Updated: Dec 19, 2019
Intention; ( in·ten·tion. ) /inˈten(t)SH(ə)n/ - noun
1. a thing intended; an aim or plan. “I intend to finish this project today”
Synonyms; aim, purpose, intent, objective, goal, target, design, plan, scheme, resolve, resolution, determination, wish, desire, ambition, idea, dream, aspiration, hope
2. In Medicine; the healing process of a wound
At the beginning of every yoga class, students are asked to first recognise something that they are grateful for. Gratitude creates a sense of fulfilment. We are recognising that something positive has already happened. Gratitude invokes the possibility that something more “good” can and will happen. This act sets the tone for ongoing success.
Next, I ask students to set an intention.
“What is it that has brought you here today?
“What do you hope to gain from todays practice?”
These are questions asked to inspire intention. Nothing can manifest or exist without first being thought of. By stating internally (or externally) what we want, thought begins the process of manifesting into form.
"Intentions compressed into words enfold magical power" Deepak Chopra
Intentions are thoughts directed towards a specific outcome. Whether I intend to workout today, or I intend to sell my house this year, both are thoughts with a goal attached. Thoughts are energy. By stating Intention for a thing, we are directing energy towards it.
"Energy flows where attention goes.” Albert Einstein
The definition of intention as it applies to medicine is “the healing process of a wound”. Throughout the yoga class, I remind students to check in with their gratitude and intention. My hope (intention) is to help students stay the course to achieve their intentions.
Hope is synonymous with intention. Having hope heals. It is fundamental to building resilience. Stating an intention gives us a place to start, and work from. It is like a waypoint, without it, we can wander through life aimlessly, and never find the road to fulfilment. With it, we have a direction to move towards. By stating an Intention, we are choosing to do something, making a choice, and with choice we are in control of something.
"If you chose not to decide, you still have made a choice" Getty Lee ~ Rush
1. Begin each day with a statement of gratitude.
“I am grateful for good health” “I am grateful for my dog” “I am grateful for…”
Studies have shown that gratitude creates a sense of fulfilment. We are recognising that something good has already happened. Gratitude invokes possibility that something more “good” can and will happen.
2. State your goals.
What do you want to achieve?
Consider what motivates you. Intention does not have to involve a task. We can intend to improve our behavior, for example, to be more patient, or drink less soda. Intention serves in many ways.
3. Set a positive intention each day.
“Today I will be more kind” “… I will create less waste” “…I will bake bread”
Write it down! Put it where you can see it and be reminded of your daily intention(s). If you have more than one intention for the day, make a list. If you are struggling with follow through, that’s okay! Be gentle with yourself. The more you practice intention setting, the better you will become at it.
Part 2 - My Story
“Intention … The healing process of a wound”.
Each day I make a list of the things I need to accomplish. Because I am self-employed, this works well to keep me on task. It is basically my "to do" list, but these days I prefer to call it my list of intentions. Intentions, or tasks, that don’t get done one day, make their way onto the next day's list, eventually getting checked off.
I began this practice years ago when my life was moving in many directions. I was raising a family, tending to farm animals, and running several businesses all at the same time. It was easy to forget important tasks. Lists were an essential tool to ensure important things did not get overlooked. It was also a way of keeping me motivated, and in a small way, it created a feeling of accomplishment as things were completed. I did not understand at the time, that these lists were really intentions.
But then, suddenly life as I knew it came to a screeching halt. An act of violence against my family destroyed the cadence of my life. I felt paralysed and hopeless, depressed and lost. The responsibilities of caring for my family and businesses were overwhelming and I needed a way to cope. In desperation, I made a list of what I needed to do:
Feed the dogs
Walk the dogs
This seems like an easy enough list, but at the time it hurt to simply breathe. I managed to make my way through my daily lists, somedays more successfully than others.
At the end of each day, I could review and see progress as additional intentions were gradually added. Seeing progress as I checked off items brought back the feeling of accomplishment and it began to help me build hope.
Hope; my favourite synonym for intention.