One of my main focuses over the last year was trying to figure out how to live intentionally. Often in yoga your instructor will have you bring your hands to Samasthiti (heart center) to set an intention. At first I would find myself scrambling to find a word or phrase that I wanted to magically carry me through practice. What does that even mean to "set an intention"? Quickly you think to yourself, "gratitude! Yeah. That's perfect." And it is awesome to want be grateful, and also to take a moment to think of the word "gratitude". But are you really actively enforcing that off of your mat after the class? Did you really connect to why you said that word in the first place? Funny thing about setting an intention, you quite literally need to intentionally think of the intention beforehand.
Bigger picture now. I want to create something for myself. I am trying to invoke real change. If you are not a grateful person to begin with, becoming grateful will not happen overnight. And it certainly won't happen if you're scrambling to find the word. It's going to take practice.
Not only is it going to take practice, it's going to take some purposeful thinking.
Well, what is it that you really want?
I want to be fit. I want to be more feminine. I want to make smarter food choices. I want to feel loved by my spouse. I want to be a better listener and not speak until it's my turn, and so on and so on...
Whatever it is that you want, you have to actually want it. Like, you really know that doing this is going to change you. That means, I am making a choice that I want something and no matter how hard it is, I am going to fight tooth and nail for this thing- and guess what else, I am prepared for whatever the outcome may be. I am ready to accept the route that leads me to this thing.
FLASHBACK to Winter 2017 when I profoundly said,"I want to be a yoga instructor"... with 3 jobs, 2 kids, a boyfriend, friends, a social life, also while playing on a flag football team and kids are playing basketball, football and lacrosse etc. I can do it all. All of it is important. So how do I get there?
Focus on your values.
The things you value should line right up with what it is you want to be intentional about. If you could care less about spiritual enlightenment, connecting to all beings or serving the community, I highly doubt you are going to have the same intention as me to become a yoga instructor. But if you value your spouse, and you value raising your kids in a home without inner turmoil, and you value calm; loving mornings you might say, "yeah, sure... I want to intentionally learn to be more patient or more grateful." I am going to make a conscious effort not to focus on how I despise scrapping the ice off my windows in the morning or how there are 9,000 dirty dishes in the sink because I value all these other things more than these unimportant things.
So here I am trying to be intentional and do ALL the things- but really knowing deep down that I am going to have let some things go to do this. I happened to picked up "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Manson and I read it again. He says right out of the gate, "Our crisis is no longer material; It's existential, it's spiritual. We have so much fucking stuff and so many opportunities that we don't even know what to give a fuck about anymore." So what do you give a fuck about? What is it that you value?
Mid 2018 and I decided to write down some of my values (in no particular order).
Giving and receiving love
The lives of people and animals
The planet, nature
Being empathetic and showing empathy
Being a good & loving mom
Being genuine & knowing genuine people
Serving the community
Providing for myself & my kids
"To live a better life and to find good stuff to give a fuck about, you need to choose the right values and metric."
Let your values be the driving force for your intention.
Now that I have identified what my values are, I can set an intention that has actual meaning.
"I want to be a yoga instructor because I value knowledge and growth. I value serving my community, genuine connections and my health."
Being intentional takes genuine thought. So say it out loud. Write it on a paper and hang it up. Mean it and know why you mean it.
Listen to the universe.
So I want to be a yoga instructor and the Universe says to me, "Okay, Bonnie. You want to be a yoga instructor...." BOOM. You no longer have this job. And guess what else, you don't need this one either. Welcome to the reality of actively pursuing this thing. You cannot do this thing you want without creating the space for it.
You want to be more patient. "Wonderful." Responds the Universe. "Now here are some things that are going to test your patience. In fact, I am going to flood your front door with things that are going make you want to rip all of your hair out." Because how else are you going to learn how to be patient, without actually doing things that make you practice patience?
You are given signs all day long. Every single day. Are you listening? Leaving those jobs left me in a very vulnerable, risky and scary position. Along with recognizing the signs, how are you going to choose to interpret them? I could be pissed about leaving one job for another and then ultimately that job didn't work out, or I can honor the path laid out in front of me that is leading me to my intention. It's a choice. What you choose to put your focus on is 100% your choice.
Change is inevitable. Growth is intentional.
Present day. It has been months of listening to this internal dialogue about going back to a "real job." Constantly going back and forth questioning whether or not I am doing what is right. But at the end of the day, those other jobs do not line up with my values. At all. And the things that I value make me happy. I want to be happy. So I am creating my happiness.
Becoming more grateful happens in special moments that you can drown out all the unimportant tasks. Learning to be more loving and open takes patience. And living a life filled growth and happiness takes intention.
I am going to post my intentions as I take the time to truly create them. I am going to know that they are backed by my values and I am going to state them out loud. I will accept all the routes to get me there and know that it will free up space for what I am asking. And lastly, I will recognize the signs the universe sends to me.
When making these statements, I am going to mean it and know why.