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.
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?
- an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.
- 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.