Chasing Intention

Being intentional is surprisingly difficult. I intend to be intentional, but then I forget and go back to flitting around in my usual way, doing lots of things but not really paying attention to any of them.

This is both a surprise to me and not.

This challenge appealed to me because I know I do this. I’m fully aware of it, often in the moment. I don’t like feeling scattered but that’s how I end up feeling when I’m not focusing on something with intention.

There’s a lot of noise inside my head right now. Some of it is actual noise, like the sounds of a child to whom “quiet” means something different than what it means to me. He talks incessantly, and when he’s not talking he bops and pops and thumps in a seemingly never-ending cacophony of sounds that is the trademark of a four-year-old boy.

view-from-tower

Perspective is nice, if you can get it.

But much of the noise is of my own creation, or perhaps just a normal part of life. There are whispers of laundry that needs doing and the annoying tap that is the constant reminder to figure out what’s for dinner. There’s the whirring calculator tallying how many times I was up in the night and the steady tick of a clock making its way towards bedtime. Ideas for keeping two boys entertained rush in with a whoosh and depart, either tossed aside or rejected, with a whimper. The noise echoes a traffic jam as it all becomes too much and then it reaches a crescendo and I lay on the horn and say STOP. ENOUGH.

Quiet. I need quiet.

My best moments, when intention comes in and stays instead of playing Nicky Nicky Nine Doors on my brain, is when it’s quiet. When the house is quiet – either asleep or away. When I’m walking. When I find a patch of sunlight and that light helps me see clearly. Sometimes quiet is a cup of tea.

Maybe I need to invite intention to tea.

I have found them — those moments of intention — over the last 11 days. Not always 20 minutes at a time, though, and sometimes (I admit with a feeling of shame) I’ve counted something as intentional after the fact.

But is that really the definition of intention?

in·ten·tion
noun

  1. an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.
  2. the end or object intended; purpose.

In some ways, intention is means to an end, and so I suppose if I have had moments of focus or joy or productivity then I can count those as intentional. But to me, part of the point of this exercise is to boldly and deliberately seek out those activities that quieten my mind and those moments that bring me joy. There is a presence about it that I haven’t quite mastered yet.

And so, as I sit here in my quiet house, spending some time writing intentionally, I vow this: I intend to be more purposefully intentional. The road is paved and waiting.


 

Comments

  1. You can do this. Of course you know that already.
    I started journaling again. Not for very long, and not really writing about much, but it’s a start.

    • That’s awesome. I started doing that in January and I totally suck at writing longhand. And anything I type is invariably going to end up on the blog. ;)

      But yes, I can do this. And I’m learning what it takes me to be intentional and thereby be happier instead of scattered.

  2. I take time to myself every day during my lunch hour and just sit, or write, or read. It’s wonderful.

    • That’s awesome. I used to do that (before I was on mat leave) but then I got sucked into being at my desk. Mostly because I was lazy. Not good!

  3. Oh man, I can relate to the noise-in-your-head thing. I have it all the time, and it can be so overwhelming. And when I get to that too-much point, it’s never pretty, because it usually comes to a head when my husband needs something and the kids are tugging on my hands whining for something, and the phone is ringing and the cats are underfoot, and, and, and… KABOOM.

    I need to find this intention thing. Because right now, I have none. I’m just surviving.

  4. I need to work on this too! I fly by the seat of my pants most days and then crash at night. I have to set aside some time to just stop and focus.
    Thanks for the reminder!

    • I’m catching myself now – thinking ahead to the next thing and the next when I should be paying attention to NOW. It’s getting better.

  5. I am not an early morning person by any means, but I have found that by taking that time before the rest of the house wakes up gives me a better, clear, start to the day. I do need to focus on living with more intention though, it’s too easy to get lost in the busyness of life.

    • I’m in awe of you for doing that. I’ve lacked sleep for so long I can’t get my head around doing it, even though I know I’d love that time if I did.

  6. Yes, I’ve been struggling with this particularly since the birth of my second daughter. Being intentional or mindful makes me a better mother though, so I keep trying.