Intention is usually thought to be a goal or purpose, yet that’s not what I mean with the use of the word.
I imagine us as artists who influence our lives with the paintbrushes and colors of our energy, outlook, desires, and attitude toward our role in the creating (our life) process. Whether aware of it or not, creating is always happening with us – not to us and not without us.
And so, if I had to define (or declare) intention in some way to translate how my heart, mind and body co-exist to you, here is what I’d want to communicate:
Intention is something far more meaningful than the achievement of a goal or purpose. Used with sincerity, intention is an exercise or practice in awareness; a projection of soul qualities and energy from within that creates, finds, and matches soul energy outside of you.
(But there’s more … )
The tricky part of this tool (for it to be useful) is to refrain from assigning strict judgment to what you are experiencing – thinking that your experience is you (e.g. you’re a good person one minute and not the next) rather than experiencing your experience. Because then you miss what’s really happening. And that is the proverbial what is.
(Stay with me … I’ll make this practical and I’ll tell you stories).
Sounds pretty airy fairy, wishy washy, nebulous huh?
And I guess it would until exhaustion sets in. Because it can get really exhausting to try and make everything that you want happen all by yourself (just thinking about all the people and things that you have to control makes me tired). Especially when you’re also trying to simultaneously fend yourself off from all the things that you don’t want to have happen (nap time).
However, I’m not suggesting that you just believe me or trust me about intention.
Intention isn’t like that. It requires more reverence than that. More sincere engagement than that.
It’s something that you (must) experience for yourself when you are wanting your life to feel closer to your own (joyful) nature because you want to engage your true desires (not the ones you were socialized to have in the way that you were socialized to believe things have to happen). This is when it’s time to don your trust and curiosity in the world around you once again.
So, it’s time to get practical. If you’ve been looking for a way to experience intention for yourself, to invoke the everyday magic of the Universe through you, here are three ways to do that in everyday situations (that might surprise you or even blow your mind) –
1. How would you like your day to go?
Wake up in the morning. Still your mind of thought as you lie in bed before rising. Just for a moment. Now decide: What kind of day would you like to have? Sincerely.
You can, of course, choose to have a less than stellar day, that’s totally up to you, but you can also choose to have a day that inspires you or one that feels harmonious. You choose. That’s it. Now, get out of bed and begin your day. The one that you decided to have.
One morning a disbelieving client did just this and decided that it was going to be a “busy” day (she said that’s what came to her, so she decided to go with it). She was shocked because she literally ran all over town for work after days of ‘nothing happening’ – pooped from last minute appointment after last minute appointment showing up all day.
She certainly accepted her role because she made her decision intentionally conscious. And then she decided to start choosing differently now that she knew she had a choice in how her day would go.
2. How would like this conversation to go?
Before heading into a conversation that feels meaningful to you (whether it’s to ask for a raise, request time off work, a performance review conversation, or to quit a job) decide on an intention – what experience would you like to have maintained in your cells?
A client once wanted to take a summer off from his regular city job because he wanted to be a Park Ranger in a remote location (think bears, no electricity, and lots of hiking). He didn’t anticipate that his employer would be happy that he wanted to take the summer off because it was their busy season, but he still wanted to ask. Regardless of the outcome, he decided that his intention was cooperation. He wouldn’t fret over what he would say exactly. He just decided to allow the intention of cooperation to speak for him (that’s how he explained it). His job in the conversation was to just be concerned with creating an environment that was experienced as cooperative in his cells and in the air he breathed.
Even he was shocked when he came away with permission and blessings to do something “extraordinary that was a once in a lifetime opportunity that had to be supported even though the timing wasn’t ideal because it’s every boy’s dream.”
Holy job bliss.
3. How would you like to fall in love?
Write a list of 100 things that you would like to have in an ideal (intimate) relationship. Sounds like a lot, but it’s not. Some of the things will be non-negotiable, while others will be “nice to have, but not required.” No matter, just write the list and make sure each item is genuinely expressed. If you get stuck, use your bad experiences and flip them to speak in terms of what you want (what’s the opposite of what you don’t want). When you are complete, put the list away. Don’t tell anyone about it (unless you trust them with your life and they pinky swear). And if you get more clarity on what you want from experience, revise the list as necessary until it feels good to leave it alone to do its’ work.
(My) incredible story:
In 2007, I ended a relationship that you can read about, if you like, here. Shortly after I had read about this particular exercise and decided to do it.
I was very disappointed at the time that things didn’t work out the way that I thought they should in the relationship that I had let go of. But I was also relieved to let go of something that felt like so much work since I had to stay the same to keep it going. I knew that one day I’d be in a relationship again. It’s inevitable when you’re an eternal romantic like me. Except next time I wanted it to be a completely different experience than what I had been accustomed to in the past.
To make that happen, I decided to be really present to all that I had learned from my past relationship experiences. I decided to use that information to inform myself of what would feel satisfying and closest to my nature.
I started to write my list and by the time I got to number 48, I realized that there was one person, someone with whom I had a long standing friendship and a hint of spark with, that met my criteria but who I didn’t think would be interested in a relationship with me. He’d just seen me almost, but not quite get married. He’d just seen me at my worst. Up close and very personal. I was terrified to be interested in him because he was such a dear friend. I didn’t want to ruin our existing connection.
So, I decided very consciously that item number 49 would be something that was imperative in a relationship to me that I knew he didn’t possess. And then I continued to make my way to 100 things content knowing that my friend was no longer an option. The man of my dreams, so to speak, couldn’t possibly be this friend.
It felt good to have this kind of clarity because I trusted myself for having committed to what was of imperative value to me in a relationship along with “some nice to have” stuff. I could put finding a relationship out of my mind because now that I had articulated what I wanted and mined for the wisdom from the past, I knew that anything less would just never satisfy.
A couple of months later, him (the friend I mentioned) and I were walking on a beach when he said to me, “I’d really like to learn how to be a more compassionate communicator. Especially with you.”
“Well, why would you want to do that? Isn’t everything fine the way it is?” (This is so classic me when I’m struggling to acknowledge reality).
“Okay … are you okay?” he asks and then continues because I don’t answer, “Anyways, I thought it would make life feel more peaceful. I’d like to practice that with you if you’d stop acting so weird. I’d like to start now because obviously it’s needed. So, how come you won’t look at me?”
I couldn’t look at him. I looked out towards the ocean instead in disbelief. It was the one thing on my list that made it certain he wasn’t a possibility. He never, ever says things like this. This is impossible!
But I could no longer deny the attraction; the friendship connection combined with a sincere willingness to grow together with our relationship as a conscious platform for inner growth (also a list item).
And so we (ad)ventured into romance after four years of friendship.
And on June 16, 2013 (less than a week ago) Daniel asked me to share my life with him, more permanently in marital bliss. I said “yes.”
Sincere intention is why my list worked, so if you make one, it will work too. It’s playing in the deep (read: sincere) end of the life and explained here in greater detail for you. Just in case you want to be more intentional about your life.
Because with intention, life isn’t a hardship, it’s truly a wonder.
“The Declaration of You” is a book out this summer about what it really means to discover your unique gifts and how to use them so that you can feel lovely in your life (doing the things that actually mean something to you). To help celebrate (and to add in my own two cents … okay, maybe it was more) I’m part of the book’s BlogLovin’ Tour. This post is a contribution united with the contribution of over 100 other bloggers who are into life as a creative endeavour. Learn more, see more and join in here.
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