Intention is more powerful when it is about becoming instead of about doing
In the work I do helping people navigate life’s challenges, I often talk about “personal intersections,” those moments when you come to an intellectual, spiritual, or emotional crossroads, and are faced with making some decisions.
Intersections are both big and small and occur all day, all throughout life. Major ones, such as those involving relationships, child-rearing, personal crises, career paths and educational possibilities require much of us. Sometimes they demand the use of all our coping skills and inner resources, conversations with loved ones, quiet time for reflection and meditation. Sometimes all of the above.
Then there are minor ones that we usually resolve without a lot of difficulty or conscious thought. These might look like, oh, where to go for dinner. Or, shall I pick up the dry cleaning on the way to the bank? Do I have time for the gym? Shall I call my folks today?
What’s interesting about life’s intersections is that they reflect our level of mindfulness: the degree to which we are deliberately aware, showing us which issues receive our attention and which don’t. What would it be like to be more conscious and present for all of your life, not just for the attention-getting moments of grand happiness or painful despair? Not only for the roller coaster, but for the sweet, calm sailing as well?
So how does intention affect these personal intersections?
Let’s start here: Intention is most powerful when it is more about becoming, less about doing.
To help wrap your mind around this you might ask yourself, what part of who I am—or who I wish to be—is due for some mindful attention, is ready for some change, some growth? My body, my spirituality, my psychological well-being, my emotional states? If you think about it, talk about it, journal about it, and your meditations/prayers/ponderings focus on bringing it to the forefront, then powerful and welcomed changes will occur in your life. They have to, as your thoughts, language, and behaviors shift to prioritize what’s really important to you, and what you truly wish to change.
Here’s a story to illustrate this powerful phenomenon: A friend of mine has been devoting this chapter of life to making healthier shifts—shifts in his career, in where he lives, in his readiness to attract a healthy relationship. From this period of being a deeply feeling person, with lots of focus paid to living mindfully, with clear intentions and a commitment to who he wants to be, comes the fruit of his labor: He’s been inspired to use his work skills to launch a new business, he is in the process of moving into a charming new home in his dream location, and he’s met a woman with whom he feels a strong and loving connection.
Don’t misunderstand. This isn’t magic; it’s work! When your intention is clear and strong, the Universe/Mama Nature/the God of Your Understanding listens and conspires to help, bringing exactly the right people, experiences, and blessings into your path. But the million-dollar question is, “Are you catching them, or are you missing them?”
Try this: Spend a morning paying close attention to all the things you usually don’t give a second thought to. For instance, when you grab the cereal from the cupboard, pause. Ask yourself if that’s really what you want to eat, or are you just doing what you always do. When you leave for work in the morning and give your sweetie a peck on the cheek as usual, hold on a sec. Why communicate a mere morsel of affection when you can communicate deeper feelings of love? Turn that peck into a big, sloppy smooch and lingering embrace. (Could be fun. Could make you late for work.)
So what’s the payoff for this effort? Relationships more deeply felt. A stronger spiritual connection to your world and everyone in it. Heightened senses. Insight. Healthy changes. In short, a Technicolor life more fully lived.
Look, life’s fraught with issues, and we surely can’t work on everything at once. But does that really matter? Perhaps what matters most is committing to the journey toward becoming who you want to be, declaring it loudly and then paying attention, so you embrace the support that surrounds you, that trickles from the sky to embrace you, every step of the way.
Until next time: “We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
— Marianne Williamson