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intention 4It’s pretty simple.  Not even sure 100 words are needed.  Intent is the fuel.  Intent is the direction we are pointing ourselves.  Intent is our GPS of Your Life.  Intent is the why of what we do; the result we want to create.  What is the most important and beautiful intention of your body, your mind, your heart?  An intent is worth setting.

To set an intent:  get clear, write it down, make it important, make it positive and in the present tense, and put yourself in it.  Then share it!

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to each other.  Happy 2013.

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.

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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