Intention

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I’m currently doing a series created by my meditation teacher and coach, Adreanna Limbach called In Bloom. It’s lovely and free and you can get it right here. It’s inspired by Spring and is a great thing to help you transition into the adventure of summer. One thing she talks about is setting an intention for the meditation series, the idea being that it can focus your heart and quiet your mind so that you can drop into the important work you’re doing on the cushion. I’ve been feeling way off center lately, so I played around with “being centered” as my intention, then ultimately chose being “grounded.” I have a lot of spinning plates in my life right now and it’s dizzying. Before I can feel centered, I need to feel like my feet are on solid ground. It’s hard to find that place in my life where I can stand in assurance, rooted in the stuff that really matters. I want some cosmic perspective and I can’t get that when all I think and worry about are the deadlines and worries and hustle. These days, we fly, don’t we? We’re running from one thing to the next, constantly preoccupied, moving so fast between tasks that our feet merely skim the ground. Emails and texts back up and we’re drowning beneath the weight of our to-do lists, clawing our way to the surface every now and then for a gasp of air. We’re utterly distracted, unable to experience anything without simultaneously deciding how we’re going to post about it or thinking about what we’re going to do next.

This is no way to be, but it’s especially no way for artists to be. We simply cannot create from that hellscape. Regardless of your process, you need time and mental space to hear the words that want to be written, to find your flow. You can’t do that when you’re off balance, grounded in nothing but survival and the desire to cross one more thing off your list. So how do we break away from the crazy? How do we get grounded and centered both when we’re writing, and when we’re not? I think Adreanna is onto something when she talks about intention and how the act of setting on can catapult you into a better place. She says: “…it can be easy to fall into the ACTION of something without first having a heart to heart with ourselves around why we’re engaging, and how we want to show up in the process. “

How many times do you sit down and you just want to get the fucking words out and then get on with your life? Has writing become this thing you just sit down and pound out? Even if you’re feeling in flow, doing a gut check when you sit down to work can have powerful results (Challenge: track your flow–on days you have a heart-to-heart with yourself before you write, do you notice you’re in flow more often?).

How do you want to show up to your writing today? What can you do to consecrate this time for yourself so that it’s just you and the page? Your intention may be that you want to be focused: so you turn your phone off, shut the door, disable your Internet. Or perhaps you want to feel joyful: you’ve lost sight of why you write, why you love it and so you decide to pursue the joy of it–maybe you don’t think about the market or editors or agents or book sales. Maybe you just play. Maybe your intention is to tell fear to get in the backseat because you’re driving this baby. You refuse to let fear or your inner critic tell you you’re not good enough today, that you’re never going to make it, that this is a waste of time. Instead, you keep your eyes on the road and put the pedal to the metal.

Whatever your intention is, the very act of making one starts grounding you in your commitment to the work, to your artistic self. It’s being serious about this thing and it’s understanding the point at which you’re creating from–setting an intention for your writing session allows you to navigate your art with a compass instead of your best guess.

So, where are you creating from today? In the geography of you, what ground do you stand on? Are you creating from a place of empowerment, fear, joy, love, curiosity, playfulness, or stress? Knowing this allows you to be in tune with yourself, and thus more in tune with your creative spirit. If you sit down and feel stressed, you can begin with some deep breathing or perhaps even do Adreanna’s guided meditation beforehand. If you’re creating from a place of joy, make sure to not allow anything that could take it away into your writing space (hint: Internet / phone). If you’re creating from a place of fear, writing an affirmation or reading a few empowering quotes can do wonders to settle you.

Sit down. Check in. Set an intention. Write.

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