Sometimes we walk through life with “good intentions”. We may even sit down and create a list of changes we want to make. This checklist might include different paths we want to walk (“do more to help those with less”), or a different way of living into our lives (“spend some time in prayer”). It would likely have some resolutions we intend to keep (“work out regularly”) or habits we want to break (“watch less TV”). I imagine that when you say aloud, write down, or think about these concepts, it’s because you intend to follow through.
Last Monday, Intentional Living was the topic. The subject didn’t just pop into my mind; I’ve been thinking and praying about it for a long time. I believe that “thoughts become words, and words become actions”. I’ve been intentional about living intentionally.
Today is the first day of, a leap year, February. The Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, and makes allowance for the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. There was a LOT of intentionality in creating a calendar that accurately reflected our planet’s movement. Let’s take that as a blessing for February to be a time to concentrate on HOW we live.
In March of 1992, when Thich Nhat Hanh’s book “Peace Is Every Step” came out in paperback, I bought it. It was the first book of its type that I ever purchased. I remember reading:
“Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile”.
I was moved by the simplicity and depth of those ten simple words. As I read his words, a door opened for me, an invitation was issued, and I walked through. In the twenty-four years since then, I’ve read more books than I can count on spiritual, religious and metaphysical topics. I recognize that I have much to learn and many places to grow, so I seek out knowledge and drink it in. Last Saturday, surrounded by the beauty and peacefulness of the falling snow, I was struck by a strong desire to live purposely, in a way that honors my spirit.
As we walk through this journey together, let’s start with how we breathe. Like many aspects of life, we often don’t recognize the value of something unless it’s taken away. For example, if you never live with pain, you may take that for granted. If you hurt your back, you realize very quickly what a gift it is to be pain-free. The same is true for breathing. Too many of us take breathing in and breathing out for granted. We don’t “think” about it.
I’ve been purposeful about creating time to sit, be quiet and breathe. At first, that seemed tough. I had to quell the voice in my head saying, “You have a lot to do: an appointment in two hours, a story to write, pasta sauce to make. You have to vacuum, send out some notes, work on a curriculum, do the laundry, frame a photo, read seven other books, work on the taxes, paint the trim, make new pillows, pull colors for a client, meet a friend, catch up on email, and, and, and….” (this really is how my brain works much too often.) I want to get better at “shutting off the noise” and practicing “conscious breathing”. Thinking something as simple as “in” and “out” with each inhale and exhale, we begin to breathe with intention.
I gave my first copy of “Peace Is Every Step” away after I read it. I bought another copy in December of 2014 and put it on the shelf in the library. It sat there until last week when I became aware again that I wanted/needed/desired to live more intentionally.
Would you be willing to do some conscious breathing in your life? If you’re thinking, “How the heck am I going to fit sitting down to breathe into my day?”, I’d ask you to consider what time-stealers (TV, Facebook, pinterest, twitter, candy crush, foursquare, flickr, instagram, youtube, etc.) you’d be willing to cut back on a little to make the time–take the time–for you, to just BE you…quiet, still, breathing in and breathing out.
My desire, for this week, is to “Live In The Moment”. What is your desire for your life?
to live intentionally,
and to honor this life by being present with thought-full intention.
©2016 Peace Full Home/Intentional Living
p.s. from “The Checklist from Z to A”: #46. Choose to look at things differently; we get so used to seeing things from a certain perspective that we often don’t consider how it would appear from a different “view”. This ties right into “Intentional Living“. If we don’t choose to change the way we “see” the world and our lives, it’s very tough to change our paths.