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Saturday, January 19, 2008

May I Have Your Intention?

In ten’tion, n. [L. intentio (-onis), a stretching out, exertion, purpose, from intendere, to stretch out, intend.] 1. a stretching or bending of the mind, as toward an object. 2. the fixed direction of the mind to a particular object; a determination to do a specified thing or to act in a particular manner.

Earlier this week I wrote about going to a grant workshop and realizing I was unprepared to apply because I hadn’t taken the time to figure out exactly what I wanted to work on over the next 12-18 months.

So at the first available moment I sat down with my three-ring-binder and chewed my pen and wrote out some specific things I would like to do over the next year and a half. Not resolutions, but intentions, acts of desire rather than acts of will. I thought about what my life is like now, and considered ways to make it better, richer, more fun, more joyful, more alive. What might I allow in, what should I leave off? Never mind the grant; what did I really (really, really) want?

I like this process of setting intentions. It’s fun, it’s creative, and it requires nothing more than a fertile imagination. I can be as bold as I like, so long as what I include is something I truly desire. I don’t have to know how any of it might come about, or where the necessary people will come from, or the money, if money is needed. I leave those and other details up to the Source, and focus my energies -- my intention -- on the things themselves -- which usually are not things, per se, but accomplishments, achievements, and adventures.

I ended up with three pages of neatly categorized intentions. (I’m nothing if not thorough.) I formatted them with lots of colorful headings, printed them out and put them into my binder, snapped it shut, and congratulated myself on a job well done.

O my. Did I really think I was done? Setting intentions is just the key in the ignition, the buckle-your-seatbelts part of the trip. It’s just the beginning.

When you give the Source your shopping list, you better get ready to receive, which means you have to act. You don’t want to still be living in your 600-square-foot third-floor studio apartment when the Source shows up in the form of a delivery guy at your door, asking where you want to put the grand piano you so desperately desire. Imagine having to turn him away, saying, “I don’t have room… you’ll have to take it back… I thought I had more time…”

One of the things I included among my three pages of intentions was the desire to submit my artwork to a juried show sometime this year. Any time would do. No hurry. And the Source took note, saw that there was something coming up that would do quite nicely, and before the ink was even dry on my new 12-18 Months of Artful Intentions, I received via U.S. mail a flyer from our local arts council, a call for entries for a show that mounts in March.

And now I have to act. I have to pick two pieces of art and get them ready for a juror (and of course every piece of art I’ve created in the past year is suddenly awful, an embarrassment, nothing I could possibly enter in a show… but that’s a subject for another post.) The point I wish to make is that the intention was heard and the wheels are turning, as well they may be turning for you. The delivery guy is on his way with the piano… the book contract… the new job... the entry form. Ask and ye shall receive.

Isn’t it exciting? And isn’t it scary as hell? And – most important of all -- are you ready?

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