“Don’t wait for someone else to bring you flowers.
Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul.”
If I am being honest, there was definitely a time when the mention of the word intention conjured up mental images of a hippy dippy, space cadet-type person that spouted all kinds of super-spiritual jargon hardly rooted in reality. Fast-forward to the yoga teacher in me and intention is a word that frequents my vocabulary, and rightfully so, as intention-setting is such a powerful force in this world. (Too bad my younger self missed so many incredible intention-setting opportunities!)
I was well into my 30's before I realized the power of intention setting. As a yoga teacher my daily live revolves around intention. I am pretty sure my 13-year-old daughter thinks I am a little much as my advice to her is usually, “meditate on it”, “take deep breaths”, and “set intentions” as she navigates all the usual problems of middle school. As my offspring, it’s no wonder that she rolls her eyes, and mumbles under her breath, thinking I am too out of touch to understand her woes. Of course, her pre-teen brain doesn’t comprehend the power that I am trying to offer her. (Oh, the irony of parenthood; the universe gives us little people that are so much like us, we get to relive lessons, seeing them from different perspectives.)
The definition of Intention is an ‘aim or plan’. In our modern lives, our energy and attention is constantly pulled in many different directions, even as soon as we wake up in the morning. We live in a state of over-stimulation. In the morning, the alarm clock goes off, our email beckons our attention. There are big and little people that pull at our energy. We have jobs that need us. The news, traffic, social media, and everything else we come into contact occupy our time, energy, and focus. It is easy to get overwhelmed and lose sight of yourself and your soul’s callings in the midst.
Take a deep breath and imagine a life where there is a clear separation and distinction between where your energy is being pulled and where you choose to direct your energy. There is a big difference between the two. Intention is the action of elevating our essence and living deeply connected. The more trips I take around this sun, the more I feel called to step deeper into my truth, to live in alignment with my presence, and to honor my soul’s purpose. Maybe as you read this, you can relate to your own soul’s yearnings. The truth is we are all being invited to elevate our existence, to embody our truest essence. The best way to channel this energetic calling is to use the power of intention, because intention is the beginning of all transformation.
Let’s get playful and do a life analogy… If you plant a garden, you go to the local home improvement store or nursery, you put thought into what flowers, trees, and bushes to purchase. You would likely have a gardening blueprint in your mind of how you want the outcome of your planting to be. You do research on how much sunlight each plant needs, and this determines where in your yard you plant it. If you think of your life as a garden, do you take the same time and intention into planning or aiming how you want your life to be and feel? Do you know what you want your day, week, month or year to go? Do you have a plan or an aim that is rooted in the direction of your soul versus external status symbols, goals or aims, such as the job or the house or the money in the bank? (Which are all great things, but our soul of course demands more.)
Coming back this concept of intention, which is a highly focused mind state, Spring is the ideal time of year to get clear on what areas of in the garden of your life that you want to ‘tend to’ and ‘plant’ for the remainder of the year. Below is a list of things that outline a balanced sense of wellness.
1. Financial well-being
2. Physical vitality
4. Emotional health
5. Beloved relationships
8. Purposeful career (Making a career out of your enthusiasms)
9. Spiritual Practice
As you look at the list, there are probably right off the bat one or two things that you can identify as needing some attention and care. Maybe your health needs some attention. Perhaps you work all the time, yet your career doesn’t feel purposeful to you. Maybe you don’t have a creative outlet at the moment, or your beloved (closest and dearest) relationships are not getting as much of a focus as they currently need. The key is to be honest with yourself.
This is where the power of intention comes in so handy. Using the list above and your soul’s wisdom, identify one or two areas that could use some upkeep. If we come back to our garden analogy, be clear about what you hope to plant or update in your ‘garden’. If we try to focus on overhauling all areas of our life at once, it can become too much, we lose our aim and our power of intention.
How to create intention:
1. Take some time away from the busyness of life. Identify (honestly) where your life needs some tending to. Write down 1 to 3 things you would like to aim for. Be specific.
It is important to note that identifying what and where you would like to grow doesn’t mean that suddenly these things will manifest (although in some cases that might be possible). The idea is to direct your energy towards these aims. Your conscious and subconscious will then begin to operate in alignment with these focuses. See the examples below. Come up with your own that resonate with you.
I intend to have a purposeful career, embodying my truest presence, making money following my enthusiasms. (fulfilling career)
I intend to make mindful choices around food. (physical vitality)
I intend to heal my relationship with money. (financial well-being)
2. Create time in your schedule to revisit these intentions often. Ritualize your commitment to growth. This might seem like a luxurious and frivolous way to spend your time. I can hear you thinking, ugh, yea like I have time to add this to my ‘to-do’ list. Give yourself permission and the space for your self-development. Please. This can include meditation, prayer, journaling, etc.
3. Create a mantra around your intention(s). Mantras are affirmative statements. Because guess what? Thoughts and words are energy and have tremendous power. Try it.
I make a successful living in a way that is in harmony with soul, honoring my values, gifts, talents, and presence, being in service to the world. (fulfilling career)
I am healthy and vibrant, choosing to eat only when I need nourishment, making food choices that are healthy. (physical vitality)
I am worthy of making money for my contributions. (financial well-being)
4. As you create time and space to revisit your intentions, recognize that you are allowed to shift and adjust your intentions.
5. Keep your eyes on the prize! Let your energy be directed and redirected often back to your intentions, and your choices support those intentions, whatever that means to you! (books, classes, artwork, meditations, scheduling date nights, etc.)
In every moment, we all have the power of choice. Not taking action is a choice, as is intentional action. We have free will to choose to live our lives on autopilot, reacting to whatever shows up, or we can choose to direct our attention, energy, and focus. Living an aligned and connected existence that feels good, true, and purposeful life requires the latter. In his book The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho states, ‘When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.” As my 13-year-old would say, mockingly, “meditate on it, take deep breaths, and set intentions”. And proudly, I would whole-heartedly concur.