Day 267 of #LiveWell2017
All my life I’ve heard people say, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” The gist of that statement is that it doesn’t matter what your intentions are if your actions don’t match them or if you fail to follow through on them. Promises are useless without action. Intentions without action become excuses. You get it. The lesson there is to DO something, to act.
Well, acting without intention can be just as bad – it can be a waste of time or cause unintended consequences. Because I am semi-retired and self-employed, I do not have to get up and go to work every day. My schedule is more flexible than most people’s, and I am 100% responsible for how I spend my days. Because of that, it is more important than ever for me to set an intention each day. I’m not talking about goals and to-do lists. Goals and tasks are easy – they can be written down and ticked off a list. Goals and lists help us think about the future and how to get there.
Intentions are different. Setting intentions help us focus on the moment at hand and live life more deliberately. My goal today might be to write for two hours and spend some time with my family. My intention is to be open to what’s going on around me so that I can appreciate where I am, who I’m with, and what comes my way. Setting intentions reminds us to be more human, to be more authentic, to be here now.
Writing about intentions occurred to me as I was taking my morning walk today. I was acting on my goal of walking daily, but I was not there, in the moment, appreciating and engaging with my environment. I was thinking about a mistake I made Friday, about what to cook for dinner tonight, and about putting a note on my calendar about something my mother told me yesterday. Past and future. When I caught myself thinking instead of being, I stopped, took a breath, and set an intention to be here now for the duration of my walk and to try to connect with what was happening around me.
There were birds singing, squirrels chasing each other, leaves dancing through the air, and people walking past me with their dogs. I smiled brightly and said good morning to the next person I passed. He beamed a smile back at me, and I knew we’d made a momentary connection. My heart was happy. THAT is how intention changes things.
What is your intention today? How does setting an intention change what you do, what you experience?