Exploring Intention: Being Open to Surprise

Welcome to Tuesdays with Chel.

Each week Chel Micheline of Gingerblue will offer her perspectives on our Bliss Habits. Please enjoy the wisdom and clarity she offers.

Everything that is new or uncommon raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills the soul with an agreeable surprise, gratifies its curiosity, and gives it an idea of which it was not before possessed.
– Joseph Addison

Welcome to Week Twelve of Exploring Intention!

If you’re new to this series, feel free to check out the first eleven posts in the “Exploring Intention” series.

Twelve weeks ago I began to explore the idea of intention. After reading so much about it, and having a somewhat misinformed idea of what exactly intention *was*, I wanted to redefine it, examine it, put it to work, and learn the mechanics of it.

This discovery process has taken different shapes. For the first few weeks, I set my intentions around each of the Thirteen Bliss Habits. For example, my first intention was to find more joy in daily life. And that was a good start.

But halfway through my journey, I began realizing that each of the Bliss Habits actually *informed* the process of intention. For example, the entire process of setting an intention starts and ends with humility- being honest with yourself and others about not only our capabilities but what we truly want from life.

That connect between the Bliss Habits and intention was a HUGE discovery for me- a weird, serendipitous twist to this experiment.

And this week is no different because another keystone to the intention process is this week’s Bliss Habit- Surprise.

I’ve always maintained that the process of setting an intention is just like using the GPS in your car. I believe that each of us have an “inner sense of intention” that is sitting and waiting for us to give it a clue about where we want to go in life. And when we do tap into that “inner sense of intention” and listen to what it has to say, things really *do* happen.

Surprise is a key part of intention. Why?

Let’s go back to the GPS thing for just a minute. Have you ever been driving somewhere that you are *somewhat* familiar with, and your GPS suddenly advises you to “turn right in 50 feet” (etc.)? It doesn’t seem like the right direction at all- The GPS is suggesting a completely unfamiliar route.

But sometimes that GPS knows more than we do. It may be getting information about traffic or road construction that we don’t have access to. Maybe it’s a shorter way to a familiar location.

So you take a risk and you make that sudden and unexpected turn- worse comes to worse you can turn around and go back to where you started from, right?

And maybe you find a quicker route with less lights. Maybe you pass a bunch of things that really interest you, but you never knew existed. Maybe it’s a prettier route, a quieter route, an efficient route. Maybe it saves you the headache of a four way stop sign or a complicated intersection. And then maybe it’s just NOT a great route after all and you turn around and your GPS simply recalibrates.

Intention is JUST like that. Sometimes when you set an intention, your “Inner Sense of Intention” will respond to you with something that is completely unfamiliar, maybe even a little scary. And you don’t need to follow those directions, but when you DO take the chance, sometimes very cool things can happen. In fact, sometimes you win up surprising yourself when you step out of the box of the familiar and known.

As I’ve confessed before, I’m a bit of a control freak. As I get older (I’m in my late 30’s) and as I have the regular influence of a six year-old (my daughter), I’m becoming flexible. And enjoying that flexibility. But surprise? Stepping out of my box? Yick. Too scary sometimes.

But then I read quotes like this:
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” (Neale Donald Walsch)

Well, crap!

But it’s important to note that most people who are control freaks have become that way because there wasn’t much of a “comfort zone” to begin with in our lives. So we create one for ourselves. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I was born with a neurological disease, so my early life was FULL of medical surprises- I don’t really feel like I need to be stepping out of the box much more, you know? I’ve worked very hard to CREATE the little comfort zone box and get myself IN it. And I enjoy it in here!

But I have to work on getting myself to the outer edges of the “ comfort zone” a little more often. What Neale Donald Walsch said was “life begins the end of your comfort zone”, not “life begins way outside your comfort zone”. “The end” is still *part* of the whole, not distinctly apart from it. (At least, that’s what I tell myself.)

So I realized I have to dance on edge of my comfort zone a little more often, and allow the space for some surprise in my life. Stepping out of the box can be as simple as shaking up a tried and true routine, or trying a new tea, ordering something at the restaurant we always go to, or going to see a movie that normally doesn’t appeal to me.

These are just simple shifts that aren’t life changing, but can plant some seeds for surprise in life. Maybe not the greatest risks ever taken, but they are *something*.

So this week I challenge you to tap into your “Inner Sense of Intention” and take a little but of a chance it if issues some unfamiliar advice. If it’s *too* uncomfortable, compromise- find an in between. But just keep yourself open to surprise, to new ways of thinking and feeling and approaching your daily life. Keep things interesting, alive. That’s all that really matters.

One thought on “Exploring Intention: Being Open to Surprise

  1. Kathy says:

    Ha! I would have told you that I am not a “control freak” as you call yourself but as I read this today, I realize that really isn’t true.

    I like surprises so I put myself in situations where I can control them. I can set things up so I am comfortable handling “bigger surprises” like making the decision to go to an unfamiliar part of the city for something, I will amp myself up “for the adventure of it” and be ok if I get lost or have trouble finding what I am looking for, but if in my normal travels I am surprised by getting lost I get VERY angry and have a lot of difficulty going with the flow of the surprise.

    I think I will hang out on the edge of my comfort zone too this week. I may be ready for a step or two further from the edge then you usually play but it really is the very same thing. Thanks AGAIN for your insight!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *