The word intention seems pretty straightforward — you have an intent and you follow through with it. But it isn’t always that simple. Sometimes what you intend turns out to be completely different from what happens.
Let’s take a closer look at this word. An intention is like an aim, or a goal. It’s the direction you are moving in with any given task or life-plan. “I will be kind to myself today.” or “Today I will be patient.” or “Today I will think positively.” It’s important that it is positive and forward planning. The “I will” part being the way you intend to do the act. It can be about something you’ll carry out for the day, or it can be about something you’d like to put in action for yourself for the rest of your life.
Setting an intention takes time and effort. It isn’t an off the cuff decision. It’s about truly meaning the words that you choose and following through. An intention takes you from a passive viewer of life happening around you, into the pilot’s seat where you are now a conscious creator of your life.
Paying more attention to your intentions can be an empowering way to take control of your circumstances. If you go into a situation with an intention, when you are actually going through it you have an idea of where to steer things, rather than just letting them occur without guidance.
Start by writing down your intentions. When you put them to paper you are committing in a very solid way to follow-through with these intended tasks or methods. Like the examples above, in order to hold yourself accountable, having a record of your intention can keep you focused.
Use simple and clear language. Be concise. There are other places and times for a long explanation of what you want and how you’re going to achieve it. With an intention you want the synopsis, not the whole article. If you have trouble with a muddy concept, try to pull out the key phrases. Maybe you need two intention, and that’s okay. Try to state them in the “I will …” format.
Make this a part of your daily routine. It will seem strange at first, especially if your intention are broad and future-focused. But with practice, you will learn to set daily intentions that are relevant to you and your situation. If you are usually grumpy about something that happens every Wednesday morning, you can set the intention to be more present and positive in that event. But if you tend to get over excited and take up too much space at the weekly staff meeting on Thursday afternoon, you can set the intention to listen more and make space for those who might not normally speak up. See how the intention can change with the daily expectations?
Choose the positive. If there’s a way to write your intention in the negative, flip it and write it in the positive. We respond better to positive intentions — but also the negative can be powerful in it’s own right. Don’t let the negative overcome your good intention. If you want to be careful with your words, try saying “I will speak my truth today.” rather than “I will not misrepresent the truth.”
Leave doubt at the door. Intentions work because we believe in them and ourselves. If you have a sticky conviction about whether you can accomplish your intention or not, you will find yourself drawn down that negative hole each time. Try to reframe the issue at hand — being afraid of the dark is a limiting factor, but being able to function with only the light from your bedside clock is one way to start taking control back. Work backwards from the doubt to the intention and write it down in the small steps you need to take to get to where you really want to be.
Something I’ve worked with recently are Intention Bottles. These are a touchstone to your intention. Whether the intention is for today’s meeting or your life-long desire, an Intention Bottle is a physical reminder of that intention — and it’s a lovely and gentle way to put the energies of crystals and the universe to work for you.
Whether you decide to make an Intention Bottle with me, or just write your intention down in the margin of your daily planner, the act of making an intention is a powerful one. Give yourself this one-up opportunity every morning and soon you’ll understand just how empowering intentions can be!