Living with Intention

Written by Max Goldberg on September 12, 2011. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

A few months ago, I went to a fantastic David Wolfe lecture here in New York City at Organic Avenue.

Aside from the wealth of food and herbal medicine-related information that he shared with us, I was particularly struck by something else that he touched on.

David Wolfe spoke about living with intention and always checking back in with your intentions. This was the most compelling part of the entire lecture and has had a huge impact on me to this very day.

This whole concept of intentions was not new by any means but hearing it again was a very powerful reminder.

Despite the fact that organic food is and will continue to be the focus of my blog, there are other essential elements to living well that I strongly believe need to be discussed.

One of these elements, and maybe the most important one, has to do with our thoughts.

You can eat a 100% organic diet but if your thoughts are polluted or negative, how healthy can you really be? I would say not healthy at all.

So, not only am I constantly striving to improve my health and the way I eat but I am always trying to grow as a person.

And as I continue to get older, I am realizing that each passing day means I have less and less time to do this. Less time to live, less time to pursue my goals and less time to have a big impact on the world.

Therefore, it is so incredibly important to not only get clear about what I want but to live with those intentions as much as possible.

BACK TO WHAT DAVID WOLFE SAID

In a recent post, I talked about how I create my day – my morning meditation and visualization. This has been an incredibly powerful way to start my day. It gets me centered and focused, and also calms me down.

However, where I am falling short is that I get distracted during the day and fall off course.

Maybe I am wasting time on the Internet, maybe I am dwelling on things that I don’t have, maybe I am angry at some person, maybe I am concerned that the stock market is going to crash.

Yet, it is in these very moments that we need to be checking back in with ourselves and asking “Am I living with intention? Am I living in a way that is consistent with what I want out of life?”

One thing that needs to be pointed out here is that the pursuit of tangible goals or material items is by no means the only point of checking back in with ourselves. The goal, or intention, could very well be intangible.

One intention could be to live in the present moment every single second.

Another intention could be to have the most fun every single day.

Or, another intention could be to listen with undivided attention to every single word another person tells you.

Constantly checking back in with our intentions is something that is very difficult to do and is a challenge for all us. Yet, the more we practice doing it, the easier that it becomes and the more we are living our lives based on our true values.

And the more we live with intention, the more we are living well.

STRATEGIES

If any or all of this is new to you, here are some strategies that I employ myself and may be of help.

1) Write down on paper (it cannot be just in your head – it must be on paper) where you want to be in 5 years – what you want to be doing, where, with whom, etc. Get as specific as you can and don’t worry about how you’ll get there. This will help you get clear on what you want and will help set your intentions.

2) Think about the intentions that you want to set for each day – having fun, smiling as much as possible, exuding positive energy, living in the now, calling 5 potential clients, going to sleep earlier, telling those close to you that you love them, etc.

3) Tip to help you develop the habit of checking back in with yourself:

At the top of every hour or set random times throughout the day (via your electronic calendar) to ask yourself “Am I living with intention?”

Don’t worry if you forget to do it or cannot do it every hour. The objective is to develop a habit of consistently checking back in with yourself.

4) Go watch the movie What the Bleep Do We Know?, if you haven’t seen it already.

I believe that it is the most important movie ever made and was one of the three things that helped turn my life around after I went off of 11 years of antidepressants.

From a scientific standpoint, What the Bleep Do We Know? talks about how our thoughts impact our reality.

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4 Comments

  1. Good morning Max,

    Thank you for sharing. I was hiking with a very dear friend yesterday
    in the woods and near the ocean just outside of SF and
    I was just thinking/revisiting about living with intention over the weekend and many, many points you write about in your post.

    Also, I had just seen a performance with Anna Deavere Smith about two weeks ago in Berkeley called “Let Me Down Easy”, conceived, written and performed by Anna herself. In her latest one-woman show, Anna takes a journey in search of human qualities that are too seldom in the news–compassion, generosity and grace. She portrayed 20 people from artists, philosophers, politicians, health-care professionals and survivors
    of the Rwandan genocide asking the question how do we pursue intention,health, kindness and grace in a competitive and sometimes distressing world?

    She interviewed close to 300 people with only a tape recorder beginning in 1998 listening to their voices and stories about the health-care system in the U.S. and their individual physical, psychological experiences, as well as metaphysically.

    Everyone in the audience may have had different opinions about health,
    but we are all patients. We may all know at some point what it’s like to deal with illness and doctors, prescription drugs, paperwork and insurance–and the fear, frustration and helplessness that may accompany that experience. Anna’s passion and intellect is to use theatre to ignite and engage communities about issues as huge as health, race , religion, politics, power, healthy and organic food, healing, kindness, intention and compassion.

    BTW Anna lives in NY and performs and teaches in NY University and many other schools.

    All the best,
    stephanie

    Written by stephanie haughey on September 13, 2011 @ 12:26 pm
  2. Hello Max,

    One of my favorite interviews with Anna Deavere Smith just FYI.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/03/AR2011010306054.html

    All the best,
    stephanie

    Written by stephanie haughey on September 13, 2011 @ 12:37 pm
  3. Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks so much for sharing. An interesting interview.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on September 13, 2011 @ 6:08 pm
  4. Hi Stephanie,

    I am glad that you liked the post. It isn’t for everyone but I think it is important.

    Also, Anna’s performance sounds fantastic. What an original and interesting concept. Thanks for sharing! I’ll have to see it one day.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on September 13, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

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