The GPS of Intent, Part II

intention 4When we left off in yesterday’s post, I was saying that when I came back from my sabbatical, I wanted to be clearer about setting intentions in class and for my life.  I wanted to focus on the why/the results I wanted to create as much as the what!  But boy howdy, I’ve been challenged to break my focus-focused habit!

Feel Intention in Movement

Which is a bummer, since intention unleashes a boatload of energy and moves me in the direction I want to go.  In the body, intention delivers immediate shifts in movement and sensation.  Play with me for a minute here:  right now, push your right palm forward and then pull it back.  Do it three or four times noticing the sensation.  Now, push your right palm forward with the intent of cultivating strength.  Do that a few times and see how it feels.  When I do this, I can feel my whole arm and core working in a completely different way once my intention is engaged.  Did that happen for you?  Imagine if we danced a whole class with that kind of directed attention!  Imagine if we lived a whole day like that…or a year!

Setting an Intention

Instead of setting a resolution, the first of the year is a great time to set intentions.  What is the fuel that will energize my year?  What is the destination that I want to plug into the GPS of Life?  Seriously, if I was going on a trip, it’s not likely that I would just say, let’s go “west-ish.”  I’d have a specific address that I was heading for.  That’s what an intention is:  the address where you want to go!

Where Do You Want to Go?

Start by determining what you want your intention to be about.  Think about an aspect of your life where you’d like to see a shift:  your relationships, or your work, your eating habits, or maybe your Nia practice.  Or you might have a specific task or habit you want to form or break.  Or maybe there is an overarching intent you’d like for the coming year or season, like more balance or more kindness or more fun.  Decide what result you’d like to move toward.

Get Clear

Next, clarify your intention. One of the best ways to get clear is to write it down.  It doesn’t have to be grandiose:  in fact, the simpler and clearer, the better.

As you pick up your pen (or keyboard), here are some intention-setting guides:  (1) make your intention something you really want, (2) make it positive and in the present, and (3) put yourself in it, front and center!  First, choose and intent that you really want – if you’re going to harness this energy toward something, best to do it around something that really flips your skirt (or britches)!  Second, write your intent in the present tense as if it has already happened (that is, “I am more balanced in my body and my life” instead of “I will build more balance in my life”).  State your intent in the positive (that is, “I have a wheat-free diet” instead of “I will stop eating wheat”).  And third, make it an “I” statement.  It’s not an abstract intention it is yours.  Put yourself in the center of it.

Share It

A second, excellent way to reinforce your intent is to share it with someone.  Tell a friend or a spouse or a classmate what your intention is and suddenly, it feels a little more real.  Writing it or speaking it doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to do it (you may always change your mind and your intention at any time), but it directs more energy toward what you want to create if you do more than say it inside your little noggin.

Susan’s Intent…Now Yours!

As 2012 winds up, I invite you to step into the new year with intent.  For myself, know that my ultimate goal in everything I do is to help myself and others be happier and healthier.  So with that destination plugged into my GPS of Life, I am recommitting to giving more attention and clearer expression to my intent.  So here are my intentions (one for my teaching and one for my life in 2013).  I’m writing it down and sharing it with you, my blog peeps:

I clearly set the intention at the beginning of every class.

I make space and time for creativity, exploration, play and love.

Your turn!  Direct your energy and attention by setting an intention for yourself.  Write your intention for 2013 and share it below!

And thank you for being part of the first year of Focus Pocus!  I look forward to continuing to explore the “magic” of inquiry and intent with you in 2013.

  1. Rebecca Trexler said:

    I just finished reading Eckhart Tolle so my intent is, as he says, to be present.

    • That’s huge, Becky. Our minds just love being in the past and future. It is a practice and takes intention to be here now. Thanks for sharing it, and let me know how it goes! xoxo S

  2. Karen LeMaire said:

    My intention for both Thursday’s and Friday’s classes was “joy” because that is why I come to Nia class (besides getting a good workout). I honestly have not felt such joy since childhood. (I often just can’t help grinning…) However, it has been interesting to contemplate having the word “joy” as a background idea for ALL of 2013. How does one do laundry with joy or sit through an upsetting meeting at work with some sense of joy?? It’s definitely worth pursuing, and I thank you for helping me contemplate such worthy ideas — and perhaps bring some NIA joy into the rest of my life.

    • Ah, yes! This is so brilliant, Karen! First of all, no matter what our intention is for doing Nia (or any other practice we love), it’s always interesting to carry that out into other parts of our lives. And in regards to joy in particular, I invite you to consider if “joy” is your intent or if it is “Joy”. The lower-case version is often connected with enJOYment or pleasure, but the Big-J Joy is about being fully present and participating with whatever is happening. So doing laundry with Joy could be really feeling the fabric of each piece as you fold it, or breathing some love to the bodies that were recently held by each garment. Sitting through an upsetting meeting with a sense of Joy, could just be you sensing your body and physical sensations as difficult topics are discussed. Or feeling compassion for yourself or others at the meeting. Definitely worth pursuing, as you say! Do let me know how I can help more! In Joy, Susan

      • Karen LeMaire said:

        Thank you, Susan. That is incredibly helpful. I really have been thinking of joy as something like giddy pleasure, and that’s what I feel when I’m doing Nia. Now I have a whole new way of thinking about JOY — participating with whatever is happening. Surely a lifetime practice… Before this week’s Nia classes I had ordered a book called “How to Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness”. It arrived today, and I was amazed by the subtitle: Simple Daily Mindfulness Practices for Living Life More Fully and Joyfully. Kismet! Again, thank you. Karen

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