Intention setting is often confused with establishing a goal. Discerning the difference is an essential teaching because our intentions continually shape our reality; alternatively expressed as “we reap what we sow.” Intention describes how we will BE in order to HAVE what we seek. Intention is oriented to the mechanics of the fulfillment of the desire that is motivating our goal. Gaining clarity on what is truly desired is a necessary step in the process of “drilling down” to the G.R.A.C.E. step to recall intention. To clarify your desire, you have two choices. First, you can reverse engineer an important current goal to understand why it really matters to you. This is desire/what is sought to be experienced from achieving the goal. If you are in a phase of not having clear goals, you can again reverse engineer your way to clarifying your desire by considering what you have been tolerating in life. The opposite of that is likely a desire around which a goal can be established.
Once desire is clear, then we get to our intention by consider what conditions are necessary to support the desire that is the primary motivator for attaining the goal. For example, this pandemic has imposed more time at home for many of us, which may have led to one or more projects. Maybe the project involves decluttering a home office, building a patio or learning to play a guitar. Fast forward and imagine deeply enjoying the benefits of your completed project and experiencing feelings of _____? Several choices may fill the blank, so take the time TO FEEL each one to identify the most satisfying feeling as a clue to desire. Our body is our best ally here, so mindfully observe bodily sensations of this projected future enjoyment more so than using cognitive processes. How is the body responding to each of the five senses within this projection of goal achievement? Is smiling or frowning present? Recall observations of whatever is happening now are made with a spirit of curiosity and kindness, to feel all feelings without judging them as good or bad.
Let’s say project completion would satisfy a desire to FEEL organized or calm or strong or focused or creative. To hone intention, dig deep by looking for a desire may be behind the first desire which is really to BE this way in life as it is right now. Intention is stated in the present tense: I AM ___ (calm, organized, strong, focused, creative etc.). Once intention is stated, then pay attention to all the conditions that could support it, right now. These conditions will map out an ideal self-care plan as they will articulate the mechanics of the fulfillment of the desire motivating the pursuit of the goal. Self-care generated in this way does not create a to DO list but rather an intended way to BE, right now . Perhaps one may BE rested, attentive, creative, well-nourished, playful, etc., as conditional for experiencing the intention statement I AM ___. Recalling intention for self-care in this way makes it sustainable by directly supporting what is valued most.