Thursday, February 11, 2016

In Which I Intend to Be More Like Popeye

Welcome to Spiritual Journey Thursday! Today we are discussing Leigh Ann's One Little Word: Intent.

For a long time I thought intentions were kind of like goals: I intend to be kind to others, I intend to write a book, I intend to call a friend. But then I realized those are all about the future, when my spiritual practice is about NOW. So an intention has to be rooted in the current moment, and the current moment only. Which simplifies things, doesn't it?!

The overarching purpose of my spiritual practice is to feel connected with the world, to find meaning, to experience serenity and joy in each moment. So my intent can be as simple as being open and present. Or, even better, I can bring the Buddha's Fourth Noble Truth into it. This Truth teaches us that right intention is the second step in the 8-fold path:

Cause no harm, and treat yourself and others with Loving-kindness and compassion while seeking true happiness, that which comes from being free from grasping and clinging."

So my intent becomes this:

Be open and present.
Cause no harm.
Treat myself and others with loving kindness.
Let go of everything else.

And guess what? It's that last "letting go" part I struggle the most with. But I am trying! I love what Wayne Dyer says in his book THE POWER OF INTENTION:

Stop being offended.
Let go of your need to win.
Let go of your need to be right.
Let go of your need to be superior.
Let go of your need to have more.
Let go of identifying yourself on the basis of your achievements.
Let go of your reputation.

What I am discovering about myself is that I am really good at two things:

1. supporting causes I believe in, in absentia (I am not that good at showing up at events, but I will buy the book, donate the money, make the call, send the email!)

2. connecting people (I don't need to be THE PERSON, but I can often help find THE PERSON, and make those introductions so that a project might move forward.)

You'll notice that these are not-in-the-spotlight, backseat positions. A lot of the stress in my life happens when I forget this about myself and get sucked into my need to win, need to be right, need to be superior, need to achieve, need to have more.

So maybe my most basic intent is this: BE WHO I REALLY AM.


  1. Lots of food for thought here. Why is it so hard to sometimes be who we really are? You'd think that'd be like instinct. But it's not.

  2. Thank you for the challenge to be simply our best selves in each moment. Thank you, too, for including Wayne Dyer's points; in this time of Lent, they strike me as identifying really great things to "give up" that will strengthen us to make more intentional and authentic steps along our spiritual journey. God bless you!

  3. I love Wayne Dyer's books. His messages always hit home with me. I love the basic intention of simply to BE. I'm still learning how to do that. It's so hard to let go of trying to prove I'm a worthy friend/parent/wife/sister/teacher/writer/... How much more peaceful my life would be if I could show myself the same compassion I show for others.

  4. Be open and present-yes this is something that I am trying to accomplish. Sometimes I think that I am open but it is not a full openness, just a slight one. Being open means to be fully present and ready to listen and fill my spirit with others' words. Am I ready? I will think about that today, Irene, so thank you for your thoughts.

  5. I had some of the same concerns this morning, but I think it is well stated that you intend to be more like Popeye! I applaud this and will join you!

  6. Years ago, I replaced my Obama bumper sticker with "Do Not Harm." For my new car a friend (a Republican) gave me a Coexist sticker that shows all religious symbols. He noted, however, that I place the bumper sticker on the left side of my car while he put his on the right. We laugh. We are all in this together. I love the Wayne Dyer quote and would like to put that on my windshield. (Maybe I'll just repost your post on Facebook.)

  7. What a lot of food for thought here, Irene. I can relate to your analysis of yourself being a not-in-the-spotlight but rather a supportive kind of person, and a connecting person, and feeling most content when you're operating in those roles. I will take that thought with me--to be more aware of who I am and content with being that person. I love the Wayne Dyer quote too especially the beginning: "Stop being offended." Not that I have a lot of trouble with taking offense, but I do have an active imagination and sometimes it gets me in trouble.

  8. I was intrigued by your title and love how you brought it all around to Popeye's wise words! My big take away from your post is your realization that our frustration with intention can be because they're about the future: "I realized those are all about the future, when my spiritual practice is about NOW. So an intention has to be rooted in the current moment, and the current moment only." I love that!

  9. I also echo the other sentiments here. I am what I am. I agree that I need to make my intentions reality for where I am in this moment in my life. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Yes to this blog post and the messages it sends out. Just BE. Amen to that, sister.


Your thoughts?