London recently experienced its first 5pm sunset of the year, a visible sign that Spring is on the way. But it’s taking its time, one day I feel energy rising inside me & the next I feel flat & want to head back into hibernation.
The transition from Winter to Spring is the most erratic of all seasonal shifts so if you feel the same that’s perfectly normal.
The most noticeable characteristic of Spring is movement, everything in nature starts to grow. It seems easy for plants, they’re following the pattern in their genes, to grow upwards & outwards so they can blossom in Summer. But we have so many more choices & this time of year can feel like standing at a crossroads not knowing which path to take.
It can be overwhelming.
It’s tempting make a list of goals.
It’s tempting to take the top-down approach, write a list of goals & work frantically towards them. But we both know that having ‘things’ or achieving goals don’t bring us happiness, what we really want are feelings.
Instead, this year I started with feelings.
Instead, this year I’ve taken the reverse way, starting with what feelings I want to feel & then asking myself what will I do to feel them.
By doing this I’ve identified the reason I’m doing these things, the ‘why.’ It’s early days but I already feel more settled & motivated. I’ve described my process below & I hope you’ll follow it.
What does my heart want?
I started by asking, ‘what does my heart want?’
Your heart ALWAYS knows the way & when your actions are aligned with your heart’s intention they feel right & true & resonate through your whole being.
Another way to look at this is to ask, ‘what’s my deepest intention?’
In The Wise Heart, Jack Kornfield says that ‘setting a long-term intention is like setting the compass of our heart,’ it sets a clear direction & gives us the strength & courage to navigate round challenges. I don’t know about you but that sounds like a good plan.
Intention is also described as ‘The energy that guides everything’ which sometimes will be conscious & others unconscious. For example, my intention for meditation is to bring peace to my heart & it’s only when I dig deeper that I realise that it’s also my motivation for creativity, travel & spending time with friends.
And of course, the opposite it also true, if you’re not aware of your unconscious intention, you’re unlikely to achieve it. Here’s an article by Oprah Winfrey describing what changed for her once she because aware of her deepest in intention.
What Oprah Knows for Sure About Intention ‘I had recognized for a long time that I was responsible for my life, that every choice produced a consequence. But often the consequences seemed out of line with my expectations. That’s because I was thinking one thing but intending another. I wasn’t aware of the consequences of my deepest intentions. My intention of always trying to please other people, for example, produced an unwanted consequence: I often felt taken advantage of and used.
So, I decided to become aware of my every intention in order to create a different outcome. That meant doing only those things that came for the truth of who I am—and only doing for others what pleased me to do.
What I know for sure is that whatever your situation is right now, you have played a major role in setting it up. It is you who have created your circumstances. With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice. And beneath each of those thoughts and choices lies your deepest intention. If you are feeling stuck in your life and want to move forward, start by examining your past motivations.’
Some powerful words & a phrase which stands out to me is ‘With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.’ Yes I am. I want to keep moving forward & becoming aware of my deepest intention, what my heart wants will support this.
If you want to keep moving, I encourage you to take some time to explore what your heart wants, your deepest intention. Take time to be quiet, whether that’s sitting, meditating, yoga or walking, whatever works for you. The answer will be something like peace, joy, connection, love, to be fully present, self-trust or to feel alive & you’ll know it’s right when it resonates through your whole being. And it may take some time to arrive, so please allow it space & time to come to you naturally.
Now to pay attention.
It’s all very well to have an intention, but if you’re not paying attention to your daily actions, then you’re unlikely to achieve it.
My aim is to regularly ask myself what my intention is, especially before I start something. My belief is that I’ll then experience more of it. And because habits take a while to become established, I’ll have reminders in various places.
This is a new concept, well maybe not completely new, but new consciously. Looking back, I think peace has been the unconscious motivator of many things I’ve done these past few years & this is the first year I’ve brought it to my consciousness.
Then create a plan.
I use the term ‘plan’ with reluctance, but if you want to, now is the time to create one, you may prefer to call it a list of actions, key words, seeds you’ll nurture or goals, whichever method works best for you. Whatever you do, I encourage you to do it lightly, remembering the intention of your heart & asking yourself how each will contribute to achieving it.
I like the concept of seeds, so those I’ll be nurturing this year are consistent spiritual practice, exploration, creativity & health.
Knowing my ‘why’ motivates me.
It’s early days but knowing my path feels reassuring & I feel much more settled & motivated. I think a lot of that is because I know the reason I’m doing these things, the ‘why’. So, for example telling myself that doing the yoga class will get me a step closer to what my heart wants encourages me to get up early.
And if I’m stuck, I will remind myself (to slightly tweak Oprah’s words) ‘With every experience, I alone am painting my own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.’
Do you know what your heart wants/your intention?
Thank you for reading. I hope you’ll take time to discover your deepest intention & follow the path of what your heart wants.
I’d love to know how this helped you & whether you’ll be trying it yourself. If you feel able to, please share below.