I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to get lazy with life, making unconscious choices. It’s easy to slip from one day to the next. I get tired or bored so a Saturday winds up full of binging on popcorn and Netflix instead of getting on the water taking in the elements and feeling my muscles flex. The pull towards the couch is real, even though the ocean makes me much happier.
If you’re lucky there’s a moment where the stakes are clear. For me it happened when life crumbled at my feet. There wasn’t a single aspect of it that wasn’t decimated wildly and violently. The death of my only biological daughter Alison was only the first (and most significant) domino initiating a chain of losses at every level.
The first few months I stumbled through a haze. I woke up Friday morning with one thought ricocheting through my whole body. It was real; Alison was still dead. There was no escaping it. Each subsequent thought was a variation on the same theme. I skipped breakfast, but forced myself to eat lunch. My stomach remained twisted in perpetual knots. Totally depleted, I laid my head down at the end of the long day of doing virtually nothing. I knew sleep would be elusive. If and when it came, it’d be brief. I’d wake up Saturday certain it’d be a carbon copy of Friday. It didn’t matter if it was Monday, Thursday, or Saturday. My only intention was to stay alive.
Many days I yearned to drown in the oblivion of my profound grief, overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of rebuilding a life for myself. Fortunately, I eventually chose to face the heart crushing suffocating pain head on because I wanted to feel good. I needed to know amazing and beautiful things would blossom from my loss. I yearned for joy and purpose.
I fear where my life would’ve ended up if I hadn’t had that clear intention. It set the plumb line, keeping me on course.
Similarly, you may be emerging from your haze of hibernating and flailing… of desperately searching for anything to keep afloat after life altering loss or shifts. Perhaps you’re ready to ponder feeling good and growing something positive in you life. What you would help is clarity, direction, and motivation to take the next steps.
Consciously setting an intention helps inoculate you from the many unconscious and well worn paths you follow, which don’t actually move you in the direction you’ve determined you want to go.
By being aware of why you’re doing the work and what you hope to gain, will set the tone for the rest of your current journey.
I’d like to offer an outline of an activity that’s helped others. It will guide you in setting your intention for whatever it is you’re focusing on in your life right now.
In Setting Your Intention you can:
Discover your intention by:
Reflecting on your journey from the beginning of the situation/trial/etc. you are addressing through to the present moment:
- Ask yourself – then answer why and what questions
- Finish the sentence: “I will feel I’ve achieved success when… “
If an answer doesn’t surface, get curious and try:
- Doing a ten minute free write where your pen doesn’t leave the page
- A hands on activity thumbing through images and words in magazines or online (Pinterest tends to be great for this)
Finally, create an Intention Card (similar to a vision board) with images and words which represent your intention. Keep it some place visible and refer to often.
Setting my intention launched me towards my current life. It’s unrecognizable from what I’d dreamed of as a child, but I feel consistently good. I follow my joy and purpose daily and I still use intention setting frequently.
There are still moments, and even days where I deviate from the path I’ve set. They are times when I let the concerns of the day creep in and sometimes even overwhelm. However, I feel it when I’m not headed in the direction I want. It doesn’t feel good and I circle back to my broader intention for myself.
Well thought out intentions produce results. The work I do currently is the culmination of my personal intention to grow something beautiful out of tragedy and the intention to empower others to live their own joy and purpose filled lives.