Last entry I wrote about energy. Building on that – today I am going to write about intent.
And just what is intent?
in·tent [in-tent] –noun
1. something that is intended; purpose; design; intention: The original intent of the committee was to raise funds.
2. the act or fact of intending, as to do something: criminal intent.
3. Law . the state of a person’s mind that directs his or her actions toward a specific object.
4. meaning or significance.
Ok, you’re probably wondering why I am going to write all about intent, and how it’s connected to the previous topic of energy.
It is typical to just allow things to happen. It’s really easy, in fact, to just plod along, do what you do, and just let the chips fall where they may. Most people go about their lives in this way, and it’s not so much wrong or bad as it is reactionary. Living like this means we are constantly REACTING to whatever is happening around us. You react to your bills, you react to people, you react to emotions, you react to weather…seldom do we choose to take a PROACTIVE position, so that we have more control over a given situation.
The opposite of this is to live with intent. Intent means you don’t just let your day happen to you, you don’t just let the chips fall where they may – you set out with a plan, a goal, a path of your own choosing – and you work to make things your way. You focus on how you want things to be, and you focus on making your life happen as you would most desire.
Yes, I recognize again I may be speaking in tree-hugging hippy speak – but let me just give you an example. Let’s say you are traveling across the country – and you expect that at the end of the journey, things are going to be bad. You’ll have a lousy time, the weather is gonna suck, and Murphy will have his way with you. And what usually happens when this is the case? Now, conversely, if you go into the exact same situation expecting things to go well – even if there ARE issues, isn’t it far less troublesome?
How, you may ask, is that being intentional? As per the above definition – intention is “the state of a person’s mind that directs his or her actions toward a specific object.” Rather than just going about and letting the powers-that-be have their way with you, you make a CHOICE, you make a plan – and you consider how what you do will affect the outcome.
One VERY important thing about intention – you cannot control the things you cannot control. You cannot control traffic, the weather, or other people. What using intention controls is your REACTION to these things you cannot control. Rather than get upset, or angry, or frustrated…don’t just let the gut reaction have control…take ahold of your reaction. Find an alternative. Intend to make the best of a situation you cannot control.
Obviously this is NOT easy…but I know that for me, I find whenever I stop to redirect my energy, and redirect my reaction…I wind up FEELING better. If I work on my intent rather than just going with negative gut reaction, I find coping is FAR easier, and I wind up more able to handle the given situation. And the end result is that I am finding I am less stressed, less flustered, more content and even HAPPIER.
Last time I offered up a challenge. I am going to make a similar challenge, but alter it slightly : For the next week – when you find yourself focusing on woes, when you find yourself getting angry or frustrated or flustered or otherwise wrapped up in negative emotions – catch yourself. Take a moment to get ahold of the thought and the feeling – and then think about how you WANT to feel, send out your intent, and LET IT GO. Don’t dwell on the negative, don’t give it any energy – let it pass, and replace it with your intent. Take control and be intentional in your thinking.
This takes practice – but I know for me, I am finding that the more I work on being intentional in my thinking, the more contentment and happiness I am finding. Even with situations that I cannot control – I am finding my headspace has remained positive, and I am a much more content person.
Do you have anything to lose by trying this? Now…join me in finding a tree to hug!