A Definition of Intention, from the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
“Coming from the Latin word, intentionem, intention literally means a stretching out, a stretching out of mind, of heart, of body, of spirit. When we set an intention, we are turning our attention toward something, or someone, or some idea, and stretching out to meet it.”
Settle your body and mind for a moment. Take a breath and ask yourself what your heart wants to stretch toward. Sometimes there are circles of yearning—what are you yearning for just for yourself? And then for your family and friends? And beyond this, what do you yearn for that’s good and life giving for your community—for people you don’t yet know, whose life circumstances might not be anything like your own? (And of course, their yearnings might be totally different than yours—
which would give you many opportunities for humility, curiosity, listening, and respect.)
Intention of course is more than simply yearning. To be intentional is to notice your deep desire, and make the conscious choice (or choices again and again) to move in that direction. Sometimes we succeed. Always if we’re open we learn things in the process. Sometimes we learn that what we desire is not big enough, inclusive enough, and so we adjust. We widen our vision, open our heart. At other times we learn that we’re more than enough, just as we are, or that we’ve got more power than we ever suspected possible.
Here’s an exercise from Soul Matters. Perhaps it will stir some thoughts in you about your yearning and how to go from that to intention. Downloadable PDF File
Intentional Fill-In The Blanks
1. My most important promise to myself is __________________________________________________________________ .
2. I will help others by __________________________________________________________________________________.
3. Because of me, my children will understand that ___________________________________________________________.
4. I have always wanted to _______________________________________________________________________________.
5. I am on this earth to __________________________________________________________________________________.
6. I will learn more about ________________________________________________________________________________.
7. I am avoiding ________________________________________________________________________________________.
8. If I could change one thing about myself it would be _________________________________________________________.
9. At my funeral, the two adjectives I hope people use to describe me are ___________________ & ____________________ .
10. If I could go back and change one thing about my life it would be ______________________________________________ .
11. If I won or inherited a million dollars, the first thing I would do is ______________________________________________ .
12. If I won a free trip, I would love to fly to __________________________________________________________________ .
13. When I stop procrastinating, I will ______________________________________________________________________ .
14. I am most happy when I am ____________________________________________________________________________.
15. I want to spend the rest of my life becoming a ______________________________________________________________.
16. I want to spend the rest of my life doing ___________________________________________________________________.
17. Looking back, I realize that I was born to __________________________________________________________________ .
18. In five years, people will be surprised that I am _____________________________________________________________.
19. I have always intended to ___________________________ once I have finished __________________________________.