For me, the idea of setting an intention is like Brexit. I don't really have a grasp on what it is, but I feel like I should, and I feel like everyone else does.
When the yoga instructor tells me to "set my intention" for the class, I honestly have no idea what she means. I know what a goal is. I know what a task is. I know what a wish is. I super do not know what an intention is.
Cut to yesterday, when I discovered 10 Things To Tell You, a podcast recommended by my new life coach (who's never met me and doesn't realize she's my life coach) Kendra Adachi of The Lazy Genius .
The first episode I listened to is called What are your intentions? In 17 minutes, host Laura Tremaine takes intentions from cloudy concept to useful tool. She describes setting an intention as "a way to get your heart in the right place." She also talks about how she sets her intention for the day during her morning routine, before events, and together with her family.
Laura's words inspired me to finally tackle the idea of intentions, and I came up with the Intention Chunk. (I love the word chunk. It reminds me of peanut butter and chocolate.) Instead of setting an overall intention for something big, I break my day into chunks, and I set an intention for each chunk right before it happens.
What does this look like in my day? When I sat down at my desk yesterday, I set the intention to spend 30 minutes submitting an article that was due. Then I spent 30 minutes sending some article pitches. Then I spent 30 minutes clearing out my inbox. Before each chunk, I set the intention. I said it out loud. Because I work alone and talk to myself a lot. Like...a lot.
When I was heading to the bus stop, I set the intention to simply be there for my kids. It was the second day of school and I was prepared for an emotional rollercoaster fueled by hunger and exhaustion. I set the intention to summon my patience, try to stay silly, and not look at my phone for the next few hours. (I totally failed at the phone one but I'm about to get another chance. Wish me luck.)
I will probably never be able to wrap my head around setting an intention for an entire day. My brain doesn't work that way. But intention chunks pretty much transformed my day and I'm excited to keep working with the concept.
One question for you:
Have you ever set an intention in a yoga class? If so can you share what it was?
Can you blogsplain Brexit to me?
One thing to make your day better:
Check out 10 Things To Tell You and The Lazy Genius next time you're looking for a short and efficient podcast. OK this is actually two things. Choose one or both. (BOTH? BOTH!)
Remember Reading Rainbow? The show launched in 1983 to address the "summer slide" in which kids lose academic progress by letting their brains veg out all summer.
It ran for 26 seasons and won more than 250 awards, including 26 Emmy Awards. But I think we can all agree that the best part of Reading Rainbow is LeVar Burton. His enthusiasm for books is contagious. His warm smile is inviting and calming. And his voice is a national treasure.
Watching Reading Rainbow as a kid made me want to read. Think about how revolutionary that is: watching a TV show made me want to turn off the TV and read a book.
I'm still that kid who caught Reading Rainbow fever from LeVar Burton. I just have a busier schedule and more responsibilities. And bigger clothes. But I don't want to use my adulthood as an excuse to stop reading.
In January I pledged to read one book a month, and so far I've stuck to it. I'd like to think LeVar Burton would be proud of me. I know one book a month is not a stretch for some (like Gretchen Rubin, who read more books in June than I'll read in a year), but it is an achievement for me.
Here's what I've read so far:
I really (really really) want to lay down some thoughts on each of these books but I'm not making any promises. In January I promised to post a monthly book report and, well, you can see how that turned out.
Three questions for you (and I really mean YOU):
1. Any tips on making time for reading?
2. Have you read any of the books in this list?
3. What should I read next?
Three things that will make your day better:
1. Spend five minutes with LeVar Burton as he goes full Renaissance Faire on Reading Rainbow. It's visual Xanax.
2. Subscribe to LeVar Burton Reads to hear the legend himself read handpicked short fiction in that voice.
3. Turn your little monsters into little lit aficionados with the LeVar Burton Kids Skybrary app.
...was the name of my column in Phillips' Finest, my middle school newspaper. If it was good enough for seventh grade, it's good enough for "adulthood."