Despite the number of people who tout the benefits of meditation, for years I’ve been against it. Not against the practice itself, but just me doing it. I have never been able to master sitting still, without thoughts. No matter how hard I tried, the supposed path to enlightenment was sheer torture; I could not get my brain to shut up. Recently, however, I discovered the solution to doing so: Find a purpose. And, for me, that purpose is to set an intention for the day.
You see, quite by accident, a couple of weeks ago when I was attempting to meditate (letting my thoughts pass like clouds, as I’m told), one thought did appear that seemed worth holding on to. Slow down, have a cup of tea and be OK with what’s left undone. That message came through loud and clear. Call it a voice from above or within, but in my often over-scheduled, over-stressed life, I loved this and decided to make it my intention, or mantra, for the day. I even posted it on Facebook and was surprised at how many friends responded to these words of wisdom.
So that day, I did exactly as I had set out to: I slowed down. Had a cup of tea. And was completely OK with all the things in my life that went undone. (And was especially glad to have an excuse not to wash the desperately stinky clothes mounting in my son’s room–why do teenagers smell so bad anyway?)
The next day, I was actually excited to meditate. Let’s see what kind of intention today brings, I told myself.
So I sat and waited. It seemed like eternity (even though it was only a few minutes), but there it was: It’s OK to feel beautiful. That was a good one. How often do we, as women, feel like we have to put ourselves down, pick apart our bodies and find fault with the way we look? Furthermore, many of us have been taught that thinking highly of ourselves is somehow arrogant and wrong. But, what’s wrong with feeling beautiful? What’s wrong with knowing that you have a certain inner beauty that shines through and creates a wonderful outer beauty too? Nothing, of course. It just felt good to be given permission to feel that. So that day’s intention was all about feeling my beauty.
Other intentions that have come to me since then include:
Rock out – I was doing yoga one morning in my house with Lady Gaga singing loudly through the speakers (I’m a New York woman born to run you down…) and realized I need to rock out more. It felt so liberating (and a bit rebellious) to get away from the quietness of my normal yoga studio and just do some loud vinyasas.
Be less hateful and more grateful – Not hateful in terms of people (because as much as some people annoy me, I don’t hate anyone), but less hateful of things like the heat, traffic, a hectic day or so much dirt and clutter in my house. Today, I tried to instead be grateful that I could still bike in the heat, that I had a car to drive, that I had a job and a home. You get it.
Speak my truth – Sometimes I hold back on what I really want to say for fear of it coming out wrong. I hate pissing people off. But in the process, I often don’t say what I really want to. So setting an intention to speak my truth all day really helped. Besides, I reminded myself of one of the best life lessons I have learned: In order to take something personally, you have to assume negative intent. I rarely have a negative intent when I say something, so that made it easier to speak my truth.
Do you set daily intentions? If so, share them with us.