What I Learned From the Word Intentional


My word for 2018 was intentional. And it nearly broke me. Whenever a word is selected, I find that the Universe steps up to the plate and aims right for where the sweet spot of shattering the safety we think a word might mean sits.

In my world, that looks like having my eyes open to the acts of others that I previously thought were well-meaning but, upon further inspection, realizing that their intent and word/deed most certainly are misaligned. Intent does not mitigate impact and when impact is ignored and harm is done, the intent is mute.

I think we see this in social justice cases regularly. But rarely, do we take a chance to understand how people around us continue to harm us while claiming it wasn't their intention. Personally and professionally.

It also meant that I got to look inside and check where my intentions were and what my impact might be. It allowed me a great spot for where to lay my ego down. And it allowed me to choose me even as I realized some of my choices would mean that someone might not be happy. Not because I wasn't being a good person, but because I refused to give them what they wanted. I paid dearly for this. Sometimes, quite literally, with the withholding of U.S. currency or a contract leading to U.S. currency. My bank account is slimmer for it but I feel as if I've held on to my principles, my integrity and my self-respect.

Having my word be intentional this past year also meant failing. Because some days, I was running through the to do list, stressing about what wasn't getting done and generally not being intentional with my time. I'm still working on that. It's part of the reason one of my anchor words for 2019 is Balanced.

Generally speaking though, I enjoyed this word so much because it allowed me to not just work on myself but it really affected my relationships and put many of them in perspective. I'm clearer on who is around me. And who is not and cannot be.

Breaking news: therapy also helped gather me up. It was part of being intentional because I knew I had some things to work on that I could not do on my own.

This word brought me deeper into a faith that was, at least peripherally, part of my religious duality during childhood but which has taken center stage as I've become more intentional about my faith, my gifts and my intuition.

Intentional has prepared me for initiation into Lucumi as I take my place in the world. It is something that's 43 years in the making as it was told before my birth.

This year was a reminder of the intentions that were set before me by my ancestors. I am the culmination of intentions, prayers, predictions and love. There's a sense of responsibility there but mostly, gratitude. I'm grateful that my Eggun (ancestors) have stood by my side, guiding me while patiently waiting for me to get to this place.

I go into this year more aware of my power (anchor word for 2019: Empowered). Understanding more about my environment and the people, systems and tools needed to keep me on track (anchor word for 2019: Balanced). And leaving behind detractors and the negativity that I discovered laid just below the surface of so many relationships and situations (anchor word for 2019: Loved).

I have learned from setting intentions to give power to the word and claim it as if it already is.

My main word for this year is really tied to a passion project of mine but also, as I've meditated on the word, I've come to realize how that word applies to my personal and religious lives and how the choices I make, as well as the way I live and worship, will most definitely cause some type of shift. In others, in myself and in how I am seen. I'm okay with that.

In 2019, we Disrupt. Yes, I said we. Because my word this year will include all of you as well. As we grow together and hopefully as we disrupt together.


We have 363 days ahead of us, friends. What word will guide you through those days?