Intention has come to the forefront of my thinking lately. Intention and action. It originates with a combination of motivation, desire, and questioning what and why. Over the past week or so I asked my dearest friend, how do you do it? He is amazing. This calendar year he made a decision, a bit like a New Year’s resolution, but he kept it. Every day. He has both done some yoga, which might only be 10 minutes of stretching, and also has done at least 10 minutes of reading. Last weekend he did a triathlon. Last year it was a challenge for him to bend at 90º and now he does handstands in the garden. The capacity for change and growth in human beings is absolutely astonishing, and I am inspired.
How do you do it? Every day? every day??!?
He said: “What I do with my time is a choice.
It is easy to find 10 minutes to do something.
Do it in the morning instead of looking at Twitter.”
(He said that because that was what I had open at the time, but it could well have been Facebook or Amazon, or whatever page has become your habit.)
Ten Minutes. It is easy to dismiss that small amount of time, but it is significant.
Sometimes lots of things come together to point toward something.
(These will be in chronological order, as I can’t choose otherwise.)
- There are pressures from the world to be something, especially for those in formal education settings. Looking forward is something, that we all do, but sometimes it becomes narcissistic, and corrosive instead of being the realisation of a dream. It becomes a sort of coercion to adhere to a norm or some societal view. It is difficult to know that there are many ways, and all the worrying in the world won’t make then become now, and if you worry about then now, when you get there, you may find yourself saying – now what?
I realise that is very vague- purposefully so, because it applies to the 10 yr old, as much as the 20 yr old, as much as the 40 and 60 year olds. ‘When I grow up…’ ‘When I retire…’
2. Then I saw something a stranger shared:
It is not as simple as that nice verse alone, but it is definitely part of the context and it made me think of now, and intentionality. Actually, you only really have now. Tomorrow is a gift and I hope to be here for it, but there is no guarantee. (we don’t normally think like that, but ultimately it is true) Of course it helps if things we do in whatever now we are in aren’t solely encapsulated in bubbles, so what I do today can lead to and build toward tomorrow, and longer ahead.
I am brought back to those ten minutes.
Time. My time. Your time. Time slipping away. I was aware this morning, sitting in the centuries old church pew, hearing a clock tick, of the conscious passing of time. I was sitting in a stone building built with time by people. Their time. When? Then. and it was having an impact on my now.
Ten minutes of mindless habit are a waste, whereas ten minutes of intentionality are fresh water to a plant. -back to the story, there were more things that pointed me to a focus.
- Yesterday through conversation, I was pointed to this blog post by Sherri Spelic about the struggles associated with deciding and doing. For me there was a line that stood out: ‘…about me deciding to become and be.’ (you need to read the post for the context, it involves walking and stand up paddle boarding)
Reflecting on that line, for me I need to replace ‘deciding’ with ‘allowing’. Another person who read it reminded me that actually changing habits was difficult and sometimes a change of scenery was needed to clear the air and allow the door to open for change. -ah yes, this rings true. I have done it myself with music as a medium to discuss and workshop learning and teaching, and self-efficacy. I wonder if the ‘deciding’ has to do with conception of capabilities, or awareness of the opportunity, or something else? Maybe several things coming together… For me ‘allowing’ is the step that gives me permission to go beyond expectation, beyond the box – whether that is society, education, another person’s expectations or even my own expectations.
In response to the question: What can I do? I genuinely am pleased to accept the answer ‘I don’t know’ because it allows for more than I can see or conceive. My epiphany came when I first went to California with my students in 2015. It impacted me so much I wrote it as a book. It’s full of yes, and allowing, and going beyond expectations. (and it’s the price of a cup of coffee in the hopes that people read it 🙂 ) The deciding and believing- yep. Covered. However, I definitely need reminding about the importance of those ten minutes though…
- Then this morning, a yoga teacher I regularly (remotely) practice with posted a video clip of a yoga teacher’s symposium. (I’ve linked the clip to his name below) He said:
‘It’s so easy to check out in the world we live in today. We get on the phone, we get on the tv, we get on the computer, we open the fridge. However we choose to check out, I don’t want you to do that right now. I want you to check in.’ Vytas Baskauskus
All images by me. CC-BY