May 27/First Quarter Moon
More on Setting Intentions/Swedish Death Cleaning/Summer of Travel
I’m grateful for this container I have here to write and you dear readers and supporters. Thank you for showing up through all of this. I have taken a bit of extended break from sinking in here, because my attention was pulled to the end of life things, to funeral things, and afterward this exhaustion from readjusting, from returning to work while readjusting. Mom is not here to care for any longer, so life is different. Perhaps there is more space for the things I had been wishing to “get done” but couldn’t, but what I find when I go to do the things are years of deferred maintenance. And a feeling of overwhelm. I’m attempting to do the things that I know are enough. That with the new moon, pausing to note the end of one rotation and the beginning of another is enough. Nothing special more than awareness is required, and awareness that this thoughtful dark time is a good time to realign with your desires. Tune into and take of what you are about. It’s not the First Quarter Moon, the light is waxing toward full and we are halfway there. I’m here to note my gratitude for this space that has been a long time in the making and your continued presence here, even as I wax and wane like the moon. And I thought I’d write a bit about intentions, as much for myself as for anyone else, so let me know if you have anything to add.
Intention Setting with the New Moon
Intention often refers to the things we intend to bring about or do. And can have big connotations like a life plan we might have for 10 years from now. But “setting an intention” needs to be both more practical as something to practice, and more narrow as to build a skill we may need to accomplish that thing. What kind of instruction can you bring in to guide your daily actions and decisions? How do you want to be in the world? What do you want to cultivate in your life?
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You can set your intention towards attitudes you want to bring in more, like curiosity for non-judgement, or gratitude for more happiness. For example, often the beginnings of a yoga class might have you setting intentions and then for that period of an hour or so, you practice bringing that attitude back to mind. At then end of class, you remember your successes, the times you were able to find curiosity over self-judgement. And the marking of that builds faith in the process of practice. Over time these practice periods can lead to more of that quality all of the time.
Setting intentions is a process oriented approach to growing. A recognition that change is gradual and it takes many steps to walk a mile. With a workable intention you are building capacity, via daily practice, of not only whatever you have chosen to develop, but the faith to continue as you notice slow and steady progress. What skills, attitudes, strength, systems, instincts, knowledge do you need in order to reach that idea you have? With the lens of an intention, how will you respond to what is coming up?
So here are some steps in intention making inspired by a meditation with Sebene Selassie and a Tarot card spread…
Start with the idea of how you want to grow. Which direction do you want to move?
The middle is practice and it is always a balancing act. It requires negotiation between what is coming up and how you respond. Minding the messages of your emotions without falling into habitual responses (Note to self—sometimes emotions themselves require their own practice intentions). Asking yourself the proper questions. Adjusting as necessary. Being generous to yourself no matter what.
Making note of accomplishments. Taking in the things that are working. It helps to build momentum when you take the time to celebrate even the small wins. Such as showing up to remember that sometimes the practice includes not practicing.
You can approach even the smallest things in your life with a sense of purpose. Intentions can influence all your decisions, from spending money to making your bed everyday. Focus on the things you can control, rather than what you can’t.
Here is a list of Waylaid Intentions that I’m realigning with during this lunation: Re-up my travel yoga podcasts. New series of meditations with the moon. Working with hormones. Just generally my poetry podcast. (Not saying I will get all of this done! Just bringing them back into consciousness.) Plus I want to create a post of my Mom’s Costa Rica Journal as a first sharing of more of her words. If you have ideas of how to best prioritize all this, please let me know.
Swedish Death Cleaning Commencing
I was first intrigued by Swedish Death Cleaning when George Saunders was sharing his process on his Substack newsletter and this culmination of my year of losses has made me want to live more simply and with less baggage, even as I inherit lots of bags. So I finally had this free week (since coming home from camping Monday night, see below) and I began sinking in to that. A version of Marie Kondo had me taking photos of my clothes all laid out on my bed. Here’s one more Death-cleaning article by a writer that I really liked: “How to Practice” by Anne Patchett in the New Yorker.
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