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Daily Intention: Being Kind

27 Apr

I got a compliment from my friend Alexis last night, about my ability to pause and reflect, and to stay present to the moment.  And while my first reaction was to beam with appreciation, my very next impulse was to explain to her all of the ways in which I am merely trying to live with more presence, and how often I hit the pavement radically short of what I hope or expect out of myself.  How all this intention setting is out of attempt to keep myself from sleepwalking through my days, or reacting out of reflex, without thought.  Both of which I still do often.

And then this morning, I read an email that included this paragraph:

“Before I indulge in my reaction to the compliment there comes an important step, the acceptance. We often fight off a compliment, meeting it where our personal struggles exist, making lists of reasons why this is not true. The acceptance of receiving a compliment is the faith that you can allow someone to have their experience. After, you get to have yours.

This is my surrender into the truth of what another is experiencing, without laying my own thoughts or judgements inside of it, simply being a receiver for the words and thoughts of another. When I give a compliment I am sharing my experience with someone, it is an honor to be accepted for believing what I do.”

Hannah Marcotti

 And I tried to remind myself that it was possible to accept a sweet compliment without qualifying it.  And to be kinder to myself than I could ever imagine would be possible, or allowed (Jen Lee nod).  So I decided that being kind to myself would be my intention today.

But then after a few unnecessary snaps at my husband this morning, I saw that the kindness also needed to be extended outside myself.

So I struggled for a while between whether I needed my intention to be focused on giving myself support… or giving my loved ones support, before I realized that choosing was silly.  And perhaps even abusing the point of this daily intention.  If kindness is what I feel is needed right now, I can dole it out to myself and my family simultaneously.

So here’s to being kind.

And here’s to hoping this intention seeps into my other days, and becomes a new reflex.

Daily Intention(s): Be Generous, and Listen

26 Apr

((Wednesday))

I’m starting to feel like a Cafe Gratitude menu… but my intention for yesterday was be generous.

I was thinking about the overnight trip I was making down to OC, and how visits to my hometown, while always eagerly anticipated, often wind up being a mixed bag of fun, lively coffee talks or old towne walks, and complicated befuddling family politics.

So somehow, it struck me that a potential antidote to the sometimes uncomfortable moments that occur, could be generosity.

Generosity in any form I could offer it up.

Generosity of time

Generosity of myself

Generosity of patience

Generosity in attention

Generosity in suspending any little sister/youngest daughter attitude I may normally be tempted to cop.

I wasn’t perfect, because let’s face it… old habits die hard.  Particularly where family dynamics are involved.  But it was a great mindset to begin with.  And return to.  And assist me in making the most of the short time I had down there.

I don’t think I’ve ever really thought of generosity in those terms before… and it’s something I want to practice far more often.

Then at end of the night, around 11pm maybe, the power went out!  Mid magazine read and conversation with my parents.  Out of the blue.  It was kind of creepy actually… but seeing as though I had already been getting tired over the past few hours, I took it as my cue to go to bed.  And my inspiration for today’s intention.

((Thursday))

To listen.  To take my cues from the universe, or my body, or my baby, or what people are trying to say to me, and really listen to them.  Rather than trying to superimpose my plans and premature conclusions upon them.  To really pay attention to how my surroundings are informing me throughout the day.

Because I really do think we are constantly given some pretty clear messages from our selves, those around us, and even our environment.  Answers to questions we ask over and over again, as though we don’t know the answer… when really, maybe we’re just ignoring them, or chattering over them, to suit our own agenda.

So today, I tried my best to listen.

Thanks for listening ; )

Daily Intention: Breathe

24 Apr

I had many variations of today’s intention before I settled on breathe.

After the luxurious slowing down of yesterday’s tone, I had thoughts of being proactive as a potential intention, a little counter balance.  But when I woke up this morning, 25 minutes before a doctor’s appointment, with a baby to feed, change and get dressed, as well as myself… I quickly decided be flexible was a more appropriate intention.

But of course, after that followed a tired, cranky baby, and my husband who needed the car for a meeting, throwing a kink into my errand running plans for the day.  And by noon… I found myself lecturing myself internally through gritted teeth and shallow breaths… “Be flexible!  Be flexible!”

That wasn’t going to improve my day in any way, shape or form.

So I took a cue from my attempted flexibility, and changed my intention.

What was the first thing I needed to do in order to try and approach the day with the flexibility it seemed to be asking of me…

Breathe.

So I’ve been adjusting my plans, working my errands around the times I had the car, and the places I could walk.  I’ve been trying to keep tuned in to the little one’s needs.  And whenever I start to feel frazzled or frantic…

I take a breath.

and then sometimes, I take another breath.

And another if necessary.

Until I’m no longer gritting my teeth.

And this, I discovered, has served me far better today than any more ambitious attitude I may have tried setting for myself.

I hope you’re all breathing today as well.

Daily Intention: Slow Down

23 Apr

I’m trying something new.

I did this yesterday and it went really wonderfully, so I’m going to keep it up.

I’m making an intention to hold for my day.  Kind of like an extended, occasional meditation.

Yesterday’s intention was to be accepting of the moment I was in.  Which was a really helpful intention to hold in my mind while I was at work, and often, would prefer to be elsewhere.

It reminded me a bit of the practice of choosing a word for the year… where it just serves as  a gentle reminder whenever I could feel myself start to get disgruntled.  It helped to bring me back, at least into a frame of mind that wasn’t struggling against my unavoidable reality.

Today, my intention is to go slow.

There was one visit, several years ago, that I made down to Orange County.  I was at my friend Nathan’s house and had just said a brief hello to his parents as we were heading out the door, when his dad stopped me.  Without having had any kind of update on things going on in my life at the time… he told me that he felt like I needed to hear something before I left.  Slow down. he said to me.  He said a few more things, I’m sure.  But to this day, I can still hear the soft, gentle tone of his voice, and feel his hand on my shoulder.  Slow down.

I told Nathan about it later and he reminded me that his dad had once been a pastor.  And also said that he definitely had a some prophetic sensitivities.  And I’ll never forget that.  Because it was, exactly the message I needed to hear back then.

And while life is dramatically slower paced than it once was… Internally, I often still feel like I’m running the hamster wheel.  So today, it’s my message to myself.  To slow down, take things as they come, and allow myself some mental space when I’m not sure what should come next.