New Year Intentions: So How's That Intention Working Out for You? Have You Found Your "Why?" by Kathy Koenig
A few weeks ago I decided to write about my intention to set an intention instead of creating a resolution. It sounds simple and it feels simpler than a resolution. Oh, I'm also intending to check in with my feelings more than my intellect. My mind is great at overriding my feelings with rationalizations, reasons and reactivity. So, there are feelings attached to my intentions.
My biggest intention is to listen more. Listen before responding, become more aware (through those feelings) that I'm about to react and slow down. Perhaps you'd like to know how that's working so far. First, I want to share that my resolutions often came from an external drive. I "should" lose weight, eat better, save more money, exercise more. That kind of stuff. Having it external made it easier to jump into my head and rationalize why I wasn't following through, create a list of reasons and react (shame and guilt were often involved). Intentions involve me. It involves why it's important to me.
Back to how it's going. So far, so good. I'm getting tons of practice every day. Because I work with family caregivers I want to hone my listening skills. It's important to feel heard, seen and known. I believe it's particularly important during peak moments of vulnerability. There's nothing like a health crisis to feel vulnerable and separate. I realize I can add to the feelings of separation if I am quick to offer a solution or a "fix." While the solution might be helpful and might be appreciated I need to slow down, listen to what someone is asking for at the moment and then decide if it's appropriate to offer an idea.
Sometimes we just want to be heard without judgment. I'm guessing we'd all like to be heard without judgment regardless. But making tough, sometimes life-altering decisions runs up against what others might choose, what we said we'd do before (when this was all theoretical) and can feel scary to everyone involved.
Recently I've had lots of opportunities to listen to friends and family who are going through just such events. When I feel myself wanting to share I take a breath. I'm aware that the feelings rise from below and into my chest. Taking a slow quiet inhale helps me remain present at the moment and when I slowly and quietly exhale I'm more settled. I can respond more appropriately. Sometimes that response is a smile or nod of the head. I don't have to fill the space with chatter.
I'm glad I've chosen this intention. My why involves my desire to be closer to friends, family, clients and you. The world needs less of my chatter and more of my connection.
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