In addition to being fully engaged with the people and activities before us (see previous entry), another indicator of progress in mindful, “Present Living” is noticing and exploring our lingering intentions.

We intend something in every moment, whether or not we’re cognizant of such interior designs. We intend certain outcomes, usually related to specific personal needs, relationships, tasks, or accomplishments.

Our words and actions reveal those intentions to us, and often expose them to others–sometimes before we fully see them. Our emotional state of mind shows up in our intentions, in positive and negative ways. Tying back to one of my recent blogs on “Visceral Awareness,” a physical symptom located in one of our chakras (energy wheels) can point to an unresolved emotion, which can also be driving words or actions that reveal specific intentions toward others.

Intentions possess power that is often underestimated. I’ve been blown away by how many times I’ve noted a desire to find a certain resource or connect with a certain type of individual; and, as I refined and acted upon that intention, the resource or person “just happened” to cross my path. More importantly, when I intend good for people, my words and actions seem to align and are helpful to that person. Sadly, I’ve seen where the reverse is true as well.

Becoming progressively mindful of our intentions has the added benefit of helping us to make wiser decisions when spontaneous events, opportunities, or simple distractions tempt us to move against or ignore our intentions. If we intend to be loving and faithful to a partner, for example, and we “re-choose” that intention each morning and throughout the day, it is probable that our actions will reinforce loving faithfulness. If we intend to stay fit and healthy, and continuously implement that intention through going to the gym and eating a quality diet, we are likely to see that intention realized. If we intend to be lifelong learners, and each day engage our curiosity through various vehicles, we will never stop learning and our intention to learn will only grow more spongy.

The late Wayne Dyer spoke of intention and the energy that constitutes all of life as one and the same. In his book The Power of Intention,  Dyer writes, “When you shift to an abundance mind-set, you repeat to yourself over and over again that you’re unlimited because you emanated from the inexhaustible supply of intention. As this picture solidifies, you begin to act on this attitude of unbending intent. There’s no other possibility. We become what we think about, and as Emerson reminded us, ‘The ancestor to every action is a thought.’ As these thoughts of plentitude and excessive sufficiency become your way of thinking, the all-creating force to which you’re always connected will begin to work with you, in harmony with your thoughts, just as it worked with you in harmony with your thoughts of scarcity. If you think you can’t manifest abundance into your life, you’ll see intention agreeing with you, and assisting you in the fulfillment of meager expectations!”

My late father Frank, who introduced me to Dyer and other thought leaders, was an infectiously positive individual. I now realize that Dad intended for good outcomes to occur, and that flavored his glass-half-full thinking. Although I can sometimes sway to the negative under stress or anger, I’m a generally positive individual. I see possibilities, and I think a deeper way to describe that is “I intend for possibilities to become realities.” I have very little tolerance for negative people and gravitate away from them as quickly as possible, and I think this is because my intuition tells me they intend for negative things to happen to them. And that’s usually what occurs! Dyer continues, “If we focus on what’s ugly, we attract more ugliness into our thoughts, and then into our emotions, and ultimately into our lives.” Intention is indeed “powerful!”

Still present with me? Try practicing hitting the “pause button” in the midst of your activity, and take note of the emotions you’re feeling right now. What intentions might be the product of such emotions? Are these intentions good, bad, or indifferent toward people, animals, and the earth herself? Do you believe that those closest to you are tuned in to your intentions, and how is that resonating with them? What deeper reflection might be necessary for you to gain more clarity and resolve around your intentions?

May we intend good, healthy things for ourselves and others. May we intend to be stewards of the earth and all of its living creatures.

Growing Your Strengths

I’m a Nashville-based writer, talent strategist, and certified executive coach. On this website, I primarily write stories featuring a diverse group of professionals whose examples of applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling will help you love your career and enhance your quality of life.

These characters face familiar pain points: nonstop change, accelerating economic and technological disruption, and the collective “noise” that grows louder each day. The impact, for these professionals and for many of us, has been confusion, distraction, and stress.

Until, however, each of these individuals chooses to do something new: practicing mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling habits, and growing them into strengths…strengths that respond to change rather than just react.

Strengths that you can develop as well.

Don’t settle for the confusion, distraction, and stress. You’re stronger than that, and capable of much more.

Choose to do something new. Today. Start with this post, check out my books, and join our learning community to receive free, exclusive content via email each month with timely guidance on applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling.