The GPS of Intent, Part I

intention 3As you probably know, the name of this blog is “Focus Pocus:  The Magic of Inquiry and Intent.”  After a year of writing it, I realize that it’s a misnomer.  There is no magic in inquiry and intent – only power.  Inquiry is our willingness to dive in, explore and investigate.  Intent is the fuel behind what we do.  Intent is the direction that we go.  If it’s a conscious intent, we will go where we want to go.  If it’s an unconscious intent, we’ll go where we happen to go.  Intention’s not magic, but it has the potential to guide us to where we want to be.

What am I putting into my GPS?

The thing is, usually, I’m not conscious or clear about what my intent is.  I am so driven by habit and conditioning, that I do what I do without thinking too precisely about WHY I am doing it!  Even when I do think about why, my intentions are rarely well-defined about the outcome I want.  It’s like getting in the car and typing just any ol’ thing into my GPS.  I might end up somewhere great but if I do, it wasn’t because I gave it any thought or planning.

Nia Cycle 1:  Focus and Intent

In Cycle 1 of every Nia class, the instructor sets the focus and intent.  The focus is what we place our attention on:  it may be a body part or a movement or a sensation.  The intent is the why:  the result that we want to create.  For example, the focus might be on the feet with the intent of cultivating stability, or the focus could be on the feet with the intent of promoting mobility.  Same focus:  different experiences and outcomes because of a different intent.

In my experience (both in my classes and in others’), the intent often goes unspoken and sometimes even unconsidered.  And this is a missed opportunity.  In my experience, when I direct my intention clearly, I have a much more powerful experience and I get closer to the outcomes I really want.

The Habit of Focus on Focus

But somehow, it’s easy not to do.  Somehow I just find myself driving aimlessly!  As I prepared to return from my sabbatical this fall, I made a commitment to be more clear about my intentions for my classes (and my life choices, too!).  And dang, it’s been a challenging commitment to fulfill.  My habit of thinking a lot about the what and not give so much attention to the why, the result is a habit that dies hard.

Not to worry, though, it’s all a practice!  Tomorrow, I’ll post Part II in which we’ll look at simple ways to frame an intent to make it positive and effective!  Stay tuned!  See you tomorrow!

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