But, of course, that ashram or monastery is only in my fantasy, and in the day to day reality of my life, living with intention is much more challenging. This time, the movie reel in my brain goes something like this: smiling with every dish I wash, inhaling deeply (and still smiling) as I listen to my child angrily tell me why his homework is stupid and a waste of time, slowly chewing my food at the table while three kids run around me in circles chasing each other and laughing because the almost empty squeezable mustard made an undignified noise as I squeezed some onto my plate.
That must be the cynical movie reel. So, I remind myself that I don’t have to watch that movie. I also remind myself that I don’t have to go from having minimal intention to living a completely intentional life. If perfection is my goal, I’m setting myself up for failure.
Here’s what I think is important about living with intention:
- Living with intention means co-creating with the moment. It means always being at choice. I choose my perspective, my attitude; I choose how I expend my energy.
- Living with intention means letting go of expectations and assumptions. It means unfolding rather than holding on.
- Living with intention brings me into alignment with my deeper self, into alignment with my values. From here, I am centered, energized and inspired.
- Living with intention helps to influence where my attention goes. Instead of getting caught up in a fear- and shame-based perception of reality, I can rest in the assurance of simply being myself and being open.
- Living with intention means living with significance and meaning. It means being intentional about how I take care of myself, how I interact with others and the world.
- Living with intention requires that I slow down, that I listen and reflect. It allows my intuition to play a more conscious role in my life.
To change in all aspects of my life all at once sounds overwhelming. So I like to think of it as a practice. I can practice living with intention each day. I can remember that I am putting I back in MY LIFE, that I am always at choice, and that by slowing down and being intentional as I go through my day, I am showing up for myself. And when my son comes home and complains about his homework this afternoon, I can sit down with him and say, “Tell me more.”