May 6, 2016

The Impact of Daily Intentions

My daily intention: Stay Loose; and some other touchpoints
(in this case, bracelets) to remind me of what's important
I've been working on mindfulness for a while now. It used to be that I spent a lot of my time lost in thoughts of the past or the future. Nowadays I'm more likely to get lost in thoughts of all the things I should be getting done or plotting how I will manage to get them all done (and doing laps in the pool of guilt and shame for not getting more accomplished each day). But I'm trying not to do that.

I'm also trying to focus on what's important rather than what seems urgent. One of the ways I do this is by setting a daily intention--an over-riding idea, theme, objective for my day, each day. I try to do this right when I wake up, but sometimes it's more like 9am before I give it the thought it needs. Sometimes it's a phrase, sometimes it's just one word.

Today's intention is Cherish.

I often write my daily intention on my hand, the way I used to write reminders or phone numbers when I was a kid (before I could just type them into my phone). It wears off by the end of the day, but it makes for an easy reminder all day long of what I want to bring to my day.

Today's intention is born from recent conversations about how fast kids grow up and yet another news article about someone walking into a business with a gun and opening fire on the people inside. (I never thought the day would come when I would sit in my favorite coffee shop and think: someone could walk in here and start shooting people. Yeah, it could have happened ten or fifteen years ago, but I never would have thought of it, because it would have been rare.)

So today's intention is a reminder to Cherish the people who are most important to me. To hug my kids tighter. To say yes when they want to play. To Cherish their little faces and their sweet souls. To Cherish my day and my life. To remember what's really important to me and honor it all the way it should be honored every day.

Sometimes my intention is broader like this: Focus. Love. Be Joyful. Be calm. Say yes. Breathe.

And sometimes it's more specific: Approach everyone with love. Find peace in the chaos. See the beauty everywhere.

It's a small thing to do. But I think it has an impact on my day. Sometimes I'm driving and getting annoyed by the traffic, or worried that I'll be late for something, and then I see the words Be Joyful on my hand and I feel myself physically relax and change my internal dialogue from "Shit, I'm going to be late. Move people!" to "Is it really that big of a deal if I'm a few minutes late? The traffic is out of my control. Just breathe and listen to the music."

If I decide when I wake up in the morning that I'm going to live that day with a specific intention, it actually can make a difference in how my day goes.

It's amazing the power of our thoughts. Good or bad.

Choose good.

Until next time...focus, love, be joyful, be calm, say yes, and breathe.