Experiments with intention
I believe that with our intentions, we can change the world and our own lives for the better.
I believe this because I’ve proved it to myself by experimenting.
It all started when I got my car (a 2006 model, so that was the approximate year), and it came with XM radio, where I started listening to Oprah’s Soul Series. I also bought and read a number of books written by the people she was interviewing on the series.
Consequently I was reading a lot about the law of attraction, and I decided to try it. I’d sit on the sofa before work and spend 15 or 20 minutes with my journal.
First I would write, as mentioned in Esther Hicks‘s books, “I am in my Creative Workshop.” This phrase acknowledges that each of us has the power to be a creator of our own experiences.
Then I would express appreciation for all that’s good in my life by writing down five or more things I felt thankful for–big or small, it doesn’t matter. Genuine appreciation and gratitude are what’s important.
Then I’d write down intentions for my day and my life. I’d think about where I was experiencing dissatisfaction, and write intentions that would improve my situation.
I began to notice that doing this really worked.
The very first thing I remember noticing a change in was the bird chorus outside my door as I did this practice. I was writing in my journal early in the morning, and one of the things I was grateful for was the beautiful birdsong I was hearing. There wasn’t much at first, a few twitters and trills, but as I kept noticing it each morning, it really intensified. I don’t know if more birds showed up, or if the ones I already had sang louder and longer, but it was really something! Just as all the books said, I got more of what I was noticing and paying attention to.
One of the intentions I set that continues to affect my life was to be willing to be in non-judgment of others. (If you want to change your life, this is a great way to do it.) I found that as I set this intention each day, I began following through on it, and dropping my judgments of others. I began saying to myself when I felt judgment come up, “We’re all doing our best.” Or, “No one asked you to judge.”
I could see how I could impact my own life, and I began to wonder, what about something bigger, something that involves many more people than just me and the people I know. Could I change that?
For many years, I commuted to work about 45 miles each way. My manager at the time was fairly inflexible about the hours we worked, so I had to drive during rush hour. I really wanted to drive to work in smoothly-flowing traffic as I was used to doing, but it seemed like an impossible goal. I decided to ask anyway.
I began writing down my intention to drive to work in smoothly-flowing traffic each morning in my journal. I did this for several weeks.
One day at work, one of my coworkers who’d seemed to be nursing a grudge against me and who also had a long commute from a similar location, stopped by and told me about a shortcut through the airport that I never knew existed. She had the air of someone getting something off her chest. I asked for a few details, thanked her, and promptly tried it the next morning.
Well … guess what? The shortcut took me around the worst of the traffic. When I drove to work using this shortcut, I found myself driving, most of the time, in smoothly-flowing traffic. Just as I’d intended.
Wow … I was impressed. A really helpful solution to a problem I thought couldn’t be solved, that definitely improved the quality of my life.
What I learned was, just ask. Don’t worry about how intractable a problem seems, just ask for a solution.
I stopped journaling every morning years later when I had a boss who made me show up to work even earlier. But I still use the journal technique when a significant issue arises.
Last week, someone at work whom I’ll call Bob reared his head again. Bob has a medium-important title, a real facility for regressing to childhood in the blink of an eye, and quite a mean streak. Fear and intimidation seem to be his preferred ways of getting things done.
So last Wednesday on a conference call, when I was right and Bob was wrong, he spoke to me with a degree of contempt that was notable to everyone present. I received multiple apologies afterward–none of them from Bob.
My manager is well aware of the problem and is working to address it. Bob has already had one person in his group get disgusted with the way he was being treated and quit. One of his more highly-skilled people, I might add. Bob has also been asked to apologize to someone who sits near me whom he’d spoken to nastily–I overheard that apology. His MO seems to be that when he knows his team has made a serious mistake, he becomes proactively nasty to those he thinks might draw attention to it. Like I say, he operates out of fear.
I’ve done much of what I can to address the problem in the realm of work, but I don’t like to sit on my hands, I like to call in the big guns. I decided it was time to write some good old-fashioned intentions in my journal.
It is my intention that Bob treat me and those I work for with absolute and complete respect. It is my intention that we be able to do our jobs freely, correctly, and well, without interference from Bob or anyone else.
It is my intention that any negative techniques Bob is using and any ethical lapses he has made come to the full and immediate attention of his superiors, and that they take swift action to correct these problems completely.
I also ask that any karmic consequences due to Bob arrive in a timely way.
On Friday we received a remarkably polite e-mail from Bob. When I investigated I found that someone on our team had made an error, and I responded with a solution. Now that is the kind of interaction I’m looking for.
I know how mercurial Bob is, and I don’t think we’re out of the woods just yet. But I have every reason to believe that setting intentions works. At times like this, it’s very good to know that it’s completely possible, no matter who you are and no matter how much power the world says you have or don’t have, to tap into the power of the Universe to get things done, solve problems, and see justice done. A power–need I say–far greater than Bob’s. And a technique far better than fear and intimidation.
And so my latest experiment begins. I reiterate my intentions, and wait for a solution to arrive.