Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Intending vs. Goals

Whatever you ca do or dream you can, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I have been thinking a lot this morning probably because I was up earlier than usual. My friend had invited me to share an early morning yoga class and, since my love is off today, I left Babou with him to sleep away.

Yoga class stretched me at many levels this morning and let me know just how much my body would enjoy this sort of activity on a regular basis. It also made me want to throw up a little! The instructor guided us through a short meditation and spoke briefly about setting your intention for the day and described how this is different from setting a goal. A goal, she explained, occurred in the future; while an intention guided you softly in the moment. I was quite struck by her words and immediately thought of how motherhood automatically creates the fertile ground for this way of living. I used to have amazingly long lists of things to do and rushed through them always trying to get to the end, to the future, not enjoying the process very much. Now that I have a child I feel like I am trying to run while underwater. EVERYTHING is in slow motion. I have found I just have to go with the moment and do the best I can while heading in a general direction.

Later, at coffee (thank GOD for coffee), my friend and I were discussing life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. We were talking in general about how we are both striving for certain things that seem elusive. I, myself, am trying to lose weight. It occurred to me in that moment that if I didn’t focus on having weight to lose but rather acted as though I had already lost it, that I might stop sabotaging my efforts. I think the reason we are often unsuccessful in our efforts is because we hold deep-seated unconscious beliefs about ourselves and our subconscious directs our actions to make that our reality. But if we changed our minds consciously, and practiced that change consciously, that it would sink into our subconscious minds and then it would act as our ally, not our enemy. Maybe the Goethe was right, maybe there is magic in intending and boldly beginning.

And then I thought, “maybe I think too much!”


smileymamaT said...

wow that was very deep. Maybe you're right. Or maybe if I would think a little deeper, I'd be too busy to be snacking..
:) hey, it's worth a shot!

Jolyn said...

I think I followed you ... ! Actually, I just read Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love" and so thoroughly enjoyed it -- and this post reminded me of that book. I loved the intention vs. goal bit, too.

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

Well, after all was said and done your last line made me laugh right out loud. I liked your Yoga teacher's idea that goals occur in the future. I worry about the future which may not even happen. If I focused on the now I would be better off.

Mrs. G. said...

I agree with what you said 100 percent...I think.

Life As I Know It said...

Very true. I always seem to get philosophical after a good yoga class, too.
And motherhood? Motherhood forces you to live in the moment. I've changed my focus A LOT over the last 6 years...
Great post!

Mary Alice said...

I like the new background color. I took this advice yesterday -imagining that I had already achieved my ideal. I took a long walk with the dogs yesterday thinking all the while "My ass is the size of a peanut" I got some strange looks as I walked along like I was Miss Thang and when I came home guess what I made for dinner? Asian noodles and shrimp in PEANUT sauce. Maybe too much emphasis on Peanut?

Anonymous said...

I love that quote. And it's so true - instead of thinking and thinking (and re-thinking) something, it's more effective just to be it. To live it. To boldly jump in and become it.

I think about that quote a lot. I think and think and think about it. (Ach! Perhaps I need to practice yoga a bit more...)

Jo said...

Ophelia Rising:
That quote is totally inspiring to me too. So many times I have had to get past my fear of the "what ifs" and just jump and that has made all the difference in my life.

Jo said...

I was snacking while I was writing the post so I don't know....!

Jo said...

I hadn't heard of that book--I'll have to check it out.

Jo said...

Dear Life as I know it:
Thanks for the encouragement! It's so nice to think too much and have others understand and even like it!