I set my intention for relaxation and peace of mind. I am about to travel almost 3000 miles across the country on a connecting flight.
Intention is the idea of something made potential through the use of language. Through language an abstract concept can be transformed into an organized and concrete thought. It is thoughts that inform our emotions and emotions that inform our actions. If what I think informs a healthy feeling I am more likely to act in ways that are in my best interest.
At this moment I am feeling anxious. My husband has already been on the west coast for a week on business. I will join him and we will spend 10 days running the coast of Monterey, hiking the hills of Big Sur and combing the beaches for sea anemones and starfish. So why do I feel anxious?
When I back up in time, reviewing my actions and the feelings behind them I find the space where anxiety rose. It was just after thinking that I had successfully packed the big suitcase with 10 days worth of my husband’s and my casual clothes for weather ranging in temperature from 55 to 79 degrees. I was feeling very satisfied at the moment of zipping the 50 lb bag shut. And then I thought, 50lb bag! And I felt fear. How was I going to carry it down two flights of stairs? What if it weighs over 50 lbs and I am required to pay extra? Fear escalates from anxiety to panic. How will I get the bag down the stairs? Should I unpack and rethink what I am bringing? Maybe I can empty the suitcase and carry the contents to the car and pack there. How can I know if it is too heavy? Why am I bringing his clothes? I should have never… And so my monkey mind runs.
This is the perfect place for intention. This everyday space. This moment. A moment in my life. Here and now. I can continue along with my monkey mind setting off fireworks, dodging landmines, lamenting down memory lane and pointing a head to all the ways it will never work. And it is guaranteed that I will feel miserable, defeated and unhappy as I set out for 10 days alone with the man I love in some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. This is not how I want to start my vacation.
I center myself. Bringing my attention to my feet, noticing them flat on the floor. Hands on my thighs, I breathe in for the count of four hold it for two and exhale for 6. I repeat it two more times. And as I bring myself more fully present in my body, I bring my awareness to the expansive feeling I have created. Body relaxed, breath slowed, mind quieted. And it is in this space of time that I set my intention for travel.
Merriam-Webster’s first definition of intention reads: a determination to act in a certain way. Thoughts inform emotions and emotions inform actions and actions inform future possibilities. What do I want to make possible? This is important, because what I want is not the same as what do I not want. Right now, what I most clearly know is what I don’t want. I don’t want to start my vacation miserable, defeated and unhappy.
In setting an intention, I empower an idea that I desire to become a reality. I choose my words to attract what I desire. Watching my words carefully as they are the directions on my map of reality and I would like to steer myself on the most direct course to the destination of relaxation and peace of mind. Attracting all possibilities for supporting and improving my opportunities to attain relaxation and peace of mind not misery, defeat and unhappiness.
Notice for yourself. Place your feet flat on the floor, hands on your thighs and practice three of my breaths. In for four hold for two and exhale for six. Now say, “I don’t want to be stressed out.” Notice how you feel. Bring your awareness to your feet, your stomach, your chest and your head. What do you notice? Now say, “Let me be free to experience relaxation and peace of mind.” Any difference? You might notice a calmer stomach, lighter chest, and more expansive feeling in your head. You might experience more positive sensations.
When I am present, in this moment and I find myself afraid about my 50lb suitcase. I notice that my monkey mind takes me off to the races. Here and there. Back and forth. I breathe. Feet flat on the floor, hands on my thighs, and I breath. I see that in this moment I am reliant on my environment. There is no other way. I am dependent on the airline to transport me, their scale to weigh my bag, and my own brain and brawn to get the darn thing down the stairs. I realize that this interdependency or oneness means a relinquishing of control. I can’t possibly know all the things that might happen at any moment and all the things that are interdependent of those things. To be honest, I can’t know anything for certain. And if I attempt to control that which is outside my influence, I will feel more anxious. It is at this juncture, when I am willing, I can shift my focus from control to cooperation. This is the aha moment. I let go and welcoming the “I don’t know mind.” I don’t know how I will get my 50 lb suitcase down the stairs, but with some curiosity and my intention set for an expansive mind I am sure I will figure it out. And I will feel good doing it.
So this January, when you sit down to write your New Year’s resolution, carefully choose words to attract what you desire and empower you to think, feel and act on it.