Let’s re-visit intention.
If anything in your life is not as you want it to be, simply begin with the intent to shift it. Intention is not about making fists and thinking hard. It’s not about setting goals. It goes deeper than that.
“Intention rules the earth,” says Oprah.
It’s true. Intention is the beginning point. During the first week of my Great Big Dreams e-Seminar – which was last week – we work deeply on intention.
“What do you want? Are you sure? What do you REALLY want?”
Many of the people I’ve worked with at my retreats or in the e-Seminars are completely flummoxed when they begin to ask themselves what they want. This is true for most of us. We’ve been believing our limiting thoughts for so long, that we’ve forgotten that we can ask for what we want and that we have the power to create or attract it. The idea of setting an intent is daunting, to say the least.
Naturally, at first, the e-Seminarians inadvertently try to play it safe, in their language and in their focus.
That’s where I come into the picture.
I ask them to clarify what they wrote. I examine their language and encourage them not to limit themselves. I challenge them to get over their fears of being bigger and bolder. In other words, I am a royal pain in the patookus.
So now, it’s your turn. Are you familiar with any of these techniques that wreck an otherwise powerful intention?
#1 – Using “So that.”
Almost everyone begins with this insidious little phrase. They write things like this:
“I intend to lose weight and get in shape SO THAT I can be energetic and happy in my daily life and make better choices for myself.”
Can you see why this language is limiting?
SO THAT says: “I can’t have THIS if I don’t have THAT.”
In the example above, you could simply intend to have perfect health and be energetic and conscious of your daily choices. That opens up more possibilities. As you expand into that intention, your high energy might lead you to play in a volleyball league where you meet people who like to hike together. Maybe you start hiking with them, and you meet another person who later invites you to his house to show you how to cook great greens. You ultimately lose weight while being happy and energetic. Losing weight didn’t have to come first. See?
The best way to avoid the “so that” trap is to be brave enough to ask, “What do I ultimately want here?” If you want two things, you can divide the intentions with AND or WHILE. “I intend to find a fantastic career path while I create massive wealth.” It’s a different energy than “so that.”
#2 – Implementing Bureaucrat Speak Calibrated to Leverage Total Mental Paralysis
I often work with people who have been in corporate or bureaucratic jobs for so long that they forget to use language that speaks to their souls, not to their bosses. Their intentions read like this:
“I intend to leverage an incremental degree of financial stability insomuch as I can facilitate a reasonable facsimile of value-added methodology.”
My first question is always the same: How do you feel when you read this?
Typically, the person will sigh and say, “Not very good.”
I remind them that an intention is supposed to excite us a lot, and scare us a little. Make the language playful and clear.
3 – “-ing” Overuse
Many first round intentions go like this:
I intend that I am becoming clear about my career path while my health is getting better and I am attracting a loving romantic partner.
It’s not that there’s anything WRONG with this, technically speaking. But there is hesitation in there. It’s more courageous to step up and say, “I intend to be clear about my career path as I live in perfect health.”
And remember this: the universe always says YES.
So, in this case, the universe says, “Yes indeed. You are becoming clear. Your health is getting better and you are, in fact, attracting a loving partner… she’ll be along any minute now!”
The same rule applies to intending in any future tense. “I intend that I will have…” “I intend that I’m going to…”
Why not intend it now in present tense?
4 – Intention Overload
Some people begin the e-Seminar and they see so much in their lives that they want to change that they send me an intention that looks like Claire’s:
“My intention is to get clear about the next steps I’m taking in my life in terms of health, lifestyle, my relationship and my work life.”
This is what I call Attention Splatter. It’s trying to get it all done at once. And it doesn’t work. Often, it’s the best way to sabotage any progress at all. That’s because your attention is powerful. If it gets splattered, it can be hard to get anything moving.
Intention Overload can also be a sign that you’re avoiding a deeper issue that you hope will go away if you focus on a whole bunch of other things.
As it turned out, this was Claire’s situation. She had been in an unhealthy relationship for several years. As we worked together, she realized that it was time to focus on it. She reworded her intention: “I intend to make a clear decision about my relationship.” And her journey began. She was able to get strong while doing the work of the seminar. Eventually, she ended the relationship. Many of her other intentions are just now beginning to manifest as a result of courageously facing this one area of her life.
Is there one thing you’ve been avoiding by trying to do a million other things?
5 – Trying to “figure out a way,” or “force myself.”
The beautiful thing about setting intention is that it’s a shout out to the universe and to your wisest deepest self. When you set an intention, you don’t have to know HOW.
So, if you intend “to force myself to get up and work out every morning,” then you’re stuck in the world of “I must make this happen.” Intention is gentler than that.
Yes, of course, you take action. But you don’t force anything or figure anything out. Sometimes this requires waiting a little while to clear out some of the clutter in your life, or even just allow for some rest while your mental chatter shuts up a bit. However, an intention is not about pushing yourself or figuring out how.
When I first got clear that I needed to heal bulimia, it was long before I knew about the concept of “setting intent.” However, I wrote in my journal that my first priority, above all else, was to heal and get healthy. I had NO idea how. I didn’t have to figure anything else. Within a year, I had met someone who had recovered from bulimia by using homeopathy. She pointed me in a direction that ultimately moved me into acupuncture. Of course, it wasn’t easy. But I healed bulimia, and I eventually healed any and all of the health effects from it. All the while I created a most amazing music career!
Trust me. You don’t need to figure out how and you don’t need to push yourself.
6 – Questioning your ego, your dark side, your shallow self, etc
“Isn’t this just my ego wanting this? How will I know if I’m honoring my most authentic and deepest self?”
If you can’t hear your deepest self yet, then it’s good to start somewhere. The perfect and right path will open before you. As you get clear, you’ll start to know when something is an ego desire or not.
But it’s good to begin somewhere.
Many people start with their ego driving their intention. It’s pointless to try and change that. You are where you are right now. Accept the things you want and make that your starting point.
Amy had written two novels and was well into her third when she began in my e-Seminar. She had been signed by a well-known literary agent. And she was miserable. Her intention was about her career, and about her writing. She was struggling with her inner perfectionist and all of the ego voices that drove her to succeed.
Her soul, however, was reaching for true happiness. As she moved through the weeks, she sounded lighter and happier, even though she still had bad days. Courageously, she made purposefully small goals for her writing. “20 minutes a week!” She also continued to allow herself to re-write her intention as her joy rose to the surface more often. Before our final phone call, she wrote me a beautiful email that said her intention was simply “Above all, joy.”
That will be her guiding light for her writing, her mothering, or whatever other direction she goes. Her ego is not driving her intention. And I have a feeling that eventually her writing will become something she wants to do rather than something she has to do.
7 – Removing, facing, obliterating, or defaming obstacles, weaknesses, issues, patterns, and inner resistance
We all have issues and obstacles and patterns that pop up to sabotage our progress or terrify us into inaction. This doesn’t mean you have to mention them in your intention. Don’t worry. No one will accuse you of being in denial.
Remember this: energy flows where attention goes. When you include your “issues” in your intention, then you are, in essence, saying, “Let’s give this energy. Let’s focus on this. Let’s really dredge it up.”
Focus instead on the things that you DO want. That way, the obstacles and issues will naturally come up for release in their perfect and right time. You won’t be giving them all your precious attention.