Exploring Intention: The Possibility of Humility

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.

“Unless your heart, your soul, and your whole being are behind every decision you make, each action will be meaningless. Truth and confidence are the roots of happiness.”
-Pietro Aretino

Welcome to Week Eleven of Exploring Intention!

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

Eleven weeks ago, I began a whole-hearted exploration of the term “intention”. I will admit straight away that I had been dismissing it for quite some while because I felt like it had taken a bit out of context (in the direction of pure-magic-and-fairy-dust) by some recent authors. But neuroscientists and religious leaders and psychologists continued to emphasize it importance across the board, so I figured I needed to really put aside my bias and see what it was all about.

For the first several weeks of this adventure, I practiced setting different intentions every day, both based on the 13 “Bliss Habits” and some stuff that was relevant to my own everyday life.

I tried to both experience the process of setting intentions but also act as an observer. I watched and felt carefully- what happened when I set an intention? Did a certain part of my emotional “psyche” get engaged? Did my actions change? Did my perception of the world change? Did the world change? And I’ve “reported” those findings as they’ve occurred here on Bliss Habits.

I have learned a great deal through this process. But the greatest gift from it all is that I *finally* understand the importance of Humility- not only to setting intentions but with life in general.

If you’ve read any of my Bliss Habits posts before, you know that I’m not a big fan of humility when it comes to “short-changing” people. I sometimes wonder if we’re all so afraid of offending or stepping on other people we have started to second guess our own goodness. Of course, I’m not a big fan of crazy egos or anything- it’s just that as I raise a child, I want her to not only practice intense compassion and kindness, but be aware of the gifts she has and be able to not only share them with the world but also find joy in herself, in the completely unique person she is. I want her to feel good about herself and her place in the world, and to confidently give as much as she receives.

Anyway, so humility’s been a little bit of a sticky issue for me.

BUT, as I have practiced and explored intention these last few weeks, I have discovered that at the heart of any kind of well-being, at the heart of joy, at the heart of romance, at the heart of serenity, there *has* to be humility.

My new definition of humility? Authenticity. The bottom-line truth. Whether you keep it yourself or share it with the world, the only way to truly make changes, or to truly find any kind of happiness is to be gut-honest with yourself. About who you are. What you need. WHERE you are. Where you want to go. What you believe, not only about yourself but the people and the things and the world around you.

I’ve always compared the process of intention with a GPS system, and I’ve always said that the first step in this who process is starting exactly where you are. And I stand by that.

Now, I’m not recommending we begin being brutal with ourselves, or short-changing ourselves. What I am saying is that at the heart of each of us is some sort of core set of truths, and no matter what we do, we’re always being guided by that.

I came to this realization the hard way in the last few weeks, when I realized the creative career as I always defined it was NOT the one I wanted at all. That was so scary, and it still is. I’m still poking at that discovery and trying to puzzle it out.

I know someone who sometimes mentions that he was the kind of guy who trained for marathons. A few weeks ago, we were discussing it and he finally realized that while he loved the idea of traveling and being part of “marathon culture”, he absolutely hated the training process (and running itself) more than he wanted to run the marathon. That, right there, was his core truth, the thing that had been guiding him all these years. That admission made him realize maybe he *didn’t* want to run marathons after all, but just go as a volunteer or part of the organizing team.

With that whole discussion I started to realize something life-changing: there’s so much POSSIBILITY in humility! Below something we desperately *want* to be true, below the things we try to convince ourselves are the truth, there might be something really beautiful and soul-stirring that we never even considered.

For example, if I were an artist who spent morning, noon, and night in her art studio (as my “plan” spelled out in detail), I’d never have started my garden. Gardening has become a big deal for me in the last eighteen months- it brings me SUCH joy, and it also requires at least an hour of my time and energy every day. I started gardening because I needed a distraction, and it was sort of a whim- if things had been going according to “plan”, my garden wouldn’t have happened at all. I’d be too busy with a thriving life of pure art.

Practicing humility is probably one of the hardest things we can do. Not only does it lead us into the dark truths about ourselves, but it also shines the light on some beautiful things we might be afraid of admitting. It’s scary to stand up tall and claim something as a truth, bad or good.

As we step into this new year, I know one thing I will be practicing, along with intention and gratitude and mindfulness and all that good stuff is authentic humility.

I invite you to dig deeper. Whether it’s via setting intentions or just sitting down with yourself and doing a little gentle digging. Find the truth. Find your core values. Allow yourself to come to peace with them. And if they don’t align with the person you want to be, then start gently doing the work you need to shift them, and *you*, into the person you want to be living the life you want to lead.

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