Since launching Seeds of Intention last Summer, I realize that bringing these cards into the world was just the beginning – the seed – in my journey of understanding intentions. Bringing this ‘product’ into the world was a little bit like having a baby (albeit far easier). When I finished creating them and had them finally printed, there was a fleeting sense of completion. However, I would quickly learn that they’re here to teach me on an ongoing basis. It’s like getting pregnant – it can seem like a very big feat and giving birth well, that IS a very big feat. Yet, it’s only the beginning of a lifetime of learning and opportunities to grow.
Seeds of Intention are a mini deck of 42 cards. Each has a simple “for today” intention. For today I know that I’m enough. For today I take a risk. For today I’m grateful. They’re small in physical size so you can throw them in your bag, place them on your desk or carry them in your wallet. And – small in the daily tasks they suggest.
I stumbled upon the documentary Happy last night on Netflix. (Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vZ1LutLRRY) Fascinated by all things related to joy, I couldn’t resist this look at different cultures and classes, how socioeconomic conditions affect happiness and how our brains are wired for this.
They showed a fascinating pie-chart that stated that 50% of our happiness is based on our genetics, 10% is based on our socioeconomic situation and 40% is intentional. I had personally found intentions to be powerful but, this is a pretty “stop in your tracks” kind of stat. And – only 10% related to jobs and money – that seems really low. Whether we agree with the numbers or not, the force behind intention is formidable. Wherever we put our energy and our attention, that is what is going to show up for us.
Wayne Dyer always disputed the Law of Attraction choosing to put it this way “The law of attraction is this: You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.” When we enter the world with strong intentions (intentions to be kind, to be loving, to be open), we will draw similar experiences and people to us. Wanting things, desiring things, needing things only attracts like – which is desperation, hunger and greed.
Intentions are powerful because they come from within. By setting a daily intention, I’m choosing my purpose for the day. I’m honouring how I want to ‘be’ in the world. When life goes sideways (which it inevitably will), I’m mindful of my intention and navigate accordingly. Living with intention allows us to respond to situations as they arrive instead of reacting. For a long time in my life, I lived at the mercy of external stimuli and expectations. I lost my centre and I was ridden with anxiety. I felt out of control and desperately inadequate. Many things changed that and living intentionally played a big part (perhaps 40%!). Adrienne, just do the next right thing.
I also believe that the effects of living intentionally has cumulative effects. Much like the research studies that show how a regular meditation practice rewires your brain in incredible ways. Perhaps that it is why our intentions can have such a radical impact on our happiness.
If we are living from a place of our most authentic selves and showing up in the kindest, most loving way possible, I have to believe that deep joy is available to us. We are in charge of our own happiness. We set the course.
Another superpower of intentions is that they can be small – bite-size even. Like the Seeds of Intention “for today” message, we can do anything for one day. We can try out kindness. We can set a new goal. We can take a risk. We can connect to nature. Intentions can move us out of our ruts and make us look at situations in a new light. If we’re mindful of our intentions throughout the day, we might find they change how we respond.
Small shifts made day after day create massive shifts. Think of how a huge ocean-liner turns around. They don’t crank the steering wheel. It’s degrees at a time. And – that multi-tonne vessel takes a detour. I really believe in this. It has been true in my own life.
Small changes are manageable. They’re not scary or intimidating. We can try them on for size. Small changes repeated daily become habits. They become a way of life and of being in the world. The way of being is our centre, our core of truth and the place we navigate from. That’s the 40% the can affect the way we deal with things. Life happens. Adversity will strike and we will have the coping mechanisms to deal with them if we are living intentionally and from a place that makes us joyful.