where I am now, the joy I feel, the frustrations I face, the sun on my face, mostly small everyday things that being rooted in the present bring. It is after all, a good life."- Terri McNeil

"I intend to continue to be more reflective and intentional as I enter this next chapter of life. I think it affects each day of my life now because I really like being this age, appreciate my good health and the freedom this age offers."- Mary Vanderwert

by Kathy Magnuson

No one in the group started their new year on Jan. 1.
No one even started their new decade on Jan. 1.

We each felt differing levels of fear, exhilaration, regret and hopefulness as we came together with intention to explore, plan and dream.

My friend Mary Vanderwert and I realized that we were beginning a new decade of our lives in the same year. We wanted to be mindful about this milestone and invited others to do that with us. It required some sensitivity. One person knew someone else who invited someone else, and in this new beginning, Barbara, Claire, Kathy, Kathy, Terri, Carol, Mary and I-all born in the same year-formed an intentional group.

We agreed to spend one evening a month together for the next year. We were co-workers, neighbors from across an alley, former college friends and parents of our kids' friends.

We all wanted to dream of possibilities that a new decade could hold for us.

A good way to get to know one other was spending the first two gatherings telling our stories. We shared a photo of something significant from each decade of our lives. Through this storytelling we reflected that "I spent way too many years defining myself in relationship to my job," "That's the point I started lowering my standards so I could be healthy" and "I learned about my own power and what I could do."


We discussed research about happiness. Another month focused on the importance of relationships in our lives and how they change over time-with families, lovers, friends. We reflected about who used up energy in our lives and who generated energy. An attorney spoke with us about wills and health care directives. We explored the idea of spiritual and ethical wills and the legacy-other than financial-that we want to leave behind. We talked about our mothers and the legacy we carry forward from them. A local author visited with us about listening to the wisdom of our bodies and how to express that wisdom through movement.

We explored the questions: What am I good at? What are my core values? What do I love to do? What are my gifts to contribute?

At the end of our year together, we celebrated with ritual, including a decadent birthday cake and gratitude for our learnings together.

What ways have you discovered to set your intentions with yourself and with others? I'd like to hear about it. Send your stories to me at

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