Intention can be our greatest friend and our largest intimidator. When one intends to do something, especially when that “something” is out of one’s comfort zone, the feeling inside can be close to trepidation. However, intention can assist us in building up hopes and dreams for the future. When we intend to do something, we’re making an internal promise to ourselves, which can change our mindset.
As a child, I held the intention to be one of the greatest authors on the planet. Whenever I had the chance, I would run upstairs to the spare room and flop on the couch, marble notebook in hand. Mom’s velvet couch was very comfortable, and the quiet in the room enabled my creativity to flow in wonderful ways. The room was dark, save for the dull light from the lamp and the natural light of the window. The “little room,” as we called it, was set up like a den, although I longed for it to become my bedroom one day. It was cozy and silent, much like the caterpillar’s cocoon. I filled up quite a few notebooks over the years, the contents slowly submitted to various teachers over time. Although I never became a novelist, I wrote creatively and found great joy whenever I hunkered down on mom’s velvet couch with my notebooks.
Many years ago, I studied with a Taoist Master, who told me in passing, “Intention is everything.” While I didn’t understand when she first mentioned this, each lesson taught me that whatever one resists, persists. It may have been my intention to be resistant to changes in my life, but intentional thoughts seemed to manifest themselves in rather unattractive ways. For example, I became very resistant to our daughter’s teenage years. At that time, she was filled with the normal angst that most teens experienced. I was so resistant to her behavior that I wasted a great deal of time and failed to enjoy that part in her life. It also caused her to notice that I wasn’t the same person, and we butted heads. As I learned more about the intentions I wanted, I realized that I had to change the way I worded them. Instead of saying, “I’m not dealing with your nonsense,” I began to change the words to, “I intend to enjoy my time with my daughter, even when her behavior makes me feel frustrated.” It wasn’t always an easy process, but it enabled me to see things in a different way. It also helped to improve aspects in our relationship which had never been an issue before. I also took a lot of deep breaths to calm myself.
About 12 years ago, my neighbor spoke to me about intention, especially to take care where I put my energies. It’s been said that where thought goes, energy follows. At that point in my life, I had begun to burn the candle at both ends, and when one runs oneself ragged, it’s very easy to lose sight of the big picture. My neighbor mentioned that it was important to focus on what I wanted, rather than what I didn’t want. He mentioned that nobody willingly wanted to put themselves through unnecessary suffering, and to focus more on creating joy. We spoke the mantra together, “I intend to experience more of life’s joys.” Within weeks, I noticed that a peaceful change had occurred. It wasn’t about how busy a person’s life was, but rather, it was about the way one approached situations. Approach an issue with ease, and you will find ease in the solution. Approach it with trepidation, and one finds more of the same, not to mention that the solution is more difficult to spot with all the anxiety that can leave a person temporarily blinded.
When our daughter began to take me to NYSC on Duffy Avenue, it was easy to focus on her intention to lose weight. However, during our sessions at the gym, the goal was to achieve fitness through strength. Lots of weight training later, my daughter is currently in the best shape of her life. All it took was the intention to be strong and healthy.
When we live with deliberateness, we choose to enjoy life. Setting intentions helps us to achieve small goals with ease, which gives us the incentive to tackle tougher ones. Rather than waking up in the morning and bemoaning that gray hair or those extra few pounds, set the intention to accept yourself as you are. Plan to say something positive to yourself, such as, “I am amazing,” or, “I will enjoy eating healthy foods that help me to stay healthy and strong.” Tomorrow morning, look at your beautiful face in your bathroom mirror and tell yourself, “Hi there, gorgeous.” The light inside you will glow, which will illuminate the rest of your day. Intend to live your best life possible, regardless of obstacles. It won’t be easy, but I seem to remember that someone once said that it would be worth it. It really is. But don’t forget to breathe.