Living with Intention

Lightbourne CayI am sitting on a beautiful Caribbean beach, taking in the sun after a full morning of work.  And this is not by accident…I have been living this life for several years now, since my husband and I set an intention to spend part of the Canadian winter on a warm Island.  We live, work from, have family time and adventure, for a few months a year in our Freeport Bahamas home.

Intentions have been part of my practice for decades now, and if that word doesn’t work for you, you can use aspirations, goals, outcomes.  See if there’s a word that has transformation potential for you.  So maybe you have intentions for your wild and precious life, or for the upcoming year, or for each day, or for a meeting or conversation.

So, what are we doing when we create an intention? 

1.  We are simply becoming aware and clear about what is important to us, if it’s about our life, it is what our soul longings are; if it is our year, it may be how we want to move deeply into those longings in more concrete ways; if it is our day, it may be the three most important things we want to experience today.  And if its’ a conversation, it may be our intention to listen, to be present.

2.  So it helps us focus by keeping those important things in front of us, and letting go of distractions.  I love the language of author and speaker Robin Sharma, when he says be monomaniacal about what you want for the year.  Focus makes wise use of our energy.

3.  And this leads to outcomes, to results, to living the life that is meaningful to you.

This is so aptly captured in the phrasing from the classic Vedic text known as the Upanishads, which declares, You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.

A Practice: I have used many practices or tools over the years to support me in working with intentions, and they all require some sort of quiet and focused time to connect to myself and they typically involve good questions.  One of my daily practices I have named 333:

  1. What three things do I have to celebrate right now?
  2. What three things am I learning right now?
  3.  What are the three most important intentions for today?  ’

There is often repetition and that of course tells me something, importantly, it tells me if I am living with integrity, in line with my life or year’s intentions.  There’s also lots of science about how practices such as these can help develop new habits and new neural pathways.  But that’s for another post, because it’s time to head to the beach.

Linda McCann – February 2014

About the photo: Lightbourne Cay, Grand Bahamas by Linda McCann