Intention, Part 2 – Living with Intention


This post is a follow up to Intention.

I’ve been living with intention for four years now.

Correct that: I have been living with conscious intention for four years now.

Or correct that: I have consciously been living…

I have been consciously living…

The above are not edits, these are attempts to use language to describe what I do not yet have language for. Each sentence has a slightly different meaning, each slightly different meaning fails to reveal the whole that I mean.

Living with Intention is challenging. The challenge is both frustrating — when I allow it to be — and rewarding — when I allow it to be. Living with Intention is the razor’s edge Maugham wrote about, me thinks.

Part of living with intention means slowing myself down to the point that the universe stops moving around me. Or maybe moving so quickly that I move with the universe, hence remain fixed in it. Phrased differently, Living with Intention means recognizing that you are a verb and can only become a noun through effort.

I pay more attention to what I eat. I pay more attention to my eating. I take time to savor whatever goes in my mouth (and whatever comes out). I find that paying attention to the tastes allows me to taste more of them, to become aware of subtleties that I didn’t know were there yet obviously were, waiting for me to experience them.

As my awareness expands, my calmness grows. I find myself more restful while being readier (for anything) than I’ve ever been before (that I remember, anyway).

I discover selves I no longer need or can comfortably use. I thank them for their efforts and invite them to rest.

I’m now 61 years old, I was taught these things in my teens and early twenties and I’m just beginning to understand that it was Living with Intention that my teachers were talking about.

I practice guitar differently now than I did…even months ago. Once the recognition of intention is made, it grows and encompasses everything. At least for me. Practicing (anything) was a chore at some times, an obligation. “I have to practice x minutes/hours each day.”

For whom? That’s the question Living with Intention causes me to ask now.

I focus more on the individual movements of my fingers. The movements become natural, fluid, far faster, more elegant than they were in the past. I laugh at my mistakes (that alone takes practice). Recognizing that they’re simply mistakes comes from living with intent.

I recognize that I’ve lost my focus when things frustrate me. I remind myself, slow down. Relax. Learn what the frustration comes from. Deal with that, not with this. This is the agent that reveals. Thank it, go on, continue.

Relationships take both less and more work. I question my motives for interacting with people, both as individuals and as groups. I don’t question their motives, only my own. In questioning my own motives, in understanding my own goals, I realize and understand theirs more clearly, more cleanly, more obviously, more quickly and easily than I did before.

I question more because questioning more leads to more understanding. And questioning. my own. What is my goal with them? What is my desired outcome? Do I want to be friends? Am I capable of friendship? Is that person capable of reciprocating in a way that I’ll be satisfied with the exchange? Did they fail or did I set them up for failure by creating an expectation they couldn’t meet? What shall I do if I recognize that this relationship will never be what I want it to be? And then recognize it’s easier to end that relationship than continue being dissatisfied with the interactions.

Because I’m paying attention more, because I’m doing things consciously and that means more and more of what I do becomes non-conscious.

But part of Living with Intention involves becoming more aware of what I do non-consciously, discovering which of my behaviors are in conflict with my desires and why and what I can do to resolve those conflicts.

I exercise differently. I’m more aware of my movements, of my limits, my goals shift, my reasons for exercising become more self-directed than other-directed.

And I learn to be increasingly honest with myself. Even when self-honesty, the necessary sister of self-realization, hurts.

Learning to be a noun means learning to be a gerund because there are times when the energy around you is different from (unequal to?) your own and you must match it before you can work with it. Intentionally.

Writing this, I recognize my strengths and weaknesses. I focus my intention on what is obvious to me because the obvious is easiest to recognize, but “the obvious” means “the surface” that I haven’t integrated into myself such that it exists and is unknown, unrecognized.

It is the unknown, the unrecognized, that truly requires my focus, my intention, because the unknown and unrecognized that are parts of who I am are the most blessingful and dangerous to both myself and others, hence I must work to understand them and their purpose to both myself and others if I and others are to grow from them.


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Intention


[[this was posted originally on 11 May 2012 to the old ThatThinkYouDo blog. I’m resurrecting it here for some friends.]]

I’ve been studying people who are “living with intention” for about twenty-five years now. Originally I found them due to my cultural anthropology studies. Now I’m finding a few of them in the modern world.

“Living with intention?” you ask. “What does that mean, exactly?”

Hmm…the simple answer is “Living with Intention means paying attention to everything you do” and that’s so weak, so minimal, that only a western trained mind would offer it, so I apologize.

It means being in the moment…while appreciating (not quite, not exactly. English is limited in its ability to express this concept. Or I am limited in my ability to express this concept)…feeling?…every moment that came before you and will come after you.

It means doing whatever you’re doing as if it the fate of the universe hung in the balance…while being able to laugh at yourself regardless of the outcome.

It means focusing all your attention on each individual task…while being aware of everything else that’s going on around you (and recognizing that “around you” can be very, very big).

It means taking complete and ultimate joy in everything you do…while understanding it may be the last thing that you do.

It means being aware of everything going on around, in and through you each and every moment…and being at peace with it — not necessarily enjoying it or hating it, just being at peace with it, accepting it (because there’s a difference between liking something and accepting something).

And this list gets longer and longer and longer the more I attempt to put into words what can only happen deep inside the individual (because part of intention is being able to keep two completely opposite thoughts in your mind simultaneously, penecontemporaneously).

As one of my teachers said to me, “I can help you find your door. Only you can open your door and walk through. But walking through, there’s no walking back.”

Brushing your teeth. Pay attention to what you’re doing. To how you’re doing it. Be aware of the feel of the brush in your hand and the bristles on your teeth and the taste of the toothpaste and the brush’s movement on your gums and … and be so aware of the fact that you’re doing all this that it becomes a game to you, something to delight in, something to rejoice in, something to be thankful for, to be prayerful about.

But those last words imply something religious and nothing about being intentful is religious. Sufis live with intent but sufism isn’t religious in philosophy, only as it is practiced by some.

Some will read this and think, “Oh, Zen,” and while lots of zen practitioners live with intent the former doesn’t imply the latter. Some will think “Oh, Yin Yang” and to think that demonstrates not knowing, a lack of understanding.

Some of the people I’ve studied have been Catholic, some Baptist, some Lutheran, some Evangelical, some Jewish, some agnostic, some pagan, some aboriginal, some Sufi, some shamanic, some Hindi, some Muslim, some native american, some Buddhist, some …

I have noticed commonalities. Regardless of anything else, they’re all remarkable listeners. They’re all remarkably patient, kind and giving. They all have incredible boundaries. They’re self-aware in ways most people can’t imagine.

Imagine kissing someone simultaneously passionately and casually, kind of like kissing your partner when you see each other, a gentle “hello I missed you today” kiss, yet having all your feelings about that person, all your desires and hopes for them, all your wanting of them, delivered in that little, possibly public kiss.

I’m writing this and recognizing that I could be writing this with intention, too.

Everything slows down. I focus on each word, each phrase, each expression. I recognize what’s important before I type the words themselves.

I focus on what I’m doing so I can also focus on what you’re doing. Will you slow down? Will you read with intent?

When you wake up tomorrow, will your first thoughts be that the day is yours, completely yours, to do with what you will, truly Carpe Diem and that your first thoughts dictate whether you seize the day or the day seizes you?

I have been practicing living with intent. It’s not easy for me. I screw up quite a bit and blame it on this modern world. Yet I know others who are living intentionally and are in this same modern world I am in; they’re not living in communities where everyone is devoted to intentional living and each person helps each other person live intentionally.

For myself, the moments when I do it are like the best physical exercise — a definite sense of exertion along with a sense of fulfillment, of well being, of peace. An endorphin rush for the mind, emotions and spirit.

Living with intention takes commitment. And acceptance. I accept that my mistakes are merely part of appreciating my commitment to living with intention. From those I study I know that the recognizable commitment fades because the commitment becomes part of the intent.

Where does a wise person hide a pebble? On a beach. Where does a wise person hide a leaf? In a forest.


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Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires

[[something more in keeping with the original intent of this particular blog…]]

Tales Told 'Round Celestial Campfires by Joseph CarrabisFor those of you who either didn’t know or forgot, I use to write fiction. According to my editors and readers, I was quite good at it.

Your writing is very moving. Tears came to my eyes when I read the last page of Dancers.

You have such wonderful imagery!

WOW! What beauty! I was completely hooked before I finished the first story.

You take readers on such wonderful journeys and your writing contains such wonderful lessons.

These stories have the flavor of an old sea tale, or something told around a campfire late at night. You have a wonderful distinctive voice.

After 20 years, I’ve decided to get back in the game. My first work of published fiction is Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires and you should all go purchase copies for yourself, everyone you care about, people you know intimately or just in passing, especially those you’ve either linked to or friended and have basically forgotten exist. Sharing your sense of wonder over Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires is a phenomenal way to get back in touch. Imagine the joy you’ll spread when you reach out to all those relationships both remembered and forgotten with “I’ve just heard about this amazing book, Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, and it’s a must read!”

Your writing has a tenderness most men can’t master.

Wow! Terrific! Beautiful storytelling!

Your stories show the power of love.

Extremely powerful storytelling!

Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires contains fifteen stories. Most are love stories. Not romances, just love. Love in the form of acceptance. Acceptance of yourself, of others, of situations. Self-awareness is also a big theme with me. Even when self-awareness is painful or catches one unawares.

I love the way the reader gradually realizes what it is with your stories, and I love what it is.

I loved the feel, the tone of your writing – it is very sensitive, ethereal.

You’re a writer of genuine feeling.

Wonderful, entertaining and teaching. Amazing!

I really get the sense that I’m sitting down, listening to a storyteller weave the pattern of a story. That’s really neat. It’s a real pleasure to read your stories just for the beauty of the words.

Here are the first pages from four of the stories to give you an idea:

Dancers in the Eye of Chronos

Dancers in the Eye of ChronosHyphi and Gal parade onto the great hall’s floor, he half a pace ahead, she half a pace behind, their legs moving like a cat’s caught in headlights while their torsos remain straight and even. They pass the crowd among applause and hurrahs then pass the judges. Eyes focus on their clothes as well as their steps and the DJ looks to the judges for his cue. In mid-stride, the great hall rumbles as the DJ’s turntables engage.

Hyphi and Gal rumba. Gal wears a tasteful nuevo-Italian suit. Triple pleated frost brown pants with matching European cut jacket – no vent – brightly mottled red-and-yellow-on-black wide tie with double Windsor knot, ballooned creme shirt, pocketless, white gold with diamond eye studs, brown rattaned alligator Freeds – no Capezios here – frost brown silks, slightly darker than the pants and lighter than the shoes, easing the transition from one to the other. Tall. Broad shoulders, narrow waist, legs like tapered pillars and arms strongly anguine like boas, his hands and fingers long and graceful. His hair is salt&pepper, the salt like snow and the pepper like star studded night. His eyes are cyan iris against white orb like the sky seen through a cloud at sixty thousand feet. His skin is olive smooth, colored by a heredity so obvious it can’t be placed.

Hyphi’s head comes to just under his chin. Perfect for slow dancing. Perfect for sow dancing. Pale blue, three-ringed ruffle waisted skirt, line-thin lime green hip hugger belt, tight bodiced lime green blouse, ribbed and expanding beneath the breasts, showing the shoulders, white gold Bubo with emerald diamond eyes and hematite beak, tiny, clutching her throat on a slivered black band, finely silked scarf hinting at slipping from her softly muscled shoulders, pale earth tones of calmly pale earth scenes, dryads and naiads hiding and peeking as the scarf folds and unfolds to her dance, unnaturally natural blonde hair, eyes like his and skin the same, slightly lighter, yet the same. He smells of oceans and she smells of mists.

Those Wings Which Tire, They Have Upheld Me

Those Wings Which Tire, They Have Upheld MeCowan was walking in the woods the first time he saw Angel. He was really looking for a haunted house the real estate lady told his parents was back there and he’d walked further into the woods than he’d ever gone before.

There was an inch of snow on the ground except where the sun came through the trees for most of the day. In those places the ground was muddy. Cowan felt the crisping of the snow under his boot and looked at his footprints, trying to remember what they really looked like when he could really see them.

He took off the wrap-around sunglasses he wore to hide the holes where his eyes had been, thinking maybe the sunglasses stopped what he used to see from getting through. He still smelled the woodiness of the trees, still felt the cool air on his face and his breath misting as he exhaled. His breath didn’t look right, though. That was because of the Cap.

Dr. Hargitay said the Cap was best at least until they were sure the cancer didn’t come back. After that, Dr. Hargitay told Cowan’s parents, maybe they could transplant.

But until then it was the Cap. Cowan felt funny wearing the Cap. It itched.

Cowan’s family moved closer to the hospital that previous winter. Mom and Dad wanted to be with him more and this was the only way to do it. Cowan knew there were lots of other kids whose parents had moved closer to the hospital, but few of those kids ever came out.

He sniffed and wiped his nose on his sleeve.

When Cowan showed up in his new school after Spring vacation, Kevin, who wasn’t even in his class and had stayed back twice, followed Cowan all over the playground, just walking behind him and sing-songing “I can’t See, I can’t See” until Cowan ran back into the school. Ms. Flanders heard him in the boysroom and sent in Mr. Horly, the janitor, to see if everything was okay.

Canis Major

Canis MajorIggie dropped from the tree onto the fawn, his weight breaking its two hind legs. It tried to run anyway but its forelegs only clawed up the moist, dark forest floor, clouding Iggie’s thoughts as the rich earth aroma wafted into him. Iggie didn’t want the animal to suffer and bit into its throat, tearing out esophagus, jugular and various muscles. Still the fawn tried to escape. Iggie grew nauseous by the mix of his needs and the fawn’s attempts to break free. This wasn’t what he wanted. His father had told and taught him to make his kills quick and clean, to spare creatures any pain. Iggie curled one forepaw into a fist and punched through the fawn’s ribs, crushing the heart. The fawn stopped moving and Iggie, gazing up at the dark, star filled sky, let the blood trickle down his muzzle, dribble into his nostrils, and cover his fur from flews to belly as he dined.

TALL, HANDSOME, good build, good humor, able to stand on a rocking ship with my hands at my sides. Brown hair, brown eyes, black beard, white skin. Have been mistaken for a brown bear when I bathe in mountain streams, well educated (past 6th grade), still have all my teeth but not all my marbles. Looking for a well-rounded, buxom woman. Buxom men need not respond. Applicants should know by this that brains are more important than brawn. Dinners, dancing, demitasse, and dramamine. Send resume and salary history.

The ad sat on Iggie’s desk for two months. The first month he’d written it by hand and crossed out several portions. The second month he’d typed it into his computer, made several more edits, and returned to the forest.

He stared at the screen for some twenty minutes this time, ran the spelling checker over it four times, read the ad backwards to check for additional misspellings, and printed it out.

Winter Winds

Winter WindsIt occurred to me, as I sat watching, that the scene was not as it should be. The winds played oddly on the landscape, and even the patterns of the falling snow were different. However, it wasn’t until I turned off the floodlights, which are white, and turned on the ground lights, which are pink, that the entire scene was revealed to me.

You must remember that this was a very typical wintry night. The snow was falling in one of the worst – or best, according to my son – blizzards of the decade. But it was one of the heaviest snowfalls in the century, according to the weather service.

Anyway, my son and I stood by the glass doors that led to the backyard patio. we were watching the snow fall. He and I talked about skiing and sledding and tobogganing – I from memory and he from anticipation. As we talked, he pointed to something out in the field. We looked, but I couldn’t see anything. He wasn’t sure that he had seen anything, either, so we went back to a discussion of which broom to use to sweep off the pond.

We fell silent then, the late-night stillness of the house being interrupted only by the slurps of hot cider. We had pulled my big lounge chair around so that we could be comfortable. Suddenly David leapt to his feet and pointed out to the field. “Dad! Dad, look! What is that?”

His excitement startled me, and I jumped up from the lounge chair, nearly spilling my hot cider. I rubbed my eyes and looked. Then I rubbed my eyes and looked again. Something was moving out there on the field. Something…

“What is it, Dad?”

My first reaction was to take off my glasses and clean them. When I put them back on I saw the same basic picture. Only now the form – whatever it was – had moved farther across the field. “I’m not sure, Dave.” That was an understatement.


So please take a few moments to a) go get a copy of the book or any of the Kindle books and b) tell all your friends about them. Forward this email to them, link to my Amazon page, my GoodReads page, put it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube and all the other social networks you’re on.

It’s appreciated.

Thanks.

Find me on Find Joseph on Amazon and Find Joseph on Goodreads (and write good things!).


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Welcome to Yet Another Opinionated Blog

[[This blog was originally located elsewhere. The owners decided to discontinue it and I hate to have things go to waste, so we’re resurrecting it here. This post was the first of that original blog. Enjoy!]]

So. Joseph, what does “That Think You Do” mean? What’s this blog about?

Ah…good questions, these.

For those who know nothing about me (and lucky you are), I have a few other blogs (listed, I hope, on the left somewhere. I’m still learning how to use this theme).

But this blog, That Think You Do, is going to be different for me and (I hope) for you. I’d like to start sharing how to use the research NextStage does in your life.

I mean, really, explaining how women think to men in a business presentation is something that gets tired really quick.

But explaining to men why women think the way they do — oh heck — how about explaining to men why men think the way they do…

That I’m thinking will be fun.

Don’t you?

RVMsmallfrontcover.jpgYou can follow me and my research on Twitter. I don’t twit often but when I do, it’s with gusto!
Have you read my latest book, Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History? It’s a whoppin’ good read.
Tales Told 'Round Celestial CampfiresAnd if your tastes are more towards speculative fiction? Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires is the book for you! It’s full of reverse lycanthropes, ocean elementals, thin-air breathing aliens and more!
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