GRATITUDE AND INTENTION: What I’ve Learned
2015 has been a big year for new growth and understanding for me. That has been my choice, and I’m still making adjustments. It was only recently that I realized the connection between gratitude and intention. Let me tell you the story of how that came about.
At the end of 2014 opportunity knocked in the name of Darla LeDoux, a business coach I had been following for a while. At the time I wasn’t even conscious that I wanted to have a business. I wasn’t sure what my intention was – maybe write another book. I did recognize the opportunity, however, and took the leap to work with her for a year. That year hasn’t just been about business, Baby! All of us in her program went deep within and got called, albeit with love, on our own crap which was holding us back from our stated intentions. I actually had issues with both gratitude and intention.
I guess I had started to recognize how difficult it was for me to feel true, deep gratitude. I love my life, but I also have a lot of trouble recognizing what was good in getting me here. Darla helped me see how I happen to be very attached to the struggle, to surviving. When asked to remember a time of great joy or happiness, I took far too long, often days. I decided to keep a gratitude journal.
I was initially stimulated to keep this journal by a talk given by Carol Tuttle called, Healing Your Soul Print. To paraphrase what I heard; My soul contract (why I’m here in the world) had previously been to learn the lessons of Lack, Struggle and Pain. I had really gotten good at Lack, Struggle and Pain so I don’t need that contract any more. I can change my soul contract to learning the lessons of Affluence, Ease and Joy instead.
That was going to take some practice…
Another thought provoking source I’ve mentioned here before is the book White Gloves: How We Create Ourselves Through Memory, by John Kotre. He writes about how memories are formed, how they continue to be formed, and that, “Whatever their mix of fact and fantasy, they are the means by which an individual’s identity is grafted onto a group’s.”
I had chosen to identify with survivors, rather than thrivers.
I decided I wanted some more positive memories, ones that would allow me to actually thrive, rather than survive. This was my first step in connecting gratitude and intention, though I didn’t realize that was what I was doing. I began the practice of keeping a gratitude journal, where almost every day I wrote things I was grateful for, and eventually, why I was grateful. In addition to everyday things I am grateful for in the present, I started reaching into my past to revisit, rephrase, and reinterpret the tough times that made me a survivor. I found some beautiful, happy memories back there. I realized I had chosen to keep the painful memories alive rather than allow the joy.
Who would choose that?!
It was part of how I got here, so I’m not judging myself, just being grateful I’m here.
One of my associates, Kelly Sheets, offered an “Increase Your Influence 5-day challenge.” I also took her Naked Influence Course. This really clarified to me what Darla was asking when she talked about having an intention. It sure can take time for us to get a message, can’t it?
Doing the Naked Influence course helped me realize it would make a lot of sense for me to be grateful, to know gratitude, in order to choose my intentions. Gratitude allows us to know what we want and helps us form our intentions for further experiences. Knowing what good things I have already “gotten” in my life allows me to hope and believe that I can have other good things, good results. I just have to know, to decide what my intentions are.
That makes so much sense, but I grew up thinking I had to experience something, then decide what I could get from it. Take what I’m given, and do my best with it. THAT’S BACKWARDS! And it seems many from my generation have felt that way. Now that I’m aware of what intention truly is, all those times I heard it in school and elsewhere and discounted the concept for who-knows-what reason, all those times come rushing back to me.
NOW I realize why it is important to know what I want to do and what I want others to take away from what I do.
NOW I know how to have intention. And just like writing well, building a business will take the practice of consistent intention.
That’s my story of gratitude and intention.
One has led me to a deeper understanding of the other.
OH – and for you who may be considering starting a gratitude practice, whether journaling or otherwise, when I checked back to see when I began I was surprised to see a whole year had passed. Time is passing one way or the other, we might as well have intentions for it. And Gratitude!
And here I want to give gratitude for the life of my friend, Kathy Amick, who was a cheerleader for joy and gratitude, my own, as well as others’. Though she died just before the one-year anniversary of my gratitude practice, being around her was another influence for me to get going and practice gratitude and intention.
I recently conducted my first teleclass and I’m making the recording available here.
I call it “How to Be the Boss of Your Holidays and Your Health.”
Please take a listen and let me know how it resonates with you. Thanks!