Archive for January 22nd, 2007

Message from the Managing Editor: Paradise x 4 in 2007

sage.gifBy Sage Cohen

Welcome to 2007!

Let’s start the New Year with our eyes on the writing and publishing prize, shall we?

By now, you have probably made your list of resolutions for everything you plan to do better this year. I’d like to propose that we replace the concept of resolutions (which suggests that we’ve been naughty, and now it’s time to be nice) with the concept of intentions (which suggests that we have the capacity to materialize what we visualize).
Intentions are along the lines of a mental snapshot of a desired end result. Here are a few examples. In
2007, I intend to:

  • Place three feature articles
  • Complete my book proposal
  • Attend two writing conferences
  • Establish a blog that will reinforce my platform
  • Wake up at 5 a.m. and write for two hours every day before work

You get the idea. (Or, you can read Wayne W. Dyer’s The Power of Intention if you’d like to learn more.) Now, here’s the hitch. We must not, under any circumstances, think about all the reasons these intentions might not be possible.

Jack Canfield, co-founder of the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, advises that once we target a goal or intention, it’s important not to trip ourselves up by immediately trying to figure out how we’ll get there. The formula he recommends is simple:

  1. Clearly articulate where we’re headed
  2. Unplug the mind and the ego from the question of “how to make it happen”
  3. Listen for our inner wisdom, and let our intuitive navigation systems take us there

Canfield uses the metaphor of driving from New York to California. We don’t have to perceive the entire trajectory from start to finish; we can make it across the country seeing only 200 yards in front of us at a time.

Dave Ellis, author of Falling Awake: Creating the Life of Your Dreams, suggests that when setting intentions, we set our sights on “Paradise X 4.” He argues that since we are typically able to achieve 25% of our intentions, we would ultimately arrive in Paradise.
I tried this myself. At the beginning of 2006, I spent a few hours visualizing the year. I wrote a long list of writing––and life––goals (some more grandiose than others), and then filed them away. This week, I revisited the list and was stunned to discover that I’ve achieved nearly 90% of my goals. Even a few of the wildest ones. Welcome to Paradise!
Does any of this sound a little far out? Maybe it is. Or maybe it’s not. You won’t know until you try.

Sage Cohen is the author of Writing the Life Poetic, a creative companion for poets forthcoming from Writer’s Digest Books, and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World. Her poetry and essays appear in journals and anthologies including Oregon Literary Review, Cup of Comfort for Writers, Greater Good and VoiceCatcher. In 2006, she won first prize in the Ghost Road Press annual poetry contest. Sage holds an MA in creative writing from New York University where she was awarded a New York Times Foundation fellowship. For organizations including Writers on the Rise and Willamette Writers, Sage teaches poetry writing and publishing workshops. Visit Sage at

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