Monthly Archives: February 2014

Week 8 – Connecting to Intention: Workin’ the program

two-people-holding-hands-you-are-not-alone

This week, I’m working on seeing Intention as a hand always ready to hold mine

I’m back in the book, everyone! Wayne and I have reunited after several forays off the official Intention grid. I’ve read Chapter 3 (I can’t BELIEVE I’m only on Chapter 3, but okay) now and I’m thinking about how to live the suggestions he makes.

It’s not easy—a fact that might be obvious given the amount of time it’s taken to jump from Chapter 2 to this one. Nearly two months, if anyone’s counting. At this rate, I’ll reach the end when I’m 75. Then again, I’m a gal who took 16 years (you read that right) to finish a one-year diary given to me on my 9th birthday. That book took me from jump rope to sex, with just about everything in between. But I have people following this blog now, some who don’t know me and love me enough yet to stay with it if I’m not producing. I feel obligated to all of them, and to myself, and I am not going back on this journey, even if it takes me a decade.

With the belief that pure honesty is the only way to do something like this, I have another admission. There is a LOT of talk about God in this Chapter 3, and it is distracting. I’ve read Wayne before and I guess I never realized how much he talks about a Higher Power and Spirit (always with capitals). I have enough thoughts about religion and God to fill a whole other blog, and I won’t go into them all here. Suffice it to say that I have had to resist the doubts in order to move forward. So, I am thinking of “God” as of a metaphor for that thing we can’t see – spirit with a lowercase “S”, if you will. For I can feel wonder looking at trees and flowers and babies, but have no desire to ascribe it to a specific deity. With that in mind, I power on through the chapter and its lessons.

Wayne talks about how the inventors, the creators, did their work by contemplating what was possible. The Wright Brothers, Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, had to take the leap into what was previously inconceivable and imagine the opposite. He talks about those who create something out of nothing. These are my heroes, especially the artists. I can picture Da Vinci in front of a blank canvas, or Beethoven, his hands poised above the keys before the notes are written down. From what was blank and noiseless, by their Intention came portraits and breathtaking symphonies that still resonate hundreds of years later. Since I was little, that has always been my unspoken goal; to create something—anything—that will bring joy and perhaps even last beyond my existence.

The ego resurfaces in this chapter (as it did a bit into that last sentence, I think), and I am lovingly reminded that Intention is not borne from it. Rather, it is by re-connecting to imagination that we are able to manifest into reality what is meaningful. The ego may lead us to material wealth or tangible “rewards”, but peace comes from somewhere else all together. I think about the historical figures that I admire—most share the quality of being focused on something other than the physical. They are interested in the mind, the soul, the happiness and well being of the lives around them. They speak to me in a way that is inspirational, yet simple, and remind me of what holds true value.

In the next part of the chapter, Wayne revisits the seven faces of intention; he talks even more about God and originating Power. I just keep reminding myself to stay with the lesson, and not to get hung up on the word. He talks about manifesting creativity and kindness (to others and to ourselves, often the hardest ones to extend it to, don’t you think?).

I am advised to “be beauty”, which I think leads to recognizing it everywhere. Through anyone who knows me knows that I can be obsessed about things like a good (or very bad) hair day, one of the things I truly enjoy about getting older is the appreciation I’ve gained for uniqueness as beauty. That is, the beauty in a crooked nose or smile, the beauty of a well-worn sofa, the beauty of a shabby stuffed animal (or even a real one) that has been loved. Not to mention the understanding that what is not considered physically beautiful in one place might be the very definition of it another. Or the most important realization–that beauty goes far beyond what the eyes can see.

In order to be expansive and abundant, I know that I must give up the fear that I have relied upon to keep me “safe.” Even as I navigate around the religious-y language in this section, I relate to the idea of my own “unlimited abundance”, for I do believe that the boundaries we set, whether physical or psychological, are often too small and often don’t allow us to see the opportunities that may be just beyond them. That is perhaps my biggest goal—as a dear, dear friend and I once described it—to fuck fear. I’ve done that in small ways, like overcoming my  aversion to public speaking to lead resume seminars, which have been quite successful. The first few were painful. The next few, slightly less so, and I have even reached the point where I have a good time. Being at the head of the room is not my natural place, but I have begun to see how opening myself in one area serves me in many others.

Being receptive is the last face of Intention, and I believe that despite my meandering in this journey so far, I have made strides. I have learned to say “Yes” more often, to give myself the chance to learn, grow, and feel. One major piece of this is meditation, which has been on my To Do list for, I don’t know, 20 years? I’m making a mental note to actually open the book I bought on it almost that long ago. Perhaps along with Wayne, it can help me with this process to unearth the Intention that has been buried.

As always, the chapter ends with suggestions. The first is to match my inner speech to my desires. I can be super bad at this—like many others, I am far more likely to chastise myself than to focus on what I’ve done right. The fact that I’ve gotten this to the blog is something though, right? And I know from the past that positive self-talk can indeed yield results.

Next, “Think from the end.” See the desire, the goal being fulfilled and then it can be matched with Intention and overcome any obstacles. Visualization works—I am reminded of 1996 when, after reading and working “The Master Key to Riches” (in some ways the polar opposite of Wayne Dyer in terms of focus), I got my first job as an actual writer after declaring that to be my goal. I was amazed, not to mention a little freaked out, by how well it worked.

Along with this, I must “practice unbending intent” – this blog is the seed of that Intent, which is why I know how important it is that I keep going. I don’t remember when I first learned how many times Edison tried before he got the light bulb right, but the story stuck. I remind myself how impressive top athletes are, and that the reason is because they are committed to the practice and training it takes to get there. Their Intention is solid and certainly unbending. Mine has to be, too.

I have discovered that writing little notes and stuff doesn’t resonate with me. Around January 6, I excitedly created a 2014 Gratitude Jar that was going to fill up with the reminders of how fortunate I really am. It’s still empty. Not that it’s been a year full of misery, but because I just don’t feel moved to write out  little notes and stuff them into a jar. Well, Wayne wants me to write the seven faces of intention on index cards and place them around my house. I guess I can do that when I get home, but I may sigh every time I look at them. Perhaps if I include pictures of my heroes, it will resonate? Or tape a piece of chocolate to them as a reward for paying attention… I’ll let you know how it works out next week.

And finally, wouldn’t you know it? The last one tells me to keep the thought of God’s abundance in mind.  Rather than fret about the “G” word, I am simply replacing it with “Universe” and staying on track. See how much I’ve grown already?

Looking ahead to next week, it’s about the obstacles to Intention. Kinda feel like I’ve covered that one (it’s called My Life So Far), but I’ll check out what Wayne has to say about it.

To all those on the path of Intention, I wish you courage, imagination, and love—send some back my way, if you get a chance.


Intention – Meet Real Life

Philip-Seymour-Hoffman_l MomWeek 6 (and beyond)

Every time I think I’ve reached the next  level, or am at least close, something  seems to tug at me. One week it is  Christmas; another, my worries and  concerns succeed in derailing the progress  I’ve made on my journey, pushing me off  the train and then cackling as I struggle to  catch it again.

Last week, it was Philip Seymour Hoffman.

I actually started writing this post a few days after it happened, but the words wouldn’t come. I tried talking out my thoughts into a recorder, but I’ve never been good at that—I always wind up paying more attention to how I sound than what I’m saying. In my head, I knew where I was going with this. When I tried to put it down, it was jumbled and off track. But despite a week of days since PSH was found in his bathroom, a needle in his arm, I am still drawn to his story, and it’s untimely ending.

This blog is supposed to be about Intention. In the biggest sense, yes, but also on a very personal level, it is supposed to be about MY Intention to live a more conscious and thoughtful life. To be aware of the decisions I make, even when I’m not actively making any at all—especially, then, actually. To stop myself from drifting through days as if tethered to some invisible balloon that keeps me floating around, not making contact with anything meaningful. I am to read chapters and LIVE them, damn it! I’ve done the drifting thing for far too long already.

But the news kept coming about PSH. As I listened to him speak of his demons in an old interview, it occurred to me that perhaps my lesson on Intention for the week was not missing, it was just coming from a different place. Right in front of my eyes, in a story that resonated deeply, was the heart and soul of intention telling me to take notice. I looked at this man, who seemingly had “it all.” A real career doing what he loved, the respect of colleagues and admirers, a woman and kids who loved him. And yet… and yet… he still needed something else. His physical body, his mind, something in him needed the fix, the place to go to where he felt better. What was his Intention? Did he want to die? Had he reached a point somehow, where the love and external markings of success weren’t enough? Or was he simply looking for the temporary high, whatever euphoria or peace came from heroin running through his veins? Was the physical addiction so gripping that it wasn’t a matter of Intention at all anymore, just a response to a physiological need for the drug’s effects?

It’s difficult—maybe impossible— for me to understand, for I am not an addict, like Phil was. I have never felt the urge to “escape” in such a big way.  That’s not to say I haven’t had my moments. I was at college all of a week when I went to the hospital after a night of drinking tequila. And like many a dopey freshman before and after me, I had to repeat my mistake before learning the lesson. I remember sitting with the school counselor after the second incident and realizing that she was sure I had a problem (deeper than the one of severe misjudgment). But I knew, without a doubt that while I had issues, addiction wasn’t one of them. I knew this because I had seen addiction and its repercussions up close.

To this day I don’t know exactly when my mother started drinking, but I do know that she stopped for sure on August 27, 1982, 24 days after her 45th birthday, when she died.  She drank for 4 years or so, I believe. It could be longer. I was young when it began, and my first memories of knowing something was wrong were realizing that she sleep a lot, at odd times of the day. My memories are spotty about that whole time. I came to understand (or was told?) that she wasn’t just taking a nap, that in fact she was drunk. I became aware of the bottles, and even looked for the hidden ones. And I learned to recognize the vacancy in her eyes when she was awake but not sober, the speech that I couldn’t really understand.  She drank throughout those years, as the rest of our family continued on. Bizarre, when I think back, but what else was there to do? Many people tried to help, but in the end, the alcohol took her health and her life.

Or she gave it away. Since that day in 1982, I have probably thought more about my mother than any other single person or thing. I went through the stages of grief—more than once actually, not realizing that it was a timeline and not a circle to be repeated over and over. At various points of my life I hated her, pitied her, empathized with her, and blamed her for my own failings and problems. Last year, I visited her grave on the day when I reached my own 45 years and 24 days mark. Without calling it such, I wondered aloud about her Intention. Had she hoped to die, to put the demons to rest in the most permanent way? Had she been getting better at the end (I never really grasped where she was in her sobriety), as I think I’d been told, or, like Phil, never truly found a way to live without the aid of something to dull the pain? What would make more sense, make me feel better? To think that she was simply too unhappy to be in this world, so drank to escape it, and reached a point where she could not physically stop, or to believe that she chose to not take responsibility and gave into the fears that most of us cope with all our lives?

Free will or destiny?

These people who died—Phil, Mom—were “alone” by choice. They had people who loved them, who begged them to get help. Indeed, they tried to get it. My mother did, and PSH was in rehab at the end of 2013. They knew they were in trouble, and yet, they couldn’t help themselves, they couldn’t beat it. Was it simple weakness? Selfishness? I hear that last word used a lot, but it doesn’t resonate with me; both were well known for their caring, their sensitivity. SO HOW COULD THEY DO WHAT THEY DID? WHAT DID THEY INTEND TO HAPPEN?

Intention or fate?

I haven’t read far into The Power of Intention. But Wayne Dyer does talk about free will, and separates it definitively from Intention, the latter being something more natural while the idea of free will, as generally used, stems from the ego and is unattached to our imagination, from where we get our true ”power” and meaning. I can’t explain it nearly as well as Wayne does, but he uses the example of writing a book not by forcing himself to sit at a desk, but by “thinking from the end”, as if it is already there—it is then manifested, as opposed to being pushed into existence.

Does an addict then, need the ability to see from the other side, to understand a life without the crutch of potentially deadly substances that soften the harsher parts, the depression, the guilt, the anger? And does their physiological makeup—their susceptibility to addiction—make that potentially impossible? Did my Mom stand a chance? Did Phil? Maybe some people beat drug and alcohol abuse the same way that some people beat cancer. And others don’t because, well, they can’t. They just don’t have it in them.

The problem, of course, is that addicts don’t just ruin their own lives—they take prisoners, generally the people who love them most. They do their damage here on Earth and  leave scars that last long after they are gone from it. Do they care? Is it fair to say that they should “do it for us”? As much as we humans live in packs and form bonds, we are still born as one distinct being and die the same way. Even as we do for others, we are existing in our own worlds and responding as only we can. Do we owe it to others to find happiness? To stick around even if we cannot bear the effort it takes? In addition to her roles as Mom, wife, daughter, my mother was also Kathy, a woman leading a singular life. Maybe making others happy wasn’t enough. Maybe it wasn’t for Phil, either. Should they not have gotten attached to others, to spare the possible pain later on? If the addiction started later, when they already had families, then what? Sometimes, there’s no way to avoid the brick wall.

I haven’t really answered my Intention question, have I? That worries me a bit, as I’d like to believe that there is something valuable to be learned. Perhaps one lesson is that we are all, ultimately, responsible for our paths, and that seeking motivation and imagination from within is a good starting point for living an intentional life. One message that always comes through with Wayne is gratitude; and even with their painful ends, I am grateful for the two lives I’ve written about here. Grateful for a man who was inspired to create characters for a lifetime, who took his talent and soared with it, and who obviously touched the people around him. And eternally grateful for a woman who, despite her brief time in my life, gave me much, including a commitment to kindness, compassion, and love.

May we all learn to give those three things to all we encounter, and to ourselves, as much and as often as possible.

RIP, you two.


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