The Importance of Intention

I must be needing this message! It keeps coming to me, in many forms: Intention is important, significant, and makes a difference in outcomes. The latest variation on this theme comes from Michael Neill, who said:
“When you are clear about ‘want to,’ ‘how to’ shows up.”

It sounds so simple, but somehow it often doesn’t seem simple at all. All the complications, circumstances, “what if’s, ” old baggage, yada yada yada. . .  and we’re left wondering, conjecturing, planning, re-planning. I could go on, but I’m sure that like me, you’ve all been there.

Why is this? Is it because we think too small, dare not dream, dare not want? I suspect this has something to do with the murkiness of lacking intention. Fear of failure, or perhaps more accurately, fear of “non-fruition” can keep us from intending, from thinking big, “going for the gold.”

Then, too, it isn’t always obvious what “gold” actually looks like in any given situation. I have one of those on my plate right now: my book project. I have had remarkable success, opportunities arising I had not even dreamed existed, and yet – there are also unforeseen potential consequences, consequences I’m not sure I want or can handle. How does one apply “intention” when things get thick not only with promise, but also with potential landmines? (You may wonder what I could be referring to. I am learning all about what is expected of authors these days to market books. Namely, getting involved with “social media.” As I study this phenomenon, it seems to me that it could lead easily, unintentionally, to a dizzying spiral out of balance – the whole point of Womansong, come to think of it – in a sticky web of digital technology that eats time and demeans substance.)
That may sound extreme, or Luddite-like, but I worry about the explosion of trivia, of everybody needing to know everything about everybody. About having 2,000 “friends.” Does that bother anyone else?!?
But I digress: how do we figure out what “gold” looks like, so we can clearly, calmly, set our intentions and let the Universe show us the path thereto?

I had a conversation with a lovely, innately spiritual woman just yesterday who shed some light on this conundrum. I told her I was struggling with purpose. No, make that “Purpose.” She smiled serenely at me and suggested I take it down a notch, and think simpler. “Take joy,” she said. “In each moment. It is always there, but you have to think about it. Just be.” It seems to me that is a good place to start.

Next, I guess, is not allowing the “expediencies of the world” to run over me like a bulldozer. (In my case,  that being the conventional wisdom that I must do either this or that to move my book project.) The relevant question is what I want. What feels right to me. Which clearly is not going on Facebook. (I’m not making that judgment for anyone else, just for me.)

I realize as I type this that this is where the magic of intention clicks in. Intention means mindfully tuning in to what is right for me. When I listen to my gut, it becomes clear what to do. (Or not do.) That in turn allows next steps to present themselves, possibilities emerging sequentially as I clear my intentions about one step at a time. Oops. Right back to the last posting: Stay within the headlights! I can see why this is so complicated. “Dreaming,”  “thinking big,” gets us beyond the headlights. . . and so it is a merry dance, back and forth, dreaming, yet “intending” only one step at a time, ready, always, to adjust our course.

A bit of a ramble this morning, but what is life, if not a surprising ramble! John O’Donohue speaks so beautifully to the miracle that being mindful can bring to each of us:

“Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness in the rhythm of your journey.”

Job one is to listen. Two: to trust what we hear. Three, to “intend.” Faithfully, patiently, humbly, joyfully, allowing the path to unfold. We are here for a reason. . . .

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