Intent: Set it and Forget it!

This is a topic I knew I needed to write about. Many times my writing is just as much for me as it is for the readers. This is one of those times.

Intent is defined in the dictionary as the act of intending. What is intending? Intending: to have in mind as something to be done or brought about. By definition, if we intend to do something we have set our intent. Intent doesn’t apply to just the tangible things in our lives or the things we can write on the calendar.

Intent applies to our spiritual lives, our emotional well-being, and the physical world. The question is, is it enough to set our intent and then forget it? Should we revisit our intent? If so when? This can seem like a complex set of questions. The answers will be as individual as the questions that come to your mind.

In my own experiences, I have found that there are some steps I need to take that add to the power of my intentions. Here is a simple example. If my intention is to be closer to family, I take a step in that direction. It may be as simple as picking up the phone and calling someone I haven’t spoken to for quite some time. I make a real connection whenever possible, no text messages, no email. I connect face to face or at least by phone.

In today’s world, technology has made our lives easier but at times I feel it has desensitized us and the importance of personal connections has somehow been lost in a computer screen. Even in a world of “lol” and emoticons, it is difficult to know what someone is truly feeling.

If my intentions are on a personal level, I revisit them often. It is necessary for me to keep myself in alignment with my purpose. Personal for me involves the less tangible parts of my life: my emotional well-being, my connection to others, my connection to self, my connection to source, and my spiritual well-being.

On the other hand, if my intentions involve more tangible things like my finances, or something I feel I need or desire to have in my life, I set them and forget them. What does that mean? Simple, I do what is necessary to move toward my desires. I don’t spend every waking hour crunching numbers. I know that everything I desire in life is already there and will manifest in the correct time, place, and form.

This was not always the case and I still have moments of “relapse.” I’m the type of person that really wants clear direction and not too many surprises in my tangible world. There have been times in my life that you would find me sitting with my calculator, pen and paper, crunching the numbers. I lived in fear and doubt. Where would the next dollar come from? How would I pay the bills and still strive to fill the practical needs of the people I meet on this journey?

I would look at the numbers, check the donations, look to my income as a writer, and doubt I could ever accomplish all I felt I was being called to do. Guess what I learned? Crunching numbers only brings stress, not money or answers. Stress kills..I wanted to live.

I found that the more I crunch numbers and worry about how I will achieve the tangible desires, the farther away those dreams seem to be. I simply do what I feel I’m being called to do and let God take care of the rest. Yes, even when it feels like I may not be able to do what I need for myself. Those times are not all without fear. However, they are filled with love and gratitude.

I recently set up a crowd sourcing campaign in hopes of expanding the mission of Unlimited Smileage and the number of people I can reach. I have big dreams in my mission to help others, as is evident by my campaign. Everything I’ve done since I started this mission in 2011 has come from my pocket and the donations of my readers. All money that comes in through the site goes directly to someone in need.

That campaign, soon to end, didn’t go well. If I was the kind of person to believe this to be a failure, I would walk away from Unlimited Smileage now. That is simply not who I am. In total honesty, did I want this campaign to be a success–absolutely. Do I believe that because it has not been I have failed and so has Unlimited Smileage–no way! Gratitude goes to the person who was moved to donate.

What I do believe is this. When one door closes, another one opens. When you think you have hit the wall, look for a window. When what you thought was the answer is not, the answer is not no–the answer may simply be slow–the answer may be, I have a better way.

Survivor for life, victorious not a victim…that describes what I know in my own life. If you give up how will you ever know just how far you could have gone?

I wonder, if you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from would you give the food you had to the homeless person you pass on the street? If you had just $10, no money in the bank, no retirement, no emergency fund, would you give that $10 to a stranger in need? I think you get my point. Would fear hold you from doing what you felt called to do?

In a world that puts so much emphasis on the things we acquire, the money we make, the cash in our bank account, I believe we have lost sight of the true meaning of life–love. I believe it is time to set our intentions on a new path. What can you do today to set your intentions in a new direction?

If curiosity has gotten the best of you, the campaign can be found here.

This Weeks Reader Word: Stress

This weeks reader word comes courtesy of Bev. She requested a post written about stress. It took me some time to decide how I would approach this subject. So many times when we hear the word stress it brings up a host of negativity. How do you give stress a positive spin? I’m going to give it my best shot. You can let me know how I do.

If you were to ask people what the one thing is they could do without in their lives, many would respond–stress. Maybe we should first define stress and it’s effects on the body. Did you know there are two very different types of stress? Eustress is the type of stress that brings positive change in life. Distress is the type of stress that brings negative results.

How do you know the difference between the two? There are some simple characteristics that are easily recognizable.

The most common characteristics for eustress:

  • motivates you toward a positive result
  • energizing
  • short-term
  • a feeling of an adrenaline rush

The most common characteristics for distress:

  • constant worry and anxiety
  • painful and unpleasant
  • causes physical symptoms
  • sucks the energy and life out of you

Now that we have more clarity about stress lets talk about what I do when I feel stressed. Stress can be something that sneaks up on you and before you know it you are exhausted. It has happened to me, it happens to the best of us!

One thing I do to keep stress at bay is daily meditation. The simple practice of focusing on my breath provides a wealth of health benefits. I enjoy a sense of calm and relaxation. You can find many useful online resources if you don’t understand the process for meditation. I enjoy the seasonal free meditation series that Deepak Chopra conducts online. The Spring session just started recently.

If I find myself stressed about something, I stop what I’m doing and bring my thoughts back to the moment. I ask myself, what is the worst possible outcome in this stressful situation. It is very rare that the worst possible thing that can happen, will.

Everyone has heard that laughter is the best medicine. This is so true. The next time you are feeling stressed: find the funniest movie you can and watch it, watch some stand-up comedy, laugh with a friend, set up a Skype Laughter session with me, find anything that makes you laugh. It will help to melt away the stress. Studies have shown that laughter floods our body with feel good hormones. Check out what Mayo Clinic has to say about Laughter and Stress.

There are so many effective ways to deal with the stress in your life. Many more that I use in my own life. I would be here all day trying to list them all. The most important thing to remember is that stress doesn’t have to take over your life, you can use stress to improve your life.

What do you do to handle the stress in your life? Smile through adversity.

Proud Mama: A Smile in My Heart

This post goes out to all you proud Moms. This is for those of you who have ever doubted whether you got it right, did you get anything right. Yes, each time your child smiles, just know you got it right. There may never be an award, they may never say thank you. They may never realize that the goodness in them is the goodness in you. They won’t admit to a stubborn streak, after all you won’t either.

Children are a gift that unfortunately don’t come with a manual. There are no instructions and we just have to pray we get it right. We put our heart and soul into raising this part of us that to us is our heart walking around outside our body. At times we know we did something right and at other times we aren’t so sure. We try to be a living example and hope that they get it and sometimes they do.

Raising children isn’t easy and as a Mom we find ourselves playing many roles: nurse, teacher, protector, taxi, personal chef, housekeeper and more. Never complaining, okay, maybe occasionally. We find ourselves wearing last year’s fashions, no time for ourselves, the kids come first.

Down to the last brownie in the pan and we really are craving some chocolate, we will never turn down the look on the face of our child that says–but Mom, I really wanted that last brownie. You and I know who is getting the last brownie and who will still be craving chocolate.

As our babies grow through all the stages of life we smile at the moments when they shine. Those moments when they show us that somewhere along the way we got it right. Those moments when we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, we got something right. Sometimes it is found in a simple smile and the words “I love you.” Sometimes it is found in the big win at the soccer game. Many times our children shine in ways that only we can see. When our kids shine, we shine. We smile.

Today I had one of those moments. This was a text I received from my youngest daughter.

Just had a lady at CVS come up to me. She said I would probably think she’s crazy but she found this in the parking lot and she saw I have two children so she wanted to give it to me. She handed me 11 cents. I said thank you and yes I have two more kids at school. :) So Sweet!

She could have sent me a message with a totally different tone. She could have said, wow, 11 cents. She could have said, “What does she think I can buy with that?” This text was a shining moment for my daughter, I love you Amanda. It was also a shining moment for me as her mother. With any number of things she could have said and felt, my daughter chose gratitude. That is a moment to shine. I will be smiling about this each time I think about it.

Unlimited Smileage is about all those little moments when we are able to give from the heart. It is also about all those moments when we just sit back and give thanks. Live, love, smile, and be grateful!

I would love to hear about your shining moments as a Mom or a Dad. Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing your great stories.