Life is full of choices, a daily bursting of tiny and medium-sized and even life-shaking decisions. Every day and every minute and every week, our minds are faced with billions of decisions that end up charting our lives like a slapdash, zig-zag graph. Our brains are like calculators, adding up the costs and benefits and spitting out endless decisions like bygone receipts.
We decide what to wear, what to buy, what’s for dinner, what to watch, how to spend our time, who to spend time with. Work decisions, childcare decisions, what’s the right thing to do, when to let things go, when to hold on tight. Who to marry, how many children to have, where to live, what do I want to be when I grow up?
These swirling and whirling choices move us forward, or backward, or leave us frustrated and paralyzed in our own muck. Many are made unconsciously, many are made to please the elusive “someone else.”
We follow our hearts, we follow our instincts, we make the logical choice. We mess up, we back-track, we course-correct, we slide down the hill saying, “Wheee!” or maybe, “What have I done?”
Our children, too, as they get older and become more independent, become little choice-makers. Mayors of their own lives, picking and choosing who they are and what paths they will take. The dusty paths that make their eyes water and their noses sniffly, the paved paths of opportunity, the bumpy roads that lead to adventure or heartbreak or mediocrity.
In the midst of all these choices and decisions that define our journeys, what would happen if we took a step back and set some guiding intentions for our lives?
Let’s roll out the story of our lives like a well-loved map and decide where we want to go and what is truly important to us. Then our decisions can flow from these intentions like a river on its natural course, intuitive and blissfully-uncomplicated.
For me, my intentions are Joy and Service. I only want to do things that bring me (or my family) joy or give me an opportunity to serve others and bring light into the world. With these two guiding precepts, I can coast through decisions that come my way. I’m not simply making decisions at random; I have a destination in mind.
No, I don’t want to go to your press-on nails party or Tupperware party because that will NOT create joy for me. Yes, I’d love to be an advisor for your group because I believe in your mission to serve others. Yes, I would certainly like to go to Bali and stay in an over-water hut because that clearly oozes joy.
These are the questions that will help you set your intentions. What is important to you? What kind of life do you want to have? What has held you back in the past? What is your “Why?” Ideas for intentions: peace, love, joy, fun, success, intuition, boundaries, happiness, health, clarity.
Intentions are stars that can light our paths and give us clarity and purpose. Your time and your energy are treasures to be safeguarded. We can also begin to talk to our kids about setting boundaries and making good choices that will keep them on a healthy path.
As busy moms juggling all the things, we are constantly churning out decisions. Setting intentions is a way to streamline our lives and move ourselves, choice-by-beautiful-choice, toward our dreams and goals. It’s the big-picture way to choose a well-lived life.