I’ve been thinking a lot about living intentionally.
Partially because ten years ago I wrote a book called, Live Intentionally.
I’ve thought about updating it and releasing a ten-year anniversary book. As I’ve read back through some of it, I see a glimpse of who I was and how clearly I have grown. I’m still just as much an idealist. I still believe in people and their power to improve their lives through intentionality.
Much of what I wrote I still practice. But the world is different now. Incredibly different! There was no ‘social media’ then, at least not in the form it is now. Facebook was out there, but the internet was not on every phone. There was no organic aisle in the grocery store, and most people had no concept of what ‘grass-fed’ meant, and keeping chickens or hanging your clothes on a line to dry was not a hip thing to do. (Not sure those things are hip now either, but at least a lot more people are doing them.)
This year I’ve returned to my focus of living intentionally every day – not just what I eat or read or watch, but how I think, treat people, react to news, and decide how to spend my time. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been setting daily intentions and sharing them on Facebook and Instagram. Here are a few from this week:
They provide an anchor for my day. I’ve been reading farther and wider, consuming podcasts on mindset, refocusing on how I care for my body, and giving my mind and heart more space and quiet to consider what really matters moment by moment. More than anything I’ve been trying to stay present.
Recently, I heard a concept called ‘day-tight compartments’ originally a principle promoted by Dale Carnegie to combat worry. The idea is that you stay in today, and don’t let what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow affect how you are today.
Many of us let regrets from our past follow us, bringing with them shame, guilt, sadness, hurt, and fear. We experience it over and over. I replay conversations and actions in my head, often wishing I’d done something (or someone else had) differently. I’ll follow the what ifs down a rabbit hole only to emerge freshly disappointed, discouraged, frustrated, and realize it changes nothing.
The same with worrying. I’m a mom, so it comes with the territory, right? My youngest parroted something back to me that I used to have as a mantra – No sense in wasting emotion on something that hasn’t happened yet. Why feel sadness/fear/anger about something that might happen—if it doesn’t you’ve experienced sadness/fear/anger for no reason. And if it does, you can feel those things then.
Stay present in your daytight container. Seal that lid tight like a Tupperware container and stay inside it. Be here now. Listen to the people in front of you. Feel whatever is in your heart in response to what is happening right now. You can’t change what’s already happened or control what might. Don’t squander your present.
Dogs are a great reminder of this philosophy. They are always in the moment. Reacting and reveling in what is happening now. Gracie never worries about how angry I’ll be that she rolled in the dead possum/rabbit poop/unidentifiable stink, she just enjoys her time rolling and stinking in the moment. Otis never considers that last week when he stood barking for ten minutes at the neighbors having a BBQ, I dragged him back to the house and left him inside alone, he barks his heart out anew. Clearly, enjoying the sound of his voice.
Sure, we should learn from what has happened in the past. But that doesn’t mean now isn’t a new scenario, one that is best experienced fresh with no assumptions that what has happened before will happen again. Give this moment, right now, your energy, your focus. Don’t let regret or worry color it.
Keep your eyes open and your ears available. The possibilities are endless if you’re open to the possibilities. Make room in your heart for now.
Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.
My latest novel, Blind Turn is a mother-daughter story of forgiveness in the aftermath of a fatal texting and driving accident. Learn more about it and find out how to get your copy here.
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