Affirmation: Everyday I get to choose how I want to perceive my life experience.
Mo Martin won the Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale in England this July, 2014. When she was interviewed she mentioned her "intention" was to win the tournament. At the time she was ranked 99th on the tour and it appeared no one had her listed as a potential champion. She ended her win and her final hole with an eagle, which means she had three shots on a hole on which a good golfer would normally have five shots.
As of this writing, I am lucky enough to be in the mountains of North Carolina and once again I find myself playing golf. If you follow this blog you know that golf is not one of my gifts. It's something at which I have to work very hard in order to play somewhat decently and to tell the truth, I only work on it for the few weeks I'm up in the mountains. I do, however, love the sport. I share the time with my husband, Sandy. He's an amazing golfer and many times my son, Joey, is with us. Sometimes his beautiful wife, Belen, comes along. It's beautiful up here and the course we get to play on looks like a post card. It's so exhilarating when I actually hit that little ball and it soars away down the fairway towards the pin. I love it when I putt the ball and it rolls along and plops in the hole. I actually love to watch someone else make a long difficult putt. It almost seems surreal to me to finally have that tiny ball fall into that tiny spot on this huge expanse of lawn. I think a big part of the excitement for me is that I'm so surprised and delighted when things actually go better than I even imagined. I don't intend to have a low expectation of my performance but after years of playing I have come to recognize that I will probably remain a below average player unless I decide to play more than just the month of July. However, I always set an intention to do well, for me, and to enjoy the day.
The first time I heard the phase "take an intention" was at a yoga class many years ago. The teacher did not provide any other guidance. She simply told us to "take an intention for your practice" and then left us to figure it out. I remember it clearly. The word "gratitude" popped into my mind and so I embraced it and let it sit with me for the hour. Interestingly it didn't leave me at the end. I found it was with me as I went into the day and here I sit many years later still embracing gratitude, every day. When I teach I always follow that same example. I encourage everyone to chant an "ohm" and to bring their palm together in front of their heart and with their thumbs touching their heart I say "Take an intention for this time you're giving yourself. Any word that comes to mind is fine." And then at the end of our practice, we repeat the chant and I remind the participants to recall the intention they took at the beginning of class and encourage them to take it with them into their day, and perhaps into their lives.
That simple instruction so many years ago has had a very powerful impact on my life. I found myself taking an intention each morning for the day. As I journal and pray in the morning, I wait to see what word or words come to my awareness and I let them sit with me as I finish my quiet time and then bring them with me into my day. It's very seldom that something doesn't come to the surface. If not, I just let go for the day. I decided also that I might as well take an intention for each year. I only began this two years ago but it's been a wonderful gift to give myself. You may remember that my intention for 2014 is to, "connect to the Divine." It's been quite a journey so far and I'm looking forward to what the rest of the year will present.
When I listened to Mo Martin's interview, I found her expression of intent to be of interest. I assume she's a yogini. Maybe yes, maybe no, but yogini or not, she has a remarkable attitude. She "took an intention" to win! Yeah, Mo! Go girl! Why not? She set herself up for success. She knew it was possible she wouldn't win but once she set that intention, she recognized that she could very well achieve her goal. She also said even when she wasn't playing well, when she wasn't winning, she still woke up everyday with a smile and a sense of excitement about being able to play.
By living an intentional life it means you've given thought to what you want your life to look like. I would imagine if you're reading this you already are someone who is choosing how to live your life but don't assume that's how most of the world lives. Unfortunately, many people are faced with such dire challenges they don't have the energy to focus on choice. Others simply have chosen not to choose but to let life and fate just play itself out. Once you begin "taking an intention" you may find your day and therefore you life takes on a richness that makes you feel like a winner no matter what challenge life presents or at the very least, you wake up each morning, like Mo, with a smile on your face and a sense of excitement about being able to play, the game of life.