Because I’m a believer that we teach that which we most need to learn, I’ve been paying attention to what comes up as I work with my beloved, ah-may-zing and soulful clients. Lately, it’s been about intention.
Intention feels like the solution to a number of thorny issues I’ve been dealing with, many of which are about what to do next. I have come to the realization that before I know what to do, I have to be clear about how I want to be. It takes the pressure off, and I’m big on removing the assorted metaphorical creatures (mostly rhinos, capybaras and polar bears) that take up residence—pressing on my head, bearing down on my shoulders or crushing my chest when I’m believing things that aren’t true. Like, “I have to write two thousand words a day,” or “My practice should be much bigger by now,” or any of a thousand other insidious, negative, monkey-minded thoughts that sneak into my head on a daily basis.
I can do the thought work I learned from Martha Beck and Byron Katie, which is infinitely helpful in identifying painful thoughts that aren’t true, but I’ve come to understand that I first need to articulate why it’s important for me to untangle the thoughts that cause me suffering and stand in my way. Since intentions are all about how I want to move through the world, and how (and who) I want to be, I figure it’s a good idea to go back to this very basic practice to see how it changes things up.
So this week, I have an intention journal on my nightstand. Before I spring out of bed each morning, I’ll consider how I want to feel.
Today’s intentional feeling state is “confident in my connection to my life’s purpose.” I’ll let that guide me throughout the day, and notice how often I do things that bring me more of that feeling. So far, I have
- helped a magical healer,
- coached a generous contributor to the world,
- watched hummingbirds remind me of the beauty of being fully what I am,
- written this bit of inspiration to share with you,
- rubbed a puppy’s belly,
- talked to her teenaged owner about our shared circumstance (we are both wearing AirCasts for ankle injuries),
- consoled two dear friends who are experiencing difficult moments in their lives, and
- eaten lunch under a tree with my husband.
All of that, and it’s only 2:30 in the afternoon. By tonight I anticipate having a long list of examples that describe the ways in which my intentional feeling state helped me notice how connected I am to my purpose, whether or not I write another word, welcome another client to my practice, or take in more of the sweetness of belonging to the beauty and mystery of this life. Setting the intention has already transformed my day, bringing my attention to all that energizes and sustains me—those same things for which I’ll feel grateful tonight.
If you’d like to join me in this experiment of Returning to Intention, and re-connect to the feeling states you’d most like to feel, download a month’s worth of Intention Journal pages here. If you’d like to join a community of like-minded, lovely, soulful and kind people, comment below and I’ll invite you to join my private invitation-only Facebook group “InsightOut Life,” where you can post your experiences with intention-setting practice, ask questions, and find a supportive tribe.