Hawaii honeymoon

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.

20 Minutes of Intention

horseshoe-on-fence

This horseshoe is on a fence in my neighbourhood. I assume it’s a symbol of the farms that used to be on this land, but I’d never noticed it until I was paying attention one night.

About halfway through my 30 days straight challenge, high off the energy of working towards something and doing something that was good for me, I started thinking about what’s next. Something different, but equally challenging and equally good for me. I didn’t have any ideas at first — I did think about 30 days of green smoothies but I’m basically doing that anyway (because, yum!) and it’s not really much of a challenge — so I put the idea to bed for a bit. And then this morning I got an email.

A while ago I joined Go Mighty, which is about making a life list for people who want to “connect and collaborate to do something good for themselves and others.” Just the sort of thing I love. I have played around a bit in there and would actually like to get more active with it. I think it’s a great way to focus on your goals. In any case, this morning’s email was about their February challenge: 20 Minutes of Intention. The idea is to take 20 minutes a day to show yourself and your goals a little love.

“Savor every bite of a delicious meal. Write a poem. Memorize phrases from a language you aspire to learn. Go for a jog. Make something with your hands. That thing that brings you joy? Do that for 20 minutes every day and share it with the Go Mighty community…”

Easy, right? Well, yes and no. Easy in that the 20 minutes doesn’t have to be a good-for-you-but-not-really-fun sort of thing. Difficult in that finding 20 minutes to focus, even on something that brings us joy, can be tough. But if my 30 days straight challenge taught me anything… Well, actually, it taught me two things that relate to this:

  1. If I am deliberate and mindful and intentional about it, I can fit 30 minutes of something into my day. Every day.
  2. Even when I don’t feel like doing something I know is good for me, I always feel better afterwards and that makes it worth it.

I knew that second one already, of course, but it’s good to be reminded of it.

If you’re interested, check out the info about the #20minutes project. Just like I did with my 30 days straight challenge, I’ll share some thoughts and pictures from this one here on the blog, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram.

So…who’s with me? I’m looking forward to February already.