The other day I was on a bus heading into the office on a rainy and dreary morning filled with dark skies and wild winds. There was a heaviness in air. The energy of the people around me felt low and flat and I watched them fuss, struggle and grumble through the bus.
As I looked around I noticed everyone on their phones, logging on to social media and checking emails. Scrolling, scanning and clicking.
Heads down, immersed in their screen and lost in an online world. In many ways totally unconscious, completely lost in thinking and the external world. Disconnected from themselves.
And this really is the way so many of us begin our days and run our lives.
As I was pondering on this and the impact it has on how our day unfolds, something else caught my eye.
The man in front of me was on his mobile phone but he wasn’t scrolling his Facebook feed, rather he was logging onto a meditation app. I smiled to myself as I watched him making a conscious and empowered choice to begin his day very differently to the rest of the people on the bus.
I watched him start the audio, and I could see his body soften and relax. He closed his eyes and sunk back into his chair, ready to tune inwards and prepare himself for the day.
And it really got me thinking about how it is we create change in our lives.
It begins in the moment we make a new choice.
When we create a new intention.
And it is those inner decisions that then guide us to take new actions.
His choice to spend his morning listening to meditation, rather than scrolling through social media or being consumed by the thoughts in his mind, would radically impact the type of day he would have.
It would drastically shift how he would feel, who he would be and how he would respond to everything.
On some level this man had made an inner decision. A decision to start is day in a conscious and calm way. Perhaps without even realising it, he had created an intention – the intention to feel good, to be connected to himself and to create mastery over his mind. As a result he was choosing to use his morning commute in a practical and productive way.
And this is the power of intention. This is about remembering that you can either move through your day reactively, unconsciously and on autopilot, or you can move through your day consciously, empowered and with intention.
When we step back into the drivers seat of our life and remember that each day is a clean slate – a blank canvas for us to create upon. It is the power of remembering that we can change in any moment.
We do not have to be the same person we were yesterday, or even a moment ago. We have the power to transform our lives in any minute. We just have to choose to.
How To Use Intentions To Create Radical Shifts
#1: Stop trying to change the external, and just let life be
I began working with an intention practise 6 years ago when I was stuck in a job that made me miserable with no way out.
My old pattern had always been to try to change things outside of me in order to make me feel better. But at this job, problems and challenges just seemed to come at me at a million miles an hour and I felt totally out of control.
So I realised I had to harness the only one thing I could control, and that was me. I had to create change within me first.
I began by surrendering to where I was, accepting my circumstances and allowing everything to be as it was, and then I got to work on myself.
Right now, you may not be able to change your job, your co-workers or your commitments, but you can change who you are being, how you are thinking and the way you choose to approach everything.
And that is where intention comes in. Intention is an inner practice. You are not intending that your world will be different, but that you will be different.
Your intention is the focused energy you carry within you, despite what is happening around you.
#2: Create a morning intention practise to consciously carve out your day
It is easy to live in a very reactive way and for life to just run on auto-pilot, unless you take the time each day to consciously choose for it to be different.
It begins with making the choice to carve out time each day to make some new inner choices about how you want to feel and how you desire your day to unfold.
Even though you set your intentions, the world will still challenge you and may cause you deviate or drift. If you get thrown off course, simply return to your intention and re-focus your energy. Over time it will become easier to hold yourself steady, despite what happens around you.
In that job I mentioned I had 6 years ago, I would go to work and feel that drama was lumped on me, stressful emails came through all day and I was wracked with anxiety.
I knew I had to create a change – a change in who I was being and how I was responding.
So I began this practise with two simple questions.
“Who do I want to be today?” and “How do I want to feel?”
I decided I wanted to be a calm person so began to map out what that might look like. I would be someone who maintained her centre, who responded rather than reacting, who took her time with tasks, who handled things one at a time, who ate slowly and carefully, who breathed deeply and who moved through her world with ease and grace.
I also explored what practices, people, places or tools supported me to create inner calmness. I already knew that my meditation practise, music, nature, walking, herbal tea and hot baths took me there, so that was where I began.
And then I set about my life, each day holding my intention within and catching myself whenever I deviated from it.
#3: Forget yesterday, release tomorrow and focus on today
When working with intention it is best to keep it in the day. When I first began using this practise, I created a blog called a life of perfect days and this was my reminder to focus on making life one day at a time.
I let go of what happened yesterday, and I stopped worrying about tomorrow. I simply kept myself in the day. I knew that if I could focus on making each day the best day possible, that eventually these days would add up over time to make radical changes in my life.
I then began to explore what I could focus on, practise and implement to create a day that felt beautiful, fulfilling and happy.
My list included;
+ A morning guided meditation
+ Drinking herbal tea rather than coffee
+ Listening to inspiring talks and podcasts on my way to work
+ Taking books to work that I could read on my lunch break
+ Having calming music to play through my computer when I was feeling stressed
+ Surrounding myself with positivity like post it notes on my computer or inspiring quotes on my desktop
+ Little self-care rituals I could do at home before or after work
+ Preparing my lunch and taking good food to work
+ Going for a walk in nature whenever I could, either before or after work or on my lunch break
+ Having calming essential oils, teas and facial mists on my desk
+ Journalling about my thoughts and feelings and expressing gratitude at the end of each day
This was not about overhauling my life or even changing my job Rather, it was about implementing simple practices that formed the foundations I needed to create a calm, balanced and happy me.
I didn’t try to be perfect or tick items off a list, as I wanted to ensure it felt supportive and nourishing. Some days I committed to one small action a day and worked on mastering it. Other days I filled my whole day up with as many of these positive practices as I could.
#4: Wrap it all up with celebration and appreciation
At the end of each day I set aside time before I went to bed to re-visit my intention and reflect on how my day unfolded. I noticed what worked and what didn’t, and what felt good and what didn’t. I noticed what it was that threw me off centre, or rattled me and I made an inner commitment to work on that area the next time it arose.
But most importantly, I celebrated my successes. I wrote out everything from the day that I was proud of myself for, whether it was making a green juice in the morning, or not following my 3pm chocolate craving and just having a cup of tea instead.
I also wrapped up the day with gratitude and appreciation for every beautiful moment I could remember through the day. I allowed my mind to gently drift over the day that had passed and wrote lists of anything, no matter how small, that warmed my heart, felt good or brought a smile to my face.
What practise would you love to take on board from this post to support you to create your ideal day? Share with me in the comments.
Would you love some support to shift your energy and create a life you love?