Rather than make New Year’s resolutions, each year I select a single word to focus on in the upcoming year. In 2017 my focus word is Sankalpa—a Sanskrit word that means determination; a practical step to harness willpower. With this resolve I’m going to plant, cultivate, and and nurture three seeds:

HOPE — optimism, joyful expectation

GRACE — the immediate presence of spirit, be the change

PEACE — reconciliation, unity

My practical and idealogical steps to ensure a good harvest include exercising intentional kindness. To build up, not tear down. To unite, not divide. To accept, not merely tolerate. To be better informed. To be transparent and vulnerable, not guarded and closed. And to actively listen, not passively hear what people with opposing viewpoints have to share.

Do you have a focus word this year?


85 thoughts on “Sankalpa

  1. A fabulous word. My words for this year are kindness, strength and curiosity. (I´m not good at picking just one word) Have an inspiring New Year, Laurie.

  2. I love your resolution, Laurie, and I am certain you will succeed, although I have the feeling you have been doing all that for a while now.
    I like the word determination and self-motivation: it’s the only way forward. All the best!.💖

  3. Laurie, your new word for the year is very inspiring, one that I should adopt myself. This year should be one without the insecurities and doubts that I entertained last year. I am hoping this will be my “Go” year, the one when I quit mulling over plans and options, thinking things through…through thick and through thin until I’ve worn holes in them. The year of Go when I can point myself in a direction and then confidently leave the station, hitting the road whether it be taking up a new hobby, exercise program or as I am doing this morning, heading out to the airport in Atlanta to board a flight back to California. I wish you well with your seeds and hope they flourish and thrive! Happy New Year!

  4. I love your word and seeds. I don’t make resolutions or pick a particular word for the year. I hope to keep hope in this troubling new year, to work for peace, to resist and protest tyranny in my small way, and to love to the fullest of my being.

  5. Your seeds are already sprouting, devoting sacred time to develop your next book. I’d say that’s determination, Laurie.

    I don’t make resolutions for the new year any more. Instead I call them aspirations, less punitive-sounding and more hopeful, don’t you think?

    Tomorrow I reveal my focus word. Stay tuned!

  6. Have a great 2017 Laurie…I love the word and what you to aspire to…Do I have a word.?.No. I generally don’t make New Year resolutions anymore. I just want to show love where and when I can and smile and hope that smile is infectious…:)

  7. Yours is an intelligent, honorable word. Your seeds are the kind that I would love to see sown throughout the year. My choices for the new year are not yet clear. Maybe next week.

  8. Sankalpa resonates as a power-filled energy word and the description inspiring! May we all find peace, grace, and hope in the year ahead. My intention, as I likely mentioned before here is “fierce compassion.” Compassion for self and others and a fierce re-commitment to being both witness and activist for social justice. It is more than a resolution; it is a vow.

  9. A few years ago, you introduced me to this practice, Laurie. And I’ve been grateful ever since. My focus words this year are ‘keeping on’ — as I feel the path I’m following is taking me where I want to be.
    I have no doubt you will maintain your focus, Laurie–as the words you’ve chosen resonate within me when I visit your blog every Tuesday.

  10. Best wishes for manifesting these words full of passion and promise. I’ve been pondering what word to pick and your definition of grace nails it for me. I’m going for a phrase rather than a word: Be the change … That phrase embodies all the other words like listening, understanding, compassion, love, bridge building and more. Thanks for the spark.

  11. I need to keep working on HEALING and a full recovery from my fall in 2015. I loved your word and explanations this morning and they truly resonated with me and made me think. I seem to have started the year with the word RESISTANCE popping up in my face and actions, which is requiring a great deal of journal writing. I am not even doing my new years cleaning and gleaning, which I find a very satisfying endeavor. Dis-heartened is a word which also surfaces. I want to not do the same old same old – I just want to get results that are beneficial

  12. Great word Laurie! My word for the year has yet to reveal itself fully. But I do have an intention that I want to hold for the year and it is one that was gifted to me on your facebook post – Do small things with great LOVE. Somehow this statement just rang bone deep when I read it. I thought, this I can do with grace and abundance. If I only end up with these few words to guide me in 2017, it will be more than enough!

  13. Great word, Laurie. My word is PAUSE, something I need to do so that I don’t insert foot in mouth. I thought I had learned that lesson but things crop up when they need a redo! Happy New Year!

  14. I’m considering going with the word REFLECTION. To be interpreted in multiple ways; reflect to others what their words have shared, reflect on wisdom found along your pathway, reflect the smiles that we share with one another, reflect in fluid motion so as to adapt my opinions and ideas, allowing for growth. I tend to lean towards words that can be interpreted in many ways, but then again, I suppose that could be said for just about any word that exists in the world. Hmmm, might need to reflect on that one. Will have to sit with this one a bit and see if it sticks.

  15. Oh, I like your idea of choosing one work instead of a long list of resolutions. Your word and seeds would be good for all. If I had to choose a word for 2017 to focus on, it would be love which involves your peace, hope and grace. Or I might choose day (simple words for me!) which to me would mean focus on each day to do my best. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. I like that word Sankalpa Laurie.

    I’ve been nurturing roots for over 40 years, time to get some fruit from this vine.

    My focuses are centered on the universal values of life and liberty.

    For me that involves many different threads:
    acknowledging the extremely complex and multi-leveled biological and social contexts in which we find ourselves;
    spreading an understanding of the fundamental role of cooperation in the evolution of complexity;
    like you, going beyond mere tolerance of diversity and even beyond acceptance towards a universal embracing of diversity, and the strength, joy and interest one finds there if one is in a cooperative context;
    spreading an understanding that our current market based economic system is founded on scarcity, yet we now have the technology to deliver exponentially expanding abundance, so we need to transition our systems beyond markets and money, and the poverty implicit in the very core of market values.

    So if I have one word for this year – it must be ABUNDANCE!

    • Ted — ABUNDANCE. That word suits your focus beautifully!

      I was particularly drawn to, “…going beyond mere tolerance of diversity and even beyond acceptance towards a universal embracing of diversity.”

      Yes, indeed! 🙂

  17. I can think of many but would you mind terribly if I stole yours…SANKALPA 🌈🌈hope , grace and peace . I’m planting my seeds with or without your permission.
    Can’t wait to hear about your adventure next week .

  18. I don’t make resolutions but a wors to focus on is a great idea. I think mine will have to be hope. It’s easily lost and, being the one thing that remained in Panora’s box, an important gift to the world.

  19. Winter season brings me blue, so this winter I’m trying to be “cheerful,” which will last till May 2017. How? Reading more good books and Blog posts like yours are two things of several project in my mind.

  20. What beautiful words, Laurie, especially after the contentious year that just happened. Thank you for your love for people and your commitment to accept, not just tolerate.

  21. Great post, as always, Laurie. My word for last year was “enough.” Then, you asked me to beta read your Note to Self and I struggled to not put into practice anything new. I was, simply, enough, already (it was hard to continue in that vein). My word for 2017? VIGILANCE. And, knowing how exhausting continued vigilance is, your numerous self-support ideas in Note to Self will now come in particularly handy). Thank you. Good timing, heh?

  22. I saw that word and first thought you were about to give us a one of kind Middle Eastern recipe! My focus this year is going to be on……..wait for it………still waiting………Getting Married and Sloane!

  23. What a beautiful choice. Love that word. I do have a focus word this year (as I don’t do resolutions). There are so many wonderful words to choose from but mine this year must be “accept”. So there it is. 🙂 Happy New Year.

  24. I don’t have a specific word and I’ve probably shared this before (maybe last year) but I do not make resolutions. I choose to weed negativity out of my life and last year was a great year until the end of August when so much negative was cast into this world because of a difference in opinions over politics. I had a hard time separating the pure hatred, personal attacks and negativity from close friends and family members who did not share the same political views with one another. Sadly, I have removed quite a few of them from my facebook feeds and will miss seeing their pictures with their children and following along on their normally happy trails but inside, I feel much more peace! I am going to continue that throughout the year removing anything that rattles the inner peace I feel and focusing on the happiness and positive things in our daily lives. Tina

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