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Intention by Clia Tierney, MA

Thankfully, 2021 is about to begin. Upon looking forward, what do you plan to focus on in this new year? How do you plan to follow through on these ideas? A helpful place to start is with the concept of creating an INTENTION. It can be as simple as pausing each day to breathe deeply, or more complex like extending kindness in the world.


WHY start the year with an intention?

Intentions can be our guide to living purposefully and directing our energy and attention in a thoughtful way. In her book, Living with Intent, Malika Chopra writes, “by … living each day in alignment with our best, worthiest, most honorable intentions, we’ll find our path through the world.”


The dictionary definition of intention includes an aim, an aspiration, a plan or a dream. In yoga, intention is often defined by the Sanskrit word sankalpa. A sankalpa is a resolution stated positively and in the present; it is designed to focus and harmonize the mind, body and spirit. It is not necessarily results-oriented.


Intention typically begins with awareness, a waking up to your present experience. Setting an intention requires some stillness and silence. Begin by inquiring, “How am I right now in this very moment?” This awareness can be in your thoughts, in your body and/or in how you are feeling. Be compassionate with yourself: present, non-judgmental attention takes practice! Ask yourself a few additional questions, like “Who am I and who do I want to be?” or “What do I want?” Be curious about what the answers look like for you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Take time for this reflection. Dream and imagine! I recommend spending time writing, drawing or somehow creating in your journal what you learn from your responses. Then reflect. Are the answers what you want them to be? Do you need to shift your energy?

As you make time for the process of discovering your intention, you may find that more than one arises. It’s okay to allow for that possibility; there is no right or wrong. Some examples of intentions might be I am fully present, I am loving and kind, I feel grounded, I am aware, I am calm under pressure or I am energetic. Remember to state your intention(s) positively and in the present. Once you set your intention, how will you remember it? How will it best serve you going forward? Keep directing your energy toward your intention and you will focus there. Some suggestions to remember and benefit from your intention are:

  • Meditation — place one hand on your heart and one on your belly and sit in silence for a time; use the Insight Timer app on your phone.

  • Mantra — in meditation or yoga or just throughout the day, use a word or two to remind you of your intention (e.g., peace, calm, breathe, love) and repeat it to yourself.

  • Journaling — write, draw or create about your intention; jot down moments when you are living in alignment with what you intend.

  • Daily self-care rituals — notice your habits and routines and ask, “Is this in alignment with my intention?” What could you add that supports you?

  • Act — I often write my intention on a Post-it note and put it on my bathroom mirror as a reminder.

Living with intent often involves baby steps and, occasionally, giant leaps. Either way, remember not to rush the process, to give yourself space and to gently return to your reminder practice when you get distracted or pulled off course. Keep in mind that living with intent is a journey. Celebrate when you follow your intended path. Also, allow for self-compassion when you veer off course. Hold space for your intention in your head and heart and keep returning to it, not as a goal but as a guide. “Intentions set the compass of our heart in the direction we want to head. They connect us with our personal vision, aspiration and motivation. Like the rudder on a sailboat, our intentions keep us on course, reminding us again and again of what is most important.“

(Shauna Shapiro)


Resources


Clia Tierney, MA

The owner of Asante Wellness Coaching, Clia Tierney helps clients move past "stuck" into possibility. She coaches people to overcome obstacles and obtain clarity about their goals. Through the process, personal transformation takes place, resulting in greater well-being, life balance and fulfillment.


Clia's professional background and life experiences as a teacher, educational therapist, yogi, wife, mother of teenagers, daughter and sister have fueled her passion for helping clients of all ages identify and reduce their stress and struggle so that they can discover their purpose and confidently move forward.


cstierney@gmail.com

Website: Asante Wellness

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