I found myself speaking with a colleague about the importance of being intentional with our intentions. Hold up. What does that mean exactly?
If I am setting an intention, isn't that being intentional?
With so many buzz words relating to mindfulness, I'm curious. Isn't the purpose of mindfulness to create spaciousness, to calm and NOT engage in thoughts. As I overthink this, I imagine others overthink intentionality too. Let's unpack this.
What are Intentions?
What is an intention? There are so many spins. My take comes from a multitude of studies and people. My amazing coach Krista from Women in Dharma really broke it down for me and then of course, I modified it to give it my own flavour. When I say it as simply as possible, an intention is the energy I bring to a situation. It's both a starting point and the energy I intentionally give throughout that situation. Some of my intentions are for life while others just for a day, an hour, a conversation, etc.
In other words, aligning with the Law of Karma or cause and effect, I want to be sure that what I put out is a reflection of how I want to be in and impact the world around me. This means making a clear choice and checking in with my heart and my intuition. Does this feel "right" in my body? If so, I'm on track. If not, what can I choose to modify?
My intention for life is to lead with love. This is simultaneously challenging and simple, and it requires presence and attention. Not always easy. People trigger me all the time. It's so easy to point the finger and blame and the simple answer is to go inwards and come back to love. The challenge is to determine what is uncomfortable about this trigger and what I might stretch and grow. Simple but not easy. I've certainly lost my cool and my patience on multiple occasions. That's when it's especially challenging to love myself. If I can love myself in those moments, I can certainly love others when I don't like or find myself judging what they are doing.
Expectations Ruin Experiences
When looking to send out love, I must also send love inwards to sustain my energy and my joy. Visiting a vineyard last summer with my uncle that was off a gravel road called Edge of the Earth, I'll never forget what our delightful hostess said to us. We arrived at a home and puzzled, we asked, "are we in the right place?" First off, I know I'm always exactly where I'm meant to be. She simply said, "yes. And expectations ruin experiences." We laughed and immediately dropped any preconceived notions of what a winery "should be" and opened our hearts and mind to the experience. We had an incredible time and the uniqueness of the experience made it so memorable, so joyful.
What I learned that day was so rich. The simple joy of being welcomed into someone's home where they happen to also run a business was so heartwarming. Being with my uncle, riding around in his Miata with the roof down was exhilarating, simply driving around, wind in my hair, classic rock in the background. Simply being the observer while opening myself to experiences with a sense of wonder makes me so happy. When "big mind" transcends "little mind" and I let go of expectations, my joy is abundant.
I've visited many Okanagan vineyards and tasted more wines than I care to admit. Edge of the Earth is one I'll never forget.
We Determine What Matters
Each of us decides what matters to us. Sometimes, we forget that this is choice. I can often be heard saying, "small things matter." While I may say this to other people, what I'm really saying is they matter to me. Being aware of this allows me to immerse myself more deeply into my experiences, and as a result, deeper into bliss.
Small things on my list include:
finding a delightful independent coffee shop, like Old Crow, while out on a stroll
closing my eyes and standing in Mountain Pose while facing up towards the sun
re-listening to a sweet, saved voicemail from a loved one
exchanging a real smile with a stranger
sharing time and conversation with loved ones
pretending that cats are people and sharing with other cat people what the cats are saying
smelling the sweetness of fresh fruits while grocery shopping
gazing at the ocean
What's on your list?
What I'm interested in offering is a few moments of getting real with yourself to connect with what makes your heart sing. Whether that's via journalling, spoken word, or simply reading and sitting in contemplation, do what feels like a resounding "YES" in your body. Take a few moments to go through these questions.
What, if any, intentions have you currently set?
How well do those intentions serve/reflect how you wish to impact the world? In general? This year/month/week? Today?
What are 3 things you can do to ensure your energy is abundant, so you may continue to live through your intention(s)?
Write down 1 thing you do that brings joy to others. Put this celebration of wonder-full you on your mirror or in your pocket and read it often.
Sending you love.