When intentions “fail” perhaps something else “succeeds”

Winter storm warning--tree skeletons of snow off the deck last night

What the camera saw (I almost like this better)

On 11/11/11 I decided this blog was going in a different direction.

(Yawn. You’re bored with me announcing this periodically through the blogging years, aren’t you?  I know part of me is.)

I was going to write deeper blogs.  Or blogs more from the heart.  Or something like that. 

An inner desire keeps rising to be truer to the inner voice.  And yet, still, it also feels unclear exactly what that means.

So on 11/11/11 this desire for–something–to change, to balance, to tweak a little to the left or right peaked and accelerated and I announced with utter assurance that a change was a’comin’.

Yes, I would be truer to the inner voice.  Write from that.  The inner voice would be queen.  It would rule.

It would.  Finally. Once and forever more.

Not what it looks like this morning. Too dark for good photos yet. A couple of days ago, instead.

This worked for about two days.  OK, maybe a few hours.

And then I was off & running, following the stream or flow of the moment, writing from what IT wanted to express, not what the mind had determined ought to be expressed.

For example.  Sitting down at the computer this morning, one can discover all sorts of intentions about writing a blog.  Some of the intentions can be labeled “good” and others “not-so-good.”  (The mind is good at labeling.  See the last rant for more about this.  A lot of you said it didn’t sound like a rant, but I was feeling rant-like.  Hence, the title.)

The deeper truth which always seems to succeed in my blogging and life is celebrating the flow-of-the-moment arising.  Whether it’s mundane or deep.  Whether it’s photos or words.  It is the sacred celebration of life flowing through us.  That is what ultimately feels more important than limiting blogging–or life–to one trajectory, one course, one sailing direction.

Snowy. Will we grill again outside this year? Isn't looking like it now...

We all state intentions.  OK, some of us  do more than others.  Some of our intentions succeed.  Others seemingly fail.  It’s valuable to look at our “failed” intentions to see what hidden intentions might be stronger and more potent than what we’re trying to accomplish.

Let’s say we want to lose ten or twenty pounds.  We’re sure.  But, within the movement of the day, we discover ourselves at the refrigerator wolfing down chocolate cake.  What is stronger than our intention to lose weight?  Perhaps our fear of indecision leads us to attempt to fill ourselves with food. Perhaps it’s a niggling feeling of insecurity, or fear of emptiness, or despair, which leads us to grab the fork and try to fill the inner black hole with sustenance.  Perhaps we think the freedom to choose is more vital than our mind or heart’s desire. 

It is always valuable to look at the intention that is ruling the day.  What is actually happening, versus what we think we want to happen.

Perhaps we need to look what we’re pushing away, giving away, in exchange for the new desire.  Is there a way to honor both/and? 

Is there a way for us to have our chocolate cake and eat it, too?  To lose our ten pounds and celebrate the cake? 

I’m not sure.  I feel less sure of most things these days, and that feels good.

Another snowy deck view

What I truly want to do–with 100% of this heart–is to celebrate every moment.  To fully participate in it.  To be as aware as possible, as engaged as possible, as present as possible.  To honor what arises, without wishing it was something else. 

Do you have an intent you feel comfortable sharing?  Do you have an intent you want to accomplish, yet it remains elusive? 

P.S.  When I sat down at the computer, I intended to write an ENTIRELY different blog.  It involved entirely different photos.  But the flow of life demanded this.  Perhaps it thought someone might be helped by this.  Or that I might be helped by articulating it. 

Who wants to argue with the flow of life?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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34 Responses to When intentions “fail” perhaps something else “succeeds”

  1. “I feel less sure of most things these days, and that feels good.”

    Sounds like the wonderful Buddhist practice of Not-Knowing (which to my way of thinking is positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing).

    • Elisa's Spot says:

      This not knowing, i thought I knew, but apparently I do NOT know. Which is really funny, or not. I have been bumping into reminders of that not knowing the last week. My average response to this particular reminder is usually laughter, and a check to myself. This time, is just awful and mournful sadness, and I just keep picking up my feet and walking. Sometimes I think that walking is automatic and blind and I hate it. Other times I recall faith. Faith that I can. Faith that I will be led. Faith that I will continue to learn, to stretch, and to grow. Might need to buy new pants.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Laurie. Not-knowing can be so wonderful. It can also be scary. It can be both. I both want to intimacy of not-knowing and fear it simultaneously. Some day, I think, it may be easier to walk this intimate path.

  2. Elisa's Spot says:

    I began laughing at the words. Then parts of me began shaking heads, for various reasons. Then, I protested aloud that I cannot write and create on my own blog nor in my own life, because life on life’s terms seems to be all filled with heavy. Filled with things that many humans avoid. Focusing on ‘happy’ things. Part of me said, “well, this ‘despair’ as you so dramatically put it, comes from you allowing stuckness. Ignoring MY voice that says LOOK, the blades of grass are still brilliant electric green against the grey background of the winter outside. LOOK at what that means!! Shake shake, (abuse self, wake up self). I stick with honest and sometimes honest means that I say that I’m crying and screaming and in pain or having fear that my now will be always and I can’t always see the joy. I am glad, for now, that I CAN still know the joy is there. Thinking of the cake filling mouth and throat and senses with flavor and texture reminded me of that. That all said, I think my intent to notice and to express joy, appears to consistently fly in the face of whatever is going on. Sometimes I just cannot seem to manage both at the same time. If I were not afraid of complaining and sharing the real sometimes hard facts of daily life, perhaps this ‘stuck’ might move. Keeping it to myself allows part of me to continue to have a funeral for what is ‘lost’ or ‘missing’. I am doing it to myself right now!

    So, I will attempt to add another facet of honest. I was able to notice the green of the grass today, AND to think about an individual blade!!! PROGRESS!! –though I am noticing that how I gauge such progress is still to the perfection side. Laughing joyful thoughts of being perfectly imperfect have rather taken a vacation–hehehe I might write a diary of their vacation roflmao….

    • Brenda Hardie says:

      quietly reading your words over and over Elisa because it seems that you know what’s going on in my head, especially this part…”I think my intent to notice and to express joy, appears to consistently fly in the face of whatever is going on. Sometimes I just cannot seem to manage both at the same time. If I were not afraid of complaining and sharing the real sometimes hard facts of daily life, perhaps this ‘stuck’ might move. Keeping it to myself allows part of me to continue to have a funeral for what is ‘lost’ or ‘missing’. “………and Kathy…I feel less sure of most things and right now it doesn’t feel good. For some unknown reason I am feeling a total loss of control in my life and it is not feeling comfortable. It is making me edgy and apprehensive. I have been trying to return to meditation and always spending time in prayer but I feel as though I am wallowing, sinking, disappearing gradually, bit by bit and no one is noticing. There are things I need to do to pull myself together but it feels like “just out of my grasp”. So…..I find myself just allowing what IS, to simply BE what it IS. Good or bad, it is what it is. Hmm…time for more quiet reflection…
      Thank you for the thought provoking post my friend and by the way, your snowy pictures are lovely and hey…why not grill in the wintertime? My sister and her hubby grill all throughout the year, Mark just shovels off the deck and brushes the snow off the grill and then he proceeds to make the entire neighborhood hungry for summertime picnics!

      • Kathy says:

        so many of us feel the same way at times, don’t we Brenda? How can we delight in the electric green grass at the same time as we have a funeral for what seems lost or missing? I don’t know the answers. The loss of control can be good–especially if we give ourselves over to God fully. If we’re not ready to give ourselves over 100%, perhaps we need to claim some of that control again. I do not know. I don’t want you to sink and disappear because you have so much to offer. And yes, it does seem “out of our grasp”. And yet, in faith, perhaps even that is enough. Does that make sense? I think we have grilled before in wintertime, but not often. It’s a good idea that Mark shovels off the snow and grills. Will remember that some weekend eve! (P.S. Please feel free to privately email if you ever want to talk.)

        • Brenda Hardie says:

          Yes, Kathy this does make sense. Maybe what I’m missing right now is a stronger faith. I know from past experience that leaving everything to God is always the right thing to do. And whenever I try to “control” things, that’s when life gets messy. Thank you for reminding me what is important. I will pray on this and I am sure after awhile life will settle down again. And thank you about the email suggestion too. It’s bedtime now…sweet dreams my dear friend of the north 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad this provoked thoughts and feelings, Elisa. I think–again and again–how we can despair of our inner feelings, our inner differences, our inner thoughts. I want to be really compassionate to whatever arises. All parts of this complex self, this complex awareness of life. How can we be more compassionate of every single thing arising? I ponder this everyday.

      • Elisa's Spot says:

        I”m giggling now. I finished my list of things! I managed to get myself to the tree place and finished with the last light of the day! I came home and ate properly and my tummy and body are humming in agreement.

        I’m giggling about you said, and again, thinking about that dern cup of tea! Maybe a book, Life is Just a Cup of Tea. You asked me before about the tea bag dunking comment that I made. Honestly, I forgot the exact trigger for the thought. I know that the tea bag has something to do with decisions, options, habit, acting out, and control, maybe even power. The individual molecules of water are those things arising. Do I pick them apart and whine because the taste of one differs slightly from the one before or the one after? (No.) Do I notice? (Sometimes yes, sometimes no.) What I do know that I love about it is that it is always different. I do not know really if that is compassion. I carry a view of the label compassion that grates upon nearly all that I AM. I wonder when you choose to use it, do you mean acceptance? Not liking nor disliking, nor feeling any way at all, simply accepting–like I use the term Walking Alongside….

        • Kathy says:

          Yes? I think that’s what I mean? Compassion, to me, feels like a huge allowing where the heart feels open and accepting. Where it’s not pushing away, where it feels connected with what arises. Yes, that’s what I think compassion means to me. Right now. Walking alongside sounds good, too.

  3. kiwidutch says:

    No matter how hard you try to avoid it, the blog that makes you happy to write creeps out, I’d say don’t fight it, write about whatever your heart and the day brings at that moment in time… and enjoy it!

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, indeed, kiwi, to write what comes out and brings joy…that is key! Almost all of my blogs have brought joy. But sometimes, later, they bring other emotions, too. I have found life to be muddled with lots of intents and feelings. Which feeling do we give the most credibility? The initial joy? Or the feelings which arise later? that is always the challenge. When dozens of feelings arise, which one gets honored the most?

  4. john says:

    You saw my desire in my podcast demo, I want so much to interview people, help them tell their stories, give them a platform from which to speak. It is the Studs Terkel in me. Everyone has such intriguing stories.

    It is amazing. The further I go back in the history of L’Anse the more prominent the Brennan family becomes. To write a novel about the exploits of their family would be such a challenge, but such fun.

    In 1914 Tim’s great uncle Hubert was the Baraga County Prosecutor and was assisting Houghton county prosecuting striking miners involved in violent acts. On Jan 7 the strikers attempted to do away with Hubert and attempted to dynamite his home, but on their way the fuse and blasting cap fell out and they had to abandon the planted explosive beneath his front door. Next morning the authorities found the blasting cap somewhere up the street.

    People are so interesting!

    • Kathy says:

      Well, John, you wouldn’t believe it, but I ended up seeing Geneva Brennan at the coffee shop and reading her your comment this morning. 🙂 It’s a small world, Charlie Brown, as well as a white one. She thinks you and her husband, Tim, should really talk. She said you really should have had the opportunity to talk with Tim’s dad, but he’s no longer alive. I so want you to follow your passion! I think your next opening will come if you find a way to begin interviewing people.

  5. susan says:

    I would never try to change the flow of life – you are writing exactly what is coming out, it’s you all over the page. Intentions are wonderful things. I sit down to write. That is my intention. What comes out, however, is left up to “Source”/God/Flow or whatever you want to call it. I delight in the surprises! Often I end up with something, as you did, that was not what I thought it would be, and yet, it’s wonderful just the way it is!
    “Whisper words of wisdom, let it be, let it be…….”

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Susan, you have described it so perfectly! Exactly what I have felt. Intending to write…and then waiting with delight to see what God/Flow has in mind. It’s really not our business, is it, what Spirit wants to say? Unless, of course, Spirit wants to prep us in advance. Enjoying your take. Thank you.

  6. Pingback: Creating Creation « Elisa's Spot

  7. Love this post, Kathy. My current intention is to write a memoir, which is coming to be more slowly than I would like, but it is coming. Living by not-knowin is an intenion I could easily embrace. It rings true. I feel fixed and grounded by that thought, which I love. Thanks————-

    • Kathy says:

      It does ring true, doesn’t it, Kathy? To live by not-knowing, fearlessly. I wish I could easily embrace it, but the part that thinks it knows so often supersedes this intention. Still workin’ on this one. Thank you for your words.

  8. Martha Bergin says:

    I like this one even better than your rant. I envied your rant because it was from such a deep and sure place within you–that’s why it didn’t really sound like a rant. Rant deep truth and they call it “prophecy”! “Let go of those labels! Life is LIFE IS …LIFE!!! and don’t ever say that it’s “just this” or “only that.” Those are the words of a person deeply in touch with the sacred!

    And I like this blog, too. We are leaves in the stream, we are full of the LIFE in our cells even as we drift. We give life to the earth even as we die. We dance in the current, feel the light that allows our form to be known, and if we know enough to do so, we are grateful! : )

    • Kathy says:

      Ahhh…good point, Martha. And I love what you said…Life is LIFE! All those labels–they just prevent us from seeing that truth. Your words are pure magic and I am floating beside you in the stream–hey, Martha!–don’t float away so fast!

  9. Marcie says:

    Aaaaah…but your flow is so thoughtful and true. So many struggle with the same questions..without any answers. Maybe it’s simply about trusting in that..and not needing to be anything else? Maybe the intention is to simply ‘be’ and ‘believe’??? Wonderful post!

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, trusting that…not needing anything else. I do know that the flow feels true. Yet, sometimes, as humans we flow from things which are not so healthy…like flowing from checking to the email to grabbing the camera because we can’t face something else…or checking blog hits because we’re bored and choose a familiar reaction versus a genuine response. I want the flow to come from a genuine response, not a reaction when another response might be more appropriate. Thank you, Marcie. Your comment helped me explain something this morning, at least to my mind.

  10. Claire says:

    Intention and reality are such different beasts. Admitting that to yourself is a great way forward and then the realisation that there are few who turn intention in actuality is acceptance that we are only human after all with the fragility that it entails. Didn’t intend to write all this ……………oh well! 🙂 X

    • Kathy says:

      See, Claire, you didn’t intend to write, but Life had another intention! **smile** Accepting that we are only human, truly accepting this, is a great gift indeed.

  11. Dawn says:

    I often wish I could always write something insightful…but the fingers just do what they will….willful fingers. Which usually turns out just fine and sometimes the fingers write the darnedest stuff that makes people smile or think. So I have learned not to try too hard…just let the fingers do the talking. Somehow they are attached to the heart. See? They did it again!

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, I have read many an insightful blog on your page. The fingers do type the darndest stuff, don’t they? And I love how they are attached to our hearts, and if we just get out of the way…so many smiles and thoughts result. Lovely comment!

  12. Beautiful Kathy.

    I answer from a deep place and find that things once labeled ‘negative’ emotions, like jealousy, I now know are simply indications of appetite- some pull I have to do what it is I am envious of, I take those things as indications. Fear? Oh, my inner self requires some attention here, I need to slow down and take better care because my warning system is blaring. Thank you fear.
    My intention for today, as it is many days, is to connect. First with Spirit. Then with my mind, body and soul. Then with words. Then with the world.
    Today, you, once again, figure big in to my life. I received a gift from a friend I did not even know remembered me from 4th grade. She came to me, through you. I will tell this whole story on the Line later this week.
    Until then know that every star that shines above your head is a smile from the Universe urging you on. Live your ‘one wild and precious life’ and if you feel the urge to tell us about it, then do.
    We love to hear about it.
    Yours, S

    • Kathy says:

      Oh that is so lovely, Suzi! So many “negative” emotions are exactly that–pulls from the underworld. What a lovely way of allowing fear and envy and other emotions which arise to be honored. Can’t wait to hear what you have to share on the Laundry Line. Waiting eagerly!!

  13. Robin says:

    “Is there a way for us to have our chocolate cake and eat it, too? To lose our ten pounds and celebrate the cake? ”

    Maybe. 🙂 I think it’s called the Middle Path or Middle Way.

    Your posts always generate a lot of thoughts in my head, and I often want to sit here and write almost a whole blog post in response. lol! Instead, I’ve been waiting and reining in the immediate impulse to express my thoughts and words, and just allowing your words to soak in for a while. And then, oddly enough, I don’t feel the need to come back and use words. I am explaining all this because I want you to know that if I leave a smiley face or click the “Like” button, it means… well, I’m not sure. Namaste, I suppose. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Robin, I so agree. that elusive Middle Way. I am trying to find it. It is so darn elusive! That is a good idea about allowing words to soak in. I don’t do that enough. Just read about how the mind is so fast, but the heart is very slow. We need to allow time for the heart to catch up. I feel like you are growing in wisdom so much these days. (At least leaving wise words sprinkled around the Internet.)

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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