The Year of Living Intentionally: Opting Out of Outcomes

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I always have maintained that I am not overly interesting or intriguing, but the people I surround myself with truly are some of the most intelligent, creative, generous, and beautiful people to grace this planet.  They are among my greatest supporters and teachers, even when I close my mind and heart to what they have to share with me, at times.  When the student is ready, the teacher appears, though, and recently, I was ready, and thankfully, so, were some of the teachers.

Part of my focus of living with intention is learning to live in the present, which is excruciatingly challenging for an organizer and planner, which are code words for controller and worrier.   I live for creating “To Do” lists, setting goals, and dreaming big dreams, which in and of themselves, are not negative, but when left to roam in what can be my chaotic mind, I can twist these intentions into something almost unrecognizable.  Suddenly, my positive intentions morph into anxiety provoking demons that taunt me.

This unfortunate transformation is courtesy of my discomfort with not knowing, or being able to control, the outcome.  Once I set my sights and heart on a goal or a dream, I immediately want to sprint to the finish line to the outcome I desire.  When things do not happen according to plan or according to my timeline, which they tend not to, I usually allow my mind to go to a dark place of self-doubt and fear.  It is a vicious cycle, and it is frustrating and exhausting.  Yet, it is a familiar practice that I have mastered and put on repeat for years.  Thanks to some wise souls, I hit pause.

On a stunning Sunday afternoon, I found myself in the company of women I consider to be some of my spiritual mentors, and the talk turned to letting go of outcomes.  Normally, letting go is one of those phrases that causes my eyes to glaze over and my mind to shut down, as I have heard it countless times, and it always confounds me.  Let go?!  Oh, hell no!

Why would I let go of what I desire the most?!  More importantly, even if I wanted to let go, how would I do that exactly?  So, I cling to all that I want and find myself crushed under the weight of the outcome.  Life moves at a slower pace or seemingly comes to a complete standstill while I work toward, and worry about, the coveted outcome.

Even though the topic of letting go was not new to me, it felt like I was listening with new ears and an open mind.  As I listened to these wise women talk about setting intentions, then letting go of them, and trusting that all is well and would be well, regardless of the outcome, for the first time, I found myself believing it.  For them.  And for myself.

In that moment, I made the decision to focus on putting these lessons into practice, instead of putting them on a shelf.  This is not to say that I have not had moments of worry, anxiety, or self-doubt, but more and more, when I realize I am dipping my toes back into these murky waters, I retreat to higher ground.  I silently, and sometimes not so silently, remind myself that all is, and will be, well.  Surprisingly, this seems to be working, as it definitely beats worrying about things that I either cannot control or that have not happened yet, and may never happen.

This is unchartered territory for me, but as I find my way through it, I am enjoying the view through Zen glasses.  Who knew?!  Apparently, a lot of people did, and I am just grateful that I finally know for myself now.

Just one thing each day . . .



Categories: Just One Thing Each Day

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2 replies

  1. OMG! This was my lesson, and theme, of my day. So vital and so difficult, yet essential, in order to be fully present as I experience this one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Margaret, hands down, this is one of the toughest lessons for my to learn. That said, I am weary of the worry, so it seemed like a good time to learn it. I definitely have much to learn, but I know we both will get there!


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