Monday, July 27, 2009

13 Daily Doses of Intention

I find that even though I believe in the idea of being present, of living not only life, but also each moment, with intention, I still get caught up in the "tasks" of daily life and end up going about my day distracted, in a rush, or at the very least, lost in thoughts or worries that have nothing to do with the present moment. Intention gets lost in the dust.

On a typical day, I jump up out of bed before the alarm has even gone off because my four year old is already heading down the stairs and ready for breakfast. Then the morning continues at a less than leisurely pace in order to keep to a school or work schedule. And it can be non-stop from then on for the rest of the day. I'll then find myself with my head on the pillow, ready to sleep at the end of the day, wanting to acknowledge all that I am grateful for that day...but find myself quickly drifting off to sleep before I get past "Thank you for today...".

So I decided to come up with a tool for myself, a tool to help me make Intention a greater part of my daily life. And, not a surprise to anyone that knows me, this tool happens to be a list. I LOVE lists. I am the list queen! I have many things I'd like to accomplish in my life and my many lists help me stay centered and grounded. And though they are lists that have daily tasks, the focus is more on big projects and long-term goals. They do not necessarily address the day to day routines.

So in going about creating my check list, I spent quite a bit of time allowing it to emerge organically, better reflecting who I am over time, rather than jumping into a plan that wasn't truly me. I also have committed it to memory, so that at any given point in the day, I can review it to myself and see how I'm doing that day.

My list gives me focus. It brings the idea of intention into a tangible form ~ not just an idea that sounds good. And just having this tool to reflect on, whether I've adhered to it or not, has made me stop and pause for a moment ~ which really, pausing is the intent! Granted, there are some days when I forget about it entirely, but they are becoming fewer and fewer in number.

Now, this list is for me, and if you like the idea and decide to create one for yourself, make sure it reflects you, not me. After all, you are the one that it’s for ~ make sure it fits your life! And why 13 you may ask? Well, 13 is a sacred number in a lot of cultures, and I strongly resonate with it. But you can use any number you'd like, start with just 1 item if that's all you want to take on at this point. Just be careful to not overwhelm yourself from the get go, you'll just end up tossing it aside in frustration!

There are definitely days when I only get to 5 or 8 items on my list, but I am just glad that I'm doing SOME of them. It's taking the first step that matters, not the destination, right?

So here goes ~ and these are NOT in any order of importance by the way, they are ALL important to me, but it was too hard to draw a circle with all the components in this blog format. If you're more of a visual person, that may be the better way to go than a list anyway!

13 Daily Doses of Intention
1. Give thanks for today and for this life.
2. Give thanks to the four elements (Air, Fire, Water, Earth), because it is with them that I create something new and change the universe for the better each day.
3. Identify one way I will change the universe (ie: myself) for the better.
4. Play with my son.
5. Connect with my husband.
6. Walk or dance (some physical activity each day)
7. Be outdoors.
8. Have alone time.
9. Be quiet, do nothing, breathe. (sometimes I get #7-9 all at the same time!)
10. Identify one thing I will create today. This can be dance, a meal, art, sewing...whatever taps into my creative talents and expresses who I am.
11. Create that something (see #9).
12. Give thanks to someone, acknowledge their gifts and presence in my life.
13. Learn something new.

Reviewing my list each morning (even if that means at 10:00 in the morning), and then again during the day, and finally at night, I am able to stop long enough to insert intention into my day. And the idea really, is to make it a habit. The more I do it, the more it becomes just a part of my day, rather than something I have to “remember” to do. And eventually, the list itself will become obsolete.

But then, that will mean that it’s simply time to create a new list of some kind!

Blessings on the journey!



  1. Tracy, I really love this idea! I am going to take this on, of course tailoring it for myself. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  2. I love your list too, Tracy! I'm delighted that you have 4. and 5. on your list: I have this sense of relief that I'm not alone in needing to mindfully include meaningful connection with my children and husband in my daily intentions, and in thinking that actually playing with my children is radically important! :-) I love the richness of your list -- how it includes nature, and dance/movement, gratitude, quiet, creation, Universe ... I wonder what my daily list might look like?