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The Problem With Intentions

setting intentionsIt’s an exciting new year, and many of us deliberate creators have faithfully set inspiring intentions for 2012.

Some of the goals I’ve heard from fellow creators are to pay off debt, find true love, recover full health, lose the baby fat, grow the business, get promoted, travel internationally, get healthy, grow the circle of friends, move to a new city, finish the creative project (books, portfolio, videos), etc.

We’ve got great plans for the new year, huh?!

The problem with setting intentions like this is that by doing so we may inadvertently sabotage that very success.

It may be that a more empowering creative practice would be simply to celebrate what we’ve already created.  And not focus at all on what we want next.

Here’s why:

Sometimes setting intentions amplifies our awareness of what we don’t have.  And that vibration doesn’t allow it to manifest.

The truth is that we don’t have to write it down again, or put it on a vision board, or visualize it in our meditations.  Because if putting more focus on what we want emphasizes our knowledge that it isn’t here yet, that just creates a bigger vibrational gap to the goal.

All we have to do to get what we want is match the vibration of it.  Which just means feel better.  Sometimes that is best done by appreciating what’s already here rather than intending the next good thing.

Loving where you are (or even just accepting where you are) may very well be your best ticket to an even more fabulous 2012.

Which sounds strange to say, because sometimes I feel like a “delinquent creator” when I’m not regularly engaging intentional exercises like pray rain journaling, scripting, or visualizing.

Others have said to me they don’t see how life will change if they accept what it is now.  As if resistance fuels change!

But if your intention is born out of not loving life now, focusing on that intention may just enhance the contrast, not the alignment.

Someone asked Abraham recently whether we should even be attempting to manifesting things because it’s so easy to get attention locked on what’s not here when we do that.  Abe’s suggestion was to let the feeling be the goal instead (i.e. the interest, fun, love, appreciation, passion).

Because if you feel any negativity, setting a goal (or intention) only compounds the resistance.

Well, we would never do that, right?

We only feel excitement and enthusiasm for what we want!

But it’s easy to fool ourselves.

As Abe said to another workshop participant, when you want to “take it to the next level,” it’s a sign you’re not loving the level you’re at.

They said the best way to foster your expanding goodness is to:

  • accept that where you are is perfect
  • appreciate where you stand
  • release resistance about what is
  • while acknowledging generally that there is another level and that it’s coming

… and in that you allow the next level to reveal itself to you.  You won’t break a sweat, and you’ll be filled with inspired actions and ideas, finding yourself in the right place at the right time with synchronicities swirling all around.

I like the way Jonathan Fields described it in his 2011 annual report:

I find myself holding a seemingly bizarre duality in my mind and my heart; at once abandoning hope of a cure (this frees me to build the practices and take the actions that help me live a good life), while also remaining open to the possibility that someday, something may come along. It’s a very Buddhist way of being, balancing presence, practice and acceptance with a sense of non-attached aspiration toward a different state. It’s a dance I’m still very much a student of, teetering along the fine line between acceptance and complacency, aspiration and desire.

That’s how I like to think of it, too.  As a dance where we find the sweet spot of loving what is while allowing (looking forward to) what’s next.

Look, I did set some lovely intentions for 2012.  And I know that one of the most powerful ways I can support those manifestations is by loving what’s here now.

Have to admit, that’s pretty good homework for the year.  🙂

  • January 14, 2012

Chewing Bones & Manifesting Dreams

manifesting someone else's dream?Six year old Sadie is the undisputed alpha of our dog pack. She’s usually a benevolent and generous leader, but on rare occasion she flies a different flag.
She revealed that other side when I unwrapped a new rawhide bone the other day – a rare treat at our house.
(I’d picked them up for our pit bull foster pup, but he got adopted before finishing them.)
The thing is, Sadie doesn’t like rawhide bones that much.
What she does like, though, is having what the other dogs want.  She seems to take pleasure in lording it over them, prancing around with it to make sure everyone sees it.
I don’t speak dog fluently, but I bet her song goes something like, “It’s mine; I’m the boss; you want it but can’t have it.”

(If I’m projecting … oh boy!)

Anyway, when Sadie’s home alone, she has no interest in bones.  It’s only because her packmates want it that she’s all over it.

Joe’s even resorted to fake barking at the back door, sending out a false alarm in an attempt to trick her into distraction.  Alas, even Russ coming home from work won’t tear her away from the bone she doesn’t really want to eat.

Watching Sadie pretend to enjoy the bone she doesn’t really want made me wonder if I do the same thing.  Am I chewing on bones that aren’t mine?
Have I wanted something only because everyone else does? Or because having it reinforces my “status”?
I know I’ve fallen for this before, when it came to college degree, marriage, corporate career, expensive car, and probably even with ideal body intentions, too.
Clients consistently want help with career success, bigger bank accounts, better relationships, etc.  But I suspect part of the reason some of us aren’t so good at manifesting that stuff is because it isn’t what we really want.
As spring unfolds, I started thinking about manifesting a beautiful yard this year – thick, full green lawn bordered by thriving flowers and bushes.  But is that what I really want?  Or is that someone else’s bone?
It made me wonder more … what if my people didn’t care about long term relationships or financial security or even service to others?
And what would I want if I were raised in a culture where war was revered … or that success was measured by how much pleasure one experienced, rather than how much we got done or how many lives we influenced?
If your dreams are slow in manifesting, it might be worth checking to make sure they’re really yours.
What would you want if you were strictly under the influence of your own heart?
Knowing the answer involves taking the time ask, as we’re chewing on our latest bones, “Is this really what I want?”  Not because there aren’t enough bones to go around – there are.  But because we each deserve to live our own best life.  Not someone else’s idea of it.

  • April 13, 2011