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.
“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Welcome to Week Six of Exploring Intention!
If you’re new to this series, feel free to check out the first five posts in the “Exploring Intention” series.
But here’s a bit of backstory:
Six weeks ago I began to explore the concept of “intention”. After reading so much about it, and becoming thoroughly confused about the “right way” to approach it, I decided to investigate intention and figure out how I could make it fit in with my approach to life.
This week on Bliss Habits, the focus is on “serenity”, so I’m going to be looking at how to use intention to create more serenity in day-to-day life.
So what’s all this about intention, then…?
My personal definition/explanation for the process of setting an intention is this:
Setting an intention in life is exactly the same as when you use the GPS in your car- you punch in your destination and then allow your internal GPS (I call it the “inner sense of intention”) to respond with directions on how to get there. It’s really that simple.
Last week, I discovered that setting an intention wasn’t just about announcing “hey, I intend to make today the most awesome day ever!” and then going on my merry way. I started realizing that taking the time to pay attention to what happens *after* I set the intention is just as important as setting the intention in the first place.
So for me, intention has evolved into a multi-step process. Right now, it’s all about:
– investing time in thoughtfully deciding what the heck I *really* want
– taking the time to articulating that goal in a clear and concise way (for my own benefit- the more wishy-washy I am about an intention, the more difficult it becomes to figure out how to get there.)
– *waiting for a response* from my gut (what I call my “inner sense of intention”- for me it seems to be a mix of intuition and logic) after I set the intention.
And it all goes back to that GPS analogy I keep making- when you use the GPS in your car, you first decide where you are going, you punch that destination in, and then you wait for the GPS to calculate everything and then tell you the steps you need to get there. If you start driving before the GPS starts giving you directions, you run the risk of going the wrong way.
And the whole “response” part of intention is especially helpful if you have no idea where your final destination is, which is the situation I am in. A few weeks ago I realized the goals I have been setting for myself for the past few years no longer made sense to me. I have no idea when I lost passion for these things, but I have been so caught up in moving towards these goals that I lost sight of why I wanted them in the first place.
It’s ironic that an exercise in intention ultimately inspired me to second-guess a whole bunch of intentions I had neatly lined up, but I’m actually really glad it happened. Who knows how many more years I would have devoted to trying to achieve those goals, all the while spinning my wheels in frustration? And how heartbreaking would it have been if I ultimately achieved everything and then felt a total sense of emptiness afterwards?
I’ll admit, I’m in an uncomfortable place right now. I’m not really a super-flexible person. I like knowing the details and specifics, and I like waking up every day and having some idea of what I’m looking to achieve. However, the ability to make decisions on the fly has become a surprisingly comforting part of my life so I’m going with that. Instead of thinking of this “not knowing” as a bad thing, I’m seeing it as a kind of freedom and liberation. It feels like there is a lot of possibility .
And that’s where serenity (this week’s Bliss Habit) comes in.
I may not know *exactly* where I want to be headed, but I know that it needs to be a place of joy, authenticity, compassion, and whole-heartedness, and ultimately, a place where I am truly at peace with the life I am living and the choices I am making.
And that, right there, is the essence of serenity. (At least for me). But, as I keep saying, the most important definition of “serenity” is YOUR OWN definition of “serenity”. What does serenity mean to you? What is your idea of a more serene life?
Right now, everything is about making tiny, small choices. Quite honestly, that’s all I’m equipped to do at the moment. Especially with the holidays coming up- I just don’t have the focus or energy to sit down for several hours and ponder my ultimate future. All I can do is keep making little steps in the right direction. I am trying to keep the focus *on* serenity every day. What little thing can I do that will bring me more serenity?
And this isn’t just about me. It’s about making choices for my family and friends, as well. Serenity isn’t just a personal choice, it ultimately affects everyone you are in contact with. Serenity can act like a wave, and really sweep over everything (and everyone) in your path. I know this because I have been around some *really* serene people, and it’s always rubbed off on me in tremendous ways.
So back to the GPS analogy- even though “serenity” isn’t some distinct and specific destination that I’m punching into my “inner sense of intention”, it still gets me a little closer to where I want to be.
And as I said last week, there are very few ground rules to intention, but they are fairly rigid:
Be completely honest about where your starting point is. The first thing the GPS in your car does is pinpoint your exact location. It does this so it give your accurate directions to your destination. Your “inner sense of intention” needs the same information. And if you try and fool yourself into thinking you’re in a different starting place than you really are (happier than you are, content in your job/relationship when your not, doing the most you can, wanting things you don’t *truly* want, etc.) there’s no way you’ll get to where you want to go.
Be completely honest about where you want to go. Trust me- a detailed destination is NOT necessary when setting an intention. But an honest idea of what direction you’d like to be heading in is absolutely imperative because your “inner sense of intention” will guide you to exactly where you want to be, whether you admit it to yourself or not.
So, like I ask every week: What is ONE thing that you can do today to bring more serenity into your life? What’s one small change you can make to have a more serene life?
And if you have a bigger intention in place for your life (such as a big future goal) how can a daily intention for more serenity fit in with that?
And tomorrow, your goal is to start again. One tiny, serene decision at a time.