Setting intentions can make this ordinary life beautiful

Every single choice we make affects our lives for the long-term. This is a lesson that has been hard for me to grasp. I’m a procrastinator. I’ve spent much of my life thinking of the someday. Well, someday never happens unless you make a choice. Someday isn’t going to just happen.

We can make our lives ordinary by settling. Or we can make our lives beautiful, by setting our intentions toward our life goals.

Let me explain.

I had a recent stint as an Avon lady. Stint is probably over-selling it a tad. I signed up, avoided it for a month and a half. Went to two training session where the leader of the group pronounced jewelry as jewrree. Then I bought several bottles of lotion, shower gel, nail polish, and bubble bath, thinking I’d just sell it out and about.

Then I decided to quit.

Not because there’s anything wrong with selling Avon. Not at all. I signed up because a close friend of mine had signed up to do it and for a brief moment, it seemed like a good idea. I figured it’d be easy. I mean, who can’t sell lotion and shit? Right?

Ummm, me.

For those of you who know me in real life, or if you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you’re probably having quite a chuckle right now. That’s okay. Go ahead. When I announced it to a group of my friends, they laughed. I laughed along with them. I mean, what the fuck? Me, selling fucking Avon? It’s wrong on so many levels. Not that I can’t sell. I can. But I can’t do it unless I believe in what I’m selling. And ladies, I just can’t sell wrinkle filler. Can’t do it. Plus, this shit’s priced higher than I would personally pay for that kind of stuff. I have no idea what the hell I’m going to do with these $8 bottles of lotion. I guess everyone knows what they’re getting for Christmas.

The reason I’m telling y’all about this is because it totally fits with last Sunday’s talk at my Buddhist program at Miira Suniita. The group leader spoke about the beauty of preciousness of ordinary life.

She talked about how our intentions are all we need to ensure that our lives reflect our goals.

The fact is that selling Avon doesn’t reflect any part of my life goals and it is a poor intention for me.

In order to live your life every day, the way you want, you set your intentions. She suggested setting weekly intentions. And even intentions for your sleep, right before you go to bed.

So that’s what I did this week. I made a list of all concrete things I’d need to do this week to set me down a path of goals that have been hovering around my brain for months, years, hell, some of them, all my life. I set intentions in my head for having good sleep and productive dreams.

Last Sunday, our group leader talked about how powerful our brains are, we imagine our lives. She said how very important it is to maintain a positive mind, because a positive mind will lead us down the path toward our intentions. A negative mind is something to be avoided.

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve spent way too many years allowing the negative thoughts to control my life. Thoughts like, “Oh, it sure would be nice to have that, but I can’t afford it.” Or, “Well, I’d love to do that, but it would be too hard.” Then I forget it. It’s done. See how a negative mind shuts down dreams?

Not trying is worse than trying and failing. Because at least if you try and fail, you’ve learned something.

As she spoke I thought about how easy it is to shut down my own dreams and wishes with one fell swoop. I wondered if I allowed myself to have that dream. To say, “It sure would be nice to have that thing that I want. I can’t afford it right now. But someday, maybe I will.” Or even better, “It sure would be nice to do that thing, It’s going to be hard, but I wonder what I would need to do to make it happen.”

Because really, our lives are pretty damn amazing. We have everything we need. No matter where we live or how much money we have in the bank. We live in a free country, where we have so much power. We have control of our government (in theory). We have power as consumers. We have free speech. We have freedom of religion. We have an almost absurd amount of choices in what we eat, drink, wear, and do. We can change our lives without any interference from anyone.

I think that in itself can be a problem. When you have an infinity of choices, it can be paralyzing. So much so that we often give ourselves excuses of why we can’t do it, simply so we won’t have to make any decisions.

Decision making is hard. It paralyzes me over and over. All the what ifs get in the way of making clear choices.

But what ifs aren’t concrete. They aren’t bold statements. They are possibilities. And possibilities aren’t that great unless you make a choice and move forward into a clear path.

I’ve settled for mediocrity too many times because I was afraid of the “bad” what ifs. Taken jobs I really didn’t want because I thought it was all I could get and I was afraid of getting behind on bills. So, I got what I intended. I set my intentions. I just didn’t realize what I was doing. I thought I had time to change. I thought I had time to make things different. I was just settling, “for now.”

But what I was really doing was making habits for myself. Steering myself away from rejection. Playing it safe.

When I signed up to sell Avon, it was just another way of avoiding what I really want. Because it’s scary, to define yourself with what you really want in life. Because if you fail, then you’ve lost your dream. Failure to sell Avon isn’t taking a chance. Because I can blame the product, or the lack of availability of customers. Or a poor economy. It was a safe choice straight into failure.

What I really want in life is to make it as a writer. To get paid to write. And I don’t want to just settle for writing mediocre mass-produced crap. I want to write things that really make a difference to people when they read it. I want to step boldly into new territory, and make possibilities spring to life. I want to give gifts to world with my writing.

And hell, if I lose my dream. Maybe I’ll find another one. Life is full of choices. Because, as cliche as it is, if you don’t try. You’ll never know what could have happened.

In the mean time, while I come up with world changing topics to write about, I’m offloading some overpriced lotion and shower gel. Let me know if you want some. (See? Just can’t do it.)


  1. says:

    October 7, 2010 at 5:27 am

    Great post. I really liked it. And yes, we should follow our dreams. That is awesome you want to be a writer. I believe in doing what makes you happy. It may be an uphill battle, but you will get there. I could definitely see you being a writer. And like you said, if for some reason you fail, at least you tried. I don't see you failing. Your blog is a good read.

    This post came at a perfect time for me. Seriously! I have been battling in my head what I want to do once the boys go to school full-time. Looking back at my past career in healthcare. It wasn't a bad job, but I just don't want to be in healthcare anymore. I was just discussing with the hubster last night what I want to do. I was going back and forth and your post this time around definitely helped me go towards my goal. Thanks. As crazy as it sounds, are you ready? I want to be a welder. (Que the Flashdance music.) Ha ha. An art welder. Of course I will also work part-time building energy efficient homes, but the main thing is the art welding. I am actually signing up to start classes in the Spring. Taking one at a time. I love working with my hands and I know I would love this.

    Thanks for your inspiration. I look forward to your future writing.

  2. Martha says:

    October 7, 2010 at 5:34 am

    Krys, that is awesome! I am glad to know that I inspired you. I think art welding sounds like a fantastic job. I have always wanted to learn how to use a blow torch. Just as a hobby, not for a living. Maybe once you become a professional, you could give me a lesson. 🙂

    Lindsay, thanks! 🙂 You make me laugh too.

  3. Martha says:

    October 7, 2010 at 5:38 am

    I also should have mentioned that I have actually been a professional writer before. I have a journalism degree. And I worked as a newspaper reporter for a while. It's just that its a really hard profession to get into normally, much competition, and few jobs because of the poor economy. The pay also sucks. But I love it.

  4. Martha says:

    October 7, 2010 at 6:11 am

    Yep, it's interesting how that works. Makes me think we're not that much of a capitalist society. Have you seen, "Capitalism, A Love Story"?

  5. Mary Ann says:

    October 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Don't worry how it – your dreams and intentions – will happen. You set the intention and keep good vibes surrounding it and it will be delivered. Read some of the works of Esther and Jerry Hicks – Ask and it is Given. Good stuff. It works. Glad to know you know what you want to do. You've always been a writer, you just admitted it to yourself. Go for it. That's what life is for.

  6. Martha says:

    October 12, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Hey Mary Ann,

    Thanks for the encouraging words. I will check out the Hicks. Sounds interesting. I've admitted to myself that I want to be a writer for a long time, but it's a daunting field to get into. Competition is stiff. And since becoming a mother, I've been telling myself all the reasons why I couldn't do it professionally anymore. No time. Lower priority. Much competition. Lots and lots of hard work outside of the workplace. Low pay. You name it. I thought it.

    But, I had forgotten that it's the only thing I love enough to want. I had forgotten to remind myself of all the reasons why all that stuff is worth it.

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