An uncle of mine was recently on a cooking show in which he talked about the intention behind his cooking. As a child, he sometimes experienced hunger and so as an adult aimed to nourish others with the gift of food. Besides the fact that I just think it is super cool that an uncle of mine was on tv, I see this as a prime example of the beauty of intention practiced.
Perhaps at its most powerful, intention applied is hardship/the experience of lack + a conscious decision to heal self/others + acting in accordance with chosen intentions. As one definition puts it, intention is "a thing intended; an aim or plan” or what I also find so intriguing, “the healing process of a wound”. This evocative definition hints at the application of intention as a palliative, restorative methodology for transforming pain into healing purpose.
The precious life we have is finite or at least the body we get to experience life in is. With that bittersweet knowledge, how do we exist with vitality, welcoming every day graces, and become purposeful about the kind of life experience we would like to co-create? We cannot control all or even many of the circumstances of fortune and nature, but we can certainly practice self-determination in the actions we choose to engage in and why.
I was in a funk yesterday after I did not get something I wanted. I was plain good and frustrated, feeling like no matter how hard I tried I just was not going to get “there”. Wherever “there” is.
And isn’t it funny, that even once you get “there”, another “there” beckons before you’ve even had time to take your shoes off. There is always another “there”, another goal, another flaw to overcome, another job, another person, another place...and that is all okay. We are evolving human beings with a hunger for growth. But when that hunger leaves you feeling emaciated, it's time to reach for a deeper source of nourishment than can be achieved with external rewards.
What fed me and got me out of my funk was remembering that at several points in the last week, I actually acted on my some of my intentions. For example:
- Because I have experienced isolation, my intention is to create experiences of connection with each person I meet through shared laughter.
- Because I have experienced the joy of feeling uplifted, my intention is to support others with encouragement and considered feedback.
- Because I have experienced self doubt, my intention is to practice noticing competence in myself and others.
These are just a few examples of what I noticed last week. If my intention is to encourage the growth of another person, I do that, even once, it does not matter as much that I did not get that particular "thing" that will get me “there”. What matters is that I aim to honor my experiences, prioritize what is most important to me, and make decisions based on those essential priorities.
So, I will invite you now to take a few moments to write down what you consider to be your intentions. What do you intend, aim or plan to do that is healing?
Here is a sample structure for your intention sentence (s):
- An experience/hardship/difficulty you’ve experienced + what you hope to heal in yourself/others + how you might do that
- Because I have...I intend to....by doing...
Or reflect on the role of intention your unique way. If you'd like to learn more, join Mercedes Baines and myself for our workshop on January 29th.