One of the simplest ways to make really radical and fast changes in our life is to be intentional. Specifically, we should set an intention each and every day for how we want that day to go, what we’re going to focus on, what ultimate result we’re looking for, or how we want to feel. Setting such intentions is the difference between an undirected, unconscious day and having focus for our energy and a frame through which we can become more conscious.
Intention serves a couple of different purposes. Foremost, it helps us more easily and more readily get from point A to point B. Furthermore, it helps us create more of what we want as we become more aware and conscious of our wants and needs. It also helps us get clearer about what is in our way.
Overall, by being intentional, we become more conscious. One of the things that I have clients do is to develop a practice—a specific activity that you do in order to raise your consciousness. This works because you craft the specific activity, time, place, and frame, allowing you to see things more completely. For example, if you are practicing compassion, you might choose a daily activity that helps you understand what compassion really means and how to be compassionate more effectively. Instead of being compassionate “just because” or only when the mood strikes you, you are now doing it in a specific way at a specific time; this frame allows you to see compassion differently.
The foundation of any practice is being intentional. So, if there is a way that we would like to move through our life, if there is a result that we would like to see, the easiest and best way to get there is to be clear about it beforehand. If you were traveling to a town that you had never been to before and you didn’t know its name, even if you knew what direction it was in, it would be very difficult to know when you arrived there. You simply would not have clear knowledge of it. When we clarify what we want from a specific period of time, being intent not only helps us to get there—it helps us to see that we are there.
When we set an intention, it helps to align our heart, mind, and energy with that intention. This means that we are more likely to act in ways that are in alignment with our intention without even thinking about it—setting an intention is like laying down a track for where we want to go.
The best way to work with intentions is to experiment with them. This can be as simple as waking up in the morning and writing down what your intention is for that particular day. You could establish a specific designated time to spend at your altar or some other special spot in your home where you clarify how it is that you’d like to move through your day or what you would like to feel. This experiment will lead you to a deeper understanding of intention and its benefits.
As you experiment with your intentions, you may notice moments in which reactivity overtakes intentionality. Check out my article “When Reaction Beats Intention” for clues on how to turn reactions into responses –> When Reaction Beats Intention
When we react rather than act with intention, it shapes our experience and our outcome. When we are reactive, we simply respond to a stimulus that we have encountered. This can be a person, place, or thing. Usually, our reaction is unconscious. We just do whatever happens as a result. For example, a person comes into the room, they say something to us, and we immediately respond with whatever is true for us in that moment. This could be something beneficial that really makes the situation run quite smoothly. Or, it could be the type of reaction that’s more defensive or problematic, and as a result it creates a disruption or challenge. Either way, it’s simply a response that is not considered.
On the other hand, being intentional means that, regardless of the stimulus we experience, we have a reason for our response. So in other words, if we want to build connection, or clarity, or what have you, then we respond in a certain type of way to accomplish that desire. Intention requires that we know what it is that we want to do in a particular moment and that we guide our actions accordingly. It is the difference between flying by the seat of our pants and guiding the experience.
As you can probably quite easily see, there are times when being more intentional might be very beneficial and help to shift things in a positive way. In our life, we can pay attention to where our intentional efforts might benefit others and ourselves the most. Then we can put a little bit more effort and consciousness into those areas so that we can create more of what we want in life. Conversely, if we do not take the time to be intentional, especially in important situations, our outcome can be hit or miss.
As much as intention is a tool to create more of what we want, it is not as simple as just coming up with a scenario we would like to create and then moving forward. Being intentional is a much more nuanced skill than that. Intention is about bringing our whole self into alignment with what we intend. The first step is getting clarity about how we would like things to go. Then, we have to bring ourselves into a state of being that is in alignment with this clarity. And, once we have, our final task is to surrender our expectations and our need for control and allow our actions to be guided. This final step is of extreme importance. If we do not surrender, we are merely managing the situation—not being intentional. This is just a sophisticated form of reaction.
To put this in action, we need to take the following steps. If we are going about our daily life and we want to be more intentional, we only need to get clear, bring ourselves into alignment, and surrender—but if we have already become reactive, it requires a couple more steps. For example, if someone says something to you that makes you feel activated or triggered, then the first step is to clear the negative reaction. We have to get out of the emotional reaction first before it is possible to take actions to be more intentional. When we are triggered, it may be impossible to know what it is that we would like to have as a positive outcome, let alone how to best create it. Regardless of whether or not you know, the first step is to clear the negative reaction—then we can start being more intentional.
Finally, we need to add skills to the mix. Setting our intention is essential; however, if we are lacking a certain skill that would help us act in a way that would bring our intention into being, we may still fall short of our mark. So, part of our process is also learning skills that support our intention becoming a reality. All of this this allows us to actively construct our life in a way that is most pleasing, satisfying, and beneficial.
If you’re looking to dive deep into your intentions and what might be obstructing them, you may be interested in a Breakthrough Intensive. Find out more here –> Breakthrough Intensive with Dr. Kate
Intention is the tool that takes us from the way things have been—the way we have been operating—to where it is that we want to go. Within our intention is the understanding that something else is possible, whether this is a change in direction entirely or a more continuous experience than we have experienced in the past. Our intention aligns us with our deepest truth and most intimate longings.
Often, when we look at ourselves, our lives, or our behaviors, we do so because we are evaluating how we got to a certain point. We ask ourselves questions such as “what has been true for me” and “what has contributed to where I am in this moment?” These types of questions have us looking at who we have been and how we got to the present moment, regardless of whether the present moment is great or not so great. It is actually much more productive to examine ourselves in a forward-reaching way, rather than retrospectively through our prior behavior.
Our intention focuses on where we are going to go and what is it that we want for the future. How is it that I want to construct my moments moving forward? Our intention might lead us into an entirely different experience or solidify a newfound one. Intention directs us to what we want, what we desire to create, and our next phase of evolution. Because of this, it is an incredibly helpful tool to guide us through life.
Additionally, as we set our intention, we create a frame for our understanding, providing a tool for us to evaluate what it is that we are wanting and doing. It helps us to become that much more informed about who we are and what it is that we want. When we form an intention, it allows us to see where we are in line with that intention and where we might be off track. For example, we might set an intention and then realize that it was not exactly what we wanted. In this way, setting an intention helps us learn about ourselves and the directions in which we want to advance. So the more that we are intentional, the more we can understand our desires, their impacts, and what is in our way. This brings a high degree of awareness into our lives.
So my suggestion is to find a way of bringing more intention into your day, whether that means setting an intention to start your day or any other certain period of time—for example, before your meals, before you leave to go somewhere, as you’re getting in your car, before you begin a new task, before you reach out to someone, or any other time that is a beginning or a moving forward. Any of these initial moments can be a time to get clear and to get intentional; then you can watch how that shifts your perception and how it also changes your outcome.
If you need a little encouragement on your way, take a look at these 16 Quotes on Positive Intention That Will Inspire Your Soul.
I. Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them.
II. “Intention is one of the most powerful forces there is. What you mean when you do a thing will always determine the outcome. The law creates the world.” — Brenna Yovanoff
III. “Intention is not something you do, but rather a force that exists in the universe as an invisible field of energy- a power that can carry us. It’s the difference between motivation and inspiration. Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and don’t let go of it until you make it a reality. Inspiration is the reverse- when an idea gets hold of you and you feel compelled to let that impulse or energy carry you along. You get to a point where you realize that you’re no longer in charge, that there’s a driving force inside you that can’t be stopped. Look at the great athletes, musicians, artists, and writers. They all tap into a source.” — Wayne Dyer
IV. “In the universe there is an immeasurable, indescribable force which shamans call intent and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link” — Carlos Castaneda
V. “Every journey begins with the first step of articulating the intention, and then becoming the intention.” — Bryant McGill
VI. “A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.” — Seneca
VII. “It is not good enough for things to be planned – they still have to be done; for the intention to become a reality, energy has to be launched into operation.” — Walt Kelly
VIII. “You’ve got to know what you want. This is central to acting on your intentions. When you know what you want, you realize that all there is left then is time management. You’ll manage your time to achieve your goals because you clearly know what you’re trying to achieve in your life.” — Patch Adams
IX. “The more aware of your intentions and your experiences you become, the more you will be able to connect the two, and the more you will be able to create the experiences of your life consciously. This is the development of mastery. It is the creation of authentic power.” — Gary Zukav
X. “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” — William A. Foster
XI. “Energy is directed by intention into action. If the action is not happening, if you’re finding excuses to not do whatever you set out to do, revisit your intention. Perhaps you were not being honest with yourself. Where is your energy flowing instead? That is where your intention sits.” — Akiroq Brost
XII. “Guard your time fiercely. Be generous with it, but be intentional about it.” — David duChemin
XIII. “Gratitude in advance is the most powerful creative force in the Universe.” — Neale Donald Walsh
XIV. “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” — Wilfred Arlan Peterson, The Art of Living, Day by Day
XV. “Intention is more than wishful thinking—it’s willful direction. It is a philosophy of the heart put into practice, a consistency of conscious patterns of thought, energy, and action. Through intention, we see more and create with more clarity, passion, and authenticity. Our attention then becomes a spotlight for every shred of supporting evidence that we’re on the right path.” — Jennifer Williamson
XVI. “I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” — Henry David Thoreau
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The key to becoming more spiritually awakened is rooted in the ability to operate at a higher frequency. As vague as this may sound, it is shorthand for an actual experience. It includes our behaviors, our emotions, the way we feel in our body, the thoughts that frequent our mind, our ability to connect to our spiritual resources, and our comprehension and embodiment of our spiritual truths.
While spiritual breakthroughs can happen in a seemingly random way, the path of spiritual awakening is one of intention. Without intention our path forward will be much slower … if we move forward much at all.
Intention is critical to our spiritual awakening because:
· Clarifying our intention helps us act in ways that are in alignment with our spiritual ideals.
· It helps us navigate the sometimes intense and confusing emotions we’ll encounter on our path.
· We’ll more easily clear lower and negative energies from our body via a clear sense of what we want versus what we’ve been tolerating.
· It encourages us to practice our spirituality in ways that best serve us.
· The very act of setting an intention to connect to our spiritual resources is exactly what opens up the connection and contact to our spiritual resources.
· Our intention to understand ourselves and life more deeply guides our seeking and helps us comprehend the unveiled spiritual truths that have guided people throughout time.
Wherever you find yourself on your spiritual path, take a moment here at the beginning of 2018 and clarify what your intentions are for your life in general and in your spiritual development specifically. Take a moment to write your intentions down so that this time next year, you can benefit from the year-long proof that setting a positive intention to aid your spiritual awakening works.
Find more valuable information to support you in your spiritual development on Dr. Kate’s free online workshop page.
L. O. V. E. Four simple letters that spell a very BIG word. Even the most eloquent of us, from John Keats to Carrie Bradshaw, have stumbled over words as big as LOVE. We’ve all been there, and we’ve all set an intention for love in hopes of avoiding these stumbles. Whether we are entering into new relationships, or refreshing old ones, we have a vision of what they will be. We might want to set the course in a new direction, or bring in someone who does not replicate the problematic situations of previous relationships. Whatever the specifics of our intention for love, it is a focus on what is important to us now and what we want to experience in the future.
Intentionality is an important practice that, with understanding and dedication, can bring beneficial change to our lives. For one thing, intentions take work. We do not just wish things into being. We set an intention, and then we identify and practice the things that will support that intention. For another, it is important to practice intention without attachment. Intention without attachment means creating and holding an intention without becoming attached to a specific manifestation of the outcome of that intention. Setting an intention for love is no different.
What you need to know about setting an intention for love is that you will still stumble in love (or out of it) despite your best intentions, and that’s ok.
No amount of intention for love will save us from seeing what we need to see and learning what we need to learn, through relationship. No matter how awkward or painful, some lessons are only learned through experience. And that’s just the way it is. The best thing you can do is learn how to be more loving with yourself and others so that, whether or not your intention for love manifests, you can be in relationship with clarity, understanding, and conviction.
If you are ready to open yourself up to bring love into your life, you should be happy and proud of your assuredness in doing so. Know that Love is a journey, not a destination, and use these reminders to help you set your intention for love.
Be clear: I can’t tell you how many people I have heard say, “I made a list of exactly what I wanted in a partner and I met him/her! It is uncanny how he/she is everything on the list.” It is true that if you are clear about what you want, you will find it. So, go ahead! Make your list, and make sure it includes everything you can think of that you want.
Open to more: The flip-side to the list exercise is the reality that we don’t know what we don’t know. Your most detailed list of the traits you know you want in a partner won’t include the traits you didn’t think of – which might be wonderful – or the traits you’ve never encountered – which might be challenging. We want to be open to what is in our highest and best interest, regardless of whether we are consciously aware of it or not.
Hold onto the feeling:The best way to stay on track with an intention is to connect with the feeling that is associated with this intention. By connecting and reconnecting with this feeling, we are strengthening our process and intensifying our result. If we become doubtful or hopeless, it is this feeling that will help us stay the course.
Get rid of the baggage: It is hard to get something you do not feel like you deserve. If you have unresolved emotions or negative beliefs that are holding you back from being free and clear to get what you want, I suggest you do what is necessary to get them out of the way. A Breakthrough session with me can be helpful in this regard. However, you want to pay attention to when and where negative emotions and beliefs show up after you set your intention. This will help you open and receive what you truly want.
Remain unattached: To get what you really want you can’t get sidetracked by everything that is almost what you want. This means that when presented with an option that falls short, you acknowledge the shortcoming and let it go, holding your intention for what you truly want. It also means that when something comes your way, you both accept that it might be what you are truly looking for and give it the space and time to be what it truly is.
Learn to receive: We can be as intentional as we can be, but unless we learn to receive, our intention will not come to fruition. Receiving is an art that can be practiced. If you think that you might be challenged in this area, then start small. Start receiving compliments, gifts, and well-wishes as completely as you can. This practice will help you get more of whatever you want in your life, including love.
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Most of us are aware that being intentional has many benefits for our life, but did you know that the key to really getting results is intention without attachment?
Intention without attachment means creating and holding an intention without becoming attached to a specific manifestation of the outcome of that intention. When we become attached to an outcome looking, or being, a certain way, we activate our fears related to having or not having it. This fear then shows up as a block in our path or draws negativity to it. This is often the reason why some people come to believe that setting intentions does not work.
Attachment is our over-investment in a particular outcome. We become attached because of some pain from the past that still haunts us, or because of an unmet need we have. In short, we become attached because of fear – fear that we might be hurt the way we were or suffer the same disappointment. This fear is potent. It is very often stronger than our new found intention and, because of this, creates chaos where we are trying to create order.
When we begin to notice that we have attachments that do not serve us, we are likely to wonder how we might let them go so that we can have more of what we want and create a happier life. However, we may not know how to let go of them.
One thing that we can do is recognize our unmet needs and begin to meet them in healthier ways. When we do this they cease getting in our way. We get stronger, healthier, and happier.
Another thing that we can do to let go of attachment is to begin to heal the pains of the past. In this case, it means fully mourning what was lost or not attained and coming to terms with the inevitable disappointments of life in a way that allows us to fully embrace a different tomorrow, despite the risks involved.
When we do this, our fear of having events repeat themselves diminishes, and, with it, our attachment to the outcome. We are left with a positive intention for what we want to bring into our life and we know we will be OK regardless of whether or not this need is met. Without the need for any more effort, we are at peace. This peace translates into a deep happiness that we can be both open to what we want and trust enough to know that what we get is what we truly need.
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One of the main problems we run into when we create something new is that we focus on what we don’t want to see happen, so much so that we forget to get clear about what we do want. This is true whether we’re starting a new business, a new relationship, or a new habit. Inevitably, when we pay more attention to what we don’t want we’re not able to see what we do want and how we can achieve or attain it. Intention is a big buzz word these days – from yoga classes to business journals. Let’s break down what intention is really all about.
In essence, intention is the energy we focus on a particular outcome. As you’ve probably experienced, how we use our energy can have a huge affect on what happens in our lives! Intention is also our conscious – and often times our unconscious – thoughts and feelings about an outcome. So, what we think and feel about what we want makes a big difference in our ability to bring it into our lives.
Even when we’ve made our intention clear, sometimes we don’t get what we’ve set out for. Other times, we intend for one thing to happen and something entirely unexpected occurs. When your intention does not match your outcome, pay attention. It’s these moments that give us clues that something we’re doing might be keeping us from the results we seek.
Often times, we have lots of unconscious thoughts that oppose our conscious ones. When this happens, we’re unaware of what we’re doing that creates undesired outcomes. Another thing may of us do is that we spend a lot of time ruminating on our negative intentions. When we do this, we can’t see when possibilities to get what we want present themselves. This is because we’re so focused on what we don’t want that we fail to see an opportunity to get what we do want.
The good news is that we can change how we use our energy. Getting to know ourselves better and building some new habits can go a long way towards creating the outcomes we desire. Here are three things that you can do today to help bring your intentions into being.
Recognize Your Unconscious Opposition for What It Is
This one can be tricky. It’s pretty clear that we’re not aware of what we’re not aware of (duh!). So, how do we turn this around? In this instance, personal development work is the answer. When we examine ourselves and look for our blind spots, we’re generally able to find them. Personal development work helps us see how our thoughts, beliefs, and actions might have created the “negative intentions” that have held us back. And when we’re aware of our blind spots, we’re able to change our thinking so that we can begin to see the things we did not see before.
Be Patient with Yourself While You’re Building New Habits
A funny thing happens when we start using positive intentions. We may spend a few moments of each day focused on something we want to happen. And then we spend the rest of our day in our default mode – which is the same mode that got us where we didn’t want to be in the first place. All too often, we get frustrated and assume that our effort to bring about our intention is just not working. What we fail to remember in these moments is that it takes time to set a new default. And, it takes more time than saying an affirmation three times a day. So, be patient with yourself. Anything that focuses our energy in a positive direction is helpful, but it may take time to see the big results.
Practice Creative Thinking
Our negativity limits our thinking. It stops us from seeing what we could have or could create. And, quite frankly, when we spend time focused on what we don’t want, we have little time left over to imagine what we do want. To counteract this, take time each day to come up with creative ways to bring more of what you want into your life. What solutions haven’t you thought of? What could you do today that would be different and exciting? The point here is to practice thinking about what you can do and what you’d have fun doing. Creative thinking is linked to positive thinking. And when you can do both, your dreams can grow big.
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In one week, I am starting my LifeWork Community program. If you relate to my blog, workshops or book and you are not too far a drive from Providence, you really need to talk to me about this program! LifeWork Community is about creating a fabulous, intentional, creative and impactful life. It is going to be amazing and I know you will want in.
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The first workshop in this new program is about being more intentional. Until we know just what we want to create and some of the steps we know we need to take to consistently to make it happen, we tend to be less satisfied, have less of a sense of meaning, and get hit or miss results.
There is this great question that I read somewhere, I can’t remember where right now. It is: What would you want if you were absolutely certain you would get it?
Take a moment to think about that.
Is your answer any different than what you are going about creating on a regular basis? If it is, this is a perfect place to employ the practice of intention.
What if your intention was to create what you really want instead of what you have convinced yourself that you can have?
What would you need to do on a regular basis to be as likely as possible to create what it is that you truly want? And, who would you need to be in order to reach that desired goal for yourself?
These questions are at the heart of intentional and fulfilled living.