A Bright and Bountiful Twenty Ten to you!
Now that we have settled into the New Year and our ambitious resolutions have settled down, I thought it time to write about the practice of intention. Because resolutions are humbling creatures, leveling us to our humanity within two weeks. Oh ya, it really IS that challenging to: get organized, make more money, lose weight, exercise more, get a hold on those addictions and get up at 5:30am like we said we would! Even when we really want to make something happen, and the very quality of our very lives is being compromised, we still are sometimes unable to get to a place that feels like we have arrived. So, I want to share thoughts on one of the simplest, most powerful practices each of us has within our power: Intention.
Before I go on, I want to remind you of something. Feeling guilty and like a loser for not doing what you said you would, is not inspiring. Be suspicious of feelings that induce shame instead of possibility. I am all for taking responsibility for what we are falling down on – however – when we take responsibility and repent where we need to – we should feel hope and possibility – not self doom.
Living With Intention
We can bring meaning to everything we do. If anyone is looking for a change, a shift, a new way of living in their lives and in their bodies – intentional living is an immediate, palpable, phenomenal possibility! It sounds so simple, and the crazy thing is, that it actually is somewhat simple. Intention may not seem like the hottest new topic. Setting an intention may seem like kindergarten for the enlightened, but life without intention, is rather grim.
While researching the word intention, I found that the latin root, intentio means to stretch or purpose. I also found that definition three of intention was: MEDICINE: The healing process of a wound. Interesting, considering that to bring intention into our daily lives, would indeed be a healing process of a wound, several wounds in fact – apathy, despondency, self loathing, lack of inspiration, slothfulness, greed, disorganization – to name a few.
The kind of intention I am speaking of is mindful awareness of how we live in our lives. I am not writing about getting what we want through a certain kind of thinking, nor am I speaking about manifestation. This is a gentle, beginnner’s mind exploration of being actively present – showing up in our lives.
Living with intention is being mindful in who we are being and what we are creating.
How can intention bring healing?
Intention is a way we think about what we are doing and who we are being. It is a headset and a heartset, that can transform every single day we have – regardless of circumstance. Whether our challenges are economic or financial or relationship or health – or all of them combined, intention is an IMMEDIATE way to begin to bring not just healing, but an actual sense of relief. Relief because when we bring MEANING to our actions, however mundane, we become an active participant in the unfolding of our lives.
I want to happen TO LIFE, not have life happen to me.
I choose to have life be a sacred path, not a daily grind.
How is intention a sacred path?
There is so much in life that feels like a daily grind, that feels ordinary, necessary, mediocre – and you know what? It kind of is. But when we take an interest in it, and choose to be different about it, and to see the beauty in it, and be mindful about it, even standing in line can be an experience worth having, Even ironing a shirt can be satisfying, Even washing the dishes can be enlightening. Even paying the bills can be an experience in being bountiful in the face of fear. Even dusting. Yes, even dusting can be a metaphor for putting our mind in order.
Living with intention changes the very “fabric” of our lives. When we make choices that are harmful for us or others or earth, that weave gets interrupted, knotted and sometimes even torn. When we contribute and participate, instead of fighting against that pattern which holds us and loves us, something magical happens, we feel a sense of rightness, of alignment with purpose, we contribute to the integrity of the weave. Awareness of being able to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. This experience, a sensation of belonging to this time and place, becomes possible, even for moments at a time.
We can contribute to the unfolding of life through our participation, or we can resist and cause havoc for ourselves or others. What’s it gonna be?
Intention and Will
Those, like myself who believe in a Divine Creator, pray for the will of Creator to be done, and that our will lines up with that, and not the other way around. I don’t ask for what I want – I ask for God’s will for my life, and then do the work I can to show up and be present for that – doing the human part. Watching for openings, listening to my heart, letting my conscience speak, looking for where things line up. Sure, I have hopes that something will go one way or another, but really and truly, I know that the Beloved knows my needs and my life path better than I do since they made it for me, and so I trust that if I pray and do my part, what happens is God’s will for my life. On the good days, that is what I believe. On the bad days, none of what I am saying makes sense. So, I just wait it out, pray it in, or paint and write poetry until I see the light again.
Being intentional about my actions puts me in a place of heartfelt alignment and listening, a kind of intuitive awareness that keeps me alert to life. How do I know what to manifest for my life without asking God to guide it? Our lives are clear records that when we force something to happen because we want it – instead of “waiting on God”, there is wreckage to clean up. We could say that was all on purpose and make it a tool for healing and hopefully we do. But what if we are getting in our own way more than we need to.
In the old gospel church where I used to go, the Preacher, with sweat pouring of his brow would proclaim: God saved you from something, for something. You think your life is hard now, you have no idea what God has already saved you from.” We can get in the way through putting what we think we want, in front of what is really right for us. And we don’t always know. Since we have free will, we can go ahead and cause it to occur, but we may be able to preven harm to ourselves and others if we trusted God to be at work in our lives.
Through living with intention our lives can be powerful even amidst some of the most challenging circumstances.
Mindful Moment by Moment
When you are driving you can have the intention of ‘moving toward being loving’, and be praying for others in your life, even out loud. When you are washing the dishes you can think of ways you did not do what you said, or failed and you can be “cleaning it up” as you wash. When you drink water, you can say to your body; “I am caring for you, thank you for caring for me. I am renewed. When you eat food, you can say: This food is nourishing me, my body is intelligent and uses what it needs. When you are walking you can say “with each step, I am bringing more peace into my life and the world. When you are sitting with your loved ones, you can say “I choose to radiate loving kindness”. Before meetings, and at work, you can choose how you are going to show up. When you garden, you can wish for food for all people. The possibilities are endless! You know this stuff! And you can make this stuff up by the handful, just try it, and keep trying it until it is natural to you. It will become natural, it really will. A day lived with intention, is a much funner and fulfilling day. A life lived with intention, is a much funner, more fulfilling life!
Living With Intention Creative Practice for 2010
Utilizing the Right Brain and Left Brain to Live with Intention
1. What is the theme word of your year? Choose a word or phrase. It may be something you think you need more of, or an antidote to something that happened last year. What are you working towards, what gives you joy, where is work needed?
2. What is an image you can associate with that theme? Close your eyes and see it, what are the colors? the shapes?
3. What is a sound that you hear when you see that image? Keep eyes closed and listen. Feel the atmosphere around the image and listen. Is there also a scent or a flavor?
4, What is the “feeling” you have in your body and heart when you think, see and hear your theme word? The feeling should be what you hope to feel from working with that theme word!
The theme or word of your year will serve as a verbal and visual lens through which to view life. To objective is to remember that you chose a word throughout your day, and to continue to use it as a tool for self illumination and action.
My word this year is WISDOM and my image is a Tree of Life at early first light, the tree is glowing and is a silouette. There are sparkling lights on it that at once seem like blossoms, and then like stars. I use this as a tool in my sacred toolbox, in each situation I ask: how do I view this through the lens of wisdom? And yes I summon the image, the sound, and the feeling, and move from there. Once you get practiced, this all happens in a flash, in a second, and so it will be easy and natural to use this method.
It is best to summon it each morning – before you begin your day – so you are ready for action. And if you are really into this, write a poem about your theme, or a prayer to God about it, or paint a picture of it, or draw it, or make an altar about it.
Affirmations about your intention can support you!
Here is an affirmation very much like what I used to remind myself that I am choosing to live with intention.
I am mindful of what I set my hand to~
I am mindful of what I set my heart to~
I am creative~I am grateful~ I am loved~