Monthly Archives: January 2014

Week 5 – Where Has My Intention Gone?

 Three friends traveling. Girl looking through binoculars

So, the last time, I wrote, I was disappointed because I was a few days late  with the blog post and hadn’t kept up with my reading. So how do I  respond to that slight blip in the plan? With renewed energy and  commitment? With intense reading and contemplation on what Intention  means to my life in 2014? With a refusal to be sidetracked by meandering  thoughts and “priorities?”

Nope.

I responded with silent capitulation to the old habits, the doubt, the concern that too much time had passed to make the journey worthwhile. One after another, I dug up old excuses and created some new ones, all in the name of legitimate reasons. (In fact, it occurs to me that perhaps I should have begun with one of Wayne’s other books, Excuses Begone! It’s feeling much more appropriate at the moment).

I let Intention get away – and i almost didn’t go looking for it.

The thing is, I am not famous enough or interesting enough to have captured the attention of a big audience who will clamor for my return to the page. I know most of the people who will read this and am under no illusions that a stranger is out there wondering where I went. I am, however, fortunate enough to have a person I admire deeply call me on the lapse with a simple word.

“Blog????”

It’s so weird when “little” things take on big meaning, when you suddenly realize that what you’re doing is actually about much more than what you are actually doing. Sure, this is “just a blog”, to challenge myself a little, both on the writing and the self-awareness fronts. And yet, it’s something else too – it’s a pathway back to self-expression, back to discovering why I like to string words together in the first place. It’s renewing my faith in the fact that my talent does not exist only in my mind.

A few years ago, another friend (the one thing I am blessed with an abundance of) trying to get me to write more gave me a list of possible things to write about – one was Beauty. And from that word, I created a blog post that I still remember finishing with a sense of renewed commitment to my craft. Writing it was like tapping a well I had feared was dry, only to find myself soaked by the old feeling that I was fulfilling some kind of purpose and that my thoughts on paper (or screen) had honest-to-goodness power. My friend shared the post and I received the most wondrous responses from people who were touched by it—there was validation and support that I hadn’t even known was missing, and for a moment, I felt unstoppable.

I wasn’t, and I did stop. That’s what I do in this life – I start, I stop. I take a shortcut, or what looks like one, and find myself off the map, not knowing how to get back. Every time, I forget to throw down the breadcrumbs and so I walk around in circles until something—fate, luck—nudges me in the right direction, and I reappear. I’ve been lucky so far, that there are always people waiting to welcome me back.

There’s always that question, though, isn’t there? Can we just pick up where we left off? Or should we be starting over, retaking the early steps to prove we can do it all in one shot? Has too much momentum been lost? If one is blogging about intention and can’t even meet the intention to blog (let alone the larger intention to live a life of intention), then is this just a game of pretend? Am I a writer or an illusionist? An artist or a sham?

Who am I?

And there it is. That question that seems to be the whole point of it all, that feels like it should have been answered by now. I am ______________.

In the past few years, I’ve been reminded that I’m not this or that, and each time it happened, something in me pushed back. Not because I was any of those exact things, but because the labels were being used to define something that I was sure I had in me, whether I called myself by that name or not.  After getting angry, I was strengthened by the reminder that my identity is not restricted by what others see; I can choose to be whoever I want, just like I can choose to move out of the loop and back onto the path.

And back to Intention. Despite the 3 4-week lapse, I can return to a standing position and re-start the journey. Intention is not a one-time offering—like love, peace, or a good book, it is always waiting to be picked up again. And so I am getting back on the train, reaching for the trolley strap, and reinvesting in the journey, trusting that I can do it as many times as it takes to get it right.

To all of us looking to meet Intention head on, I offer eternal hope and fortitude.


Week 4 – Intention takes a Holiday (or does it?)

airplane_taking_off

So here it is, 3 days past when I should have put up the next post for the blog. The one about – what was it again?

Oh, yeah – Intention. Gotta love irony, right.

And so, I am left with choices:

  1. Pretend nothing happened. Create a lovely little story about how, despite the distractions of a dear friend’s visit and Christmas and New Year’s, I worked the chapter on “Connecting to Intention”, had some real insights into my thoughts, and am just a few days late getting it in. I missed a deadline, that’s all.
  2. Throw in the towel on the whole blog thing. No one will hate you, the little voice in my head says. People know you’re busy, under stress.They might not even notice! You tried, right? All anyone can ask is that you try.
  3. Keep going. The fact that today is the start of a new year can’t be a coincidence. I mean, who gives up on January 1??? Admit you fell off the self-help wagon, dust yourself off, and grab back hold of the trolley strap. Because the train is still moving, whether you’re on it or not.

I choose Door #3, Bob. And since I’m making admissions, may as well start with complete honesty.

I didn’t open the book last week. Not even once.

Instead I blew off Wayne and greeted best friends in from the West for their winter holiday, socialized more in 10 days than I had all year, and enjoyed the week and a half with people who put many smiles on my face. I did think about the blog once or twice, as I chatted, wrapped last-minute presents, and spent 10 hours on a resume writing blitz to catch up when I realized that a system error had screwed up my assignments and I was seriously behind—remind me to tell you about THAT one some day.

Despite the failure to meet intention head on, I did gain some things of value, other than the terrific sweaters and a few new books. As it always seems to do, life went ahead decided to teach me a thing or two.

“Connect” – 2013 was pretty lousy on a lot of levels, and one of the ways I coped was by unplugging and doing a pretty good impression of a balled-up armadillo. Every so often a knock came on my shell, but I became adept at ignoring it. I passed on most social outings and spent many evenings staring at the television. When the opportunity for a do-over appeared last week, for once I took it. Don’t get me wrong—there were moments that I had to overcome the urge to play dead, pick myself up, and get dressed for an evening out. But each time, to my great surprise, I found myself happier than expected and surrounded by some truly awesome people. Whether it was a group gathering or Starbucks for two, I was having – gulp – actual fun.

“Be grateful” – Life is strange. We are born alone and while we share our worlds with others, we are all creating individual paths and futures. I was reminded of both ends of the life spectrum this week, first with the death of a dear friend’s grandfather. At 92, Paul Johnson had lived a long and good life when it came his time to go. I looked at his wife of 71 years and tried to imagine how it would be to spend so much of one’s existence with the same person. I watched his children and grandchildren and thought about the losses in my life. I smiled as visitors came through offering condolences, including the ladies from the nursing home who all said that Mr. Johnson was a charmer. I was reminded of my own wonderful grandfather who loved jellybeans and Two Guys, and whose voice I can still hear clearly. I am old enough now that funerals bring me to reflection on my own mortality—am I halfway through? More than that? Am I living with gratitude and purpose?

Meanwhile, in another part of New Jersey, Jason Henry Fass decided that 9 months was just too long to wait for his debut and came into the world on December 9, 3 months before his due date. greeted by my friend Nancy and her husband, Jon. At 2 lbs.11 ozs. Jason is a little guy, but in great hands and certainly already surrounded by love from all sides. I was reminded of my own family’s miracle, Olivia, born even smaller, at just 1 pound 5 ozs. That was nearly nine years ago and today she is happy, healthy, and taking the world by storm. I have no doubt that Jason will do the same.

And finally, I spent New Year’s Eve in the home of a great family who has been through their own struggles. Last year, their house in Little Ferry was flooded in Sandy and they’ve spent much of their time getting things back in order. Listening to the story, I recalled watching the water of the East River whip up and wondering what was next. From the start we knew this was no regular storm. But here was this wonderful couple and their kids opening up their home to ring in 2014. As usual, I hesitated—I actually almost didn’t go inside. Thankfully I shook off the hesitation and opened myself up to a fun evening that I couldn’t have had anywhere else.

So despite the fact that my Intention meter was off, I choose to believe that Wayne would understand. He would be glad to know that after many months of lonely living, I rung out the year in the company of folks who understand and live lives of intention themselves. Maybe not in every moment, and perhaps not thinking about it quite that way, but doing it nonetheless.

I will be back on track next week with “Connecting to Intention” – but rather than feeling guilt for anything missed, there is only appreciation for all that was experienced, and excitement for what is to come.

Happy New Year!


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