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Reflections from Kellie Kelly

As a reminder, I explore each month’s Soul Connections theme on my Twitter account (@kellieuukelly) using a hashtag (#) and the month’s theme (example: “#Identity”). For those of you who aren’t interested or able to sign up for a Twitter account, I include some of my favorite tweets here in our newsletter.

This month, we explore #Intention. What does it mean to be a community of #Intention?

When I first think of the word intention, I think of the power of naming our intentions. First, naming it myself means that I must move through swirling feelings and thoughts into clear words: what is it that I want to do?

As much as I hem and haw about writing, this first step of naming my intention always includes writing the intention down. I do this because it helps me give it a small amount of permanence. I can return to my intention if I forget the wording. I can post the words somewhere in my house so that they will remind me of my intention on days that I forget I even have one. I can use it when reflecting on my behavior: was my behavior supportive of my intention? Also, on bad days, I can remind myself of what I am working on to help me remain committed and motivated.

Finally, I share my intention with my friends, family, and coworkers. This final act is just as important as the first. Sharing it with others invites my community to help me remain accountable to my intention. My intention is no longer something that I can crumple into a ball of paper and recycle.

I went through this process at my seminary in August. The faculty asked us to identify one skill that we wanted to strengthen in the upcoming school year to help our congregations dismantle white supremacy culture. By doing this, the faculty named a large collective intention for us and then asked us each to name a smaller intention for ourselves that would support this bigger intention (help our congregations dismantle white supremacy culture). The faculty also asked us to share our personal intention with a partner who would become our accountability partner for the year, both in class and outside of class.

I quickly knew what I wanted to name as my personal intention: strengthening my conflict management skills. Because of the intention I named, I made a beeline to one of my social justice heroes, right relations experts, classmates, and friends. I selected my accountability partners because they deal with conflict well and are not afraid of it. I then asked myself how I could make my intention even more specific, actionable, and concrete. I named that my intention is to strengthen my conflict management skills by dealing with conflict directly and in a short timeframe.

Since August, the faculty has provided multiple opportunities for us to explore our intentions, and my partner and I have sought out additional opportunities. As I mentioned earlier, I find sharing my intention with others increases my success because it increases my accountability. So I also shared my intention with my teaching pastor, Rev. Emily, and my internship committee.

Naming our intentions has power.

What intention would you like to name in 2018? Who can you share your intention with to help increase your accountability and success?

May naming your intention bring us closer to a world with equality, equity, and justice for all!

With gratitude, Kellie