Intention with virtues and strengths
Greeting a new day full of possibilities and promise.
I have started a new ritual of setting an intention set in strengths or virtues before leaving home for work. I watched a good friend do this involving her family where a virtue or strength card is randomly drawn as a focus for the days intent. Intention as a noun has two meanings:
- a thing intended an aim or plan
- in medicine the healing process of a wound
Character Strengths and Virtues
Dr Martin Seligman and Dreal Neal H Mayerson leaders in positive psychology identify 6 virtues and 24 character strengths that individuals can demonstrate. Rather than focusing on what a person is not there limitations the character strengths and virtues reveal what qualities a person has or could develop. The 6 virtues and 24 Character strengths related to each virtue are listed below
Transcedence : appreciation of beauty and excellence, spirituality, gratitude, hope, humour
Temperance: forgiveness, humility, prudence, self regulation
Justice: teamwork, fairness, leadership
Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence
Courage: Bravery, perseverance, honesty, zest
Wisdom: creativity, curiosity, judgement, love of learning perspective
In setting an intention based on these strengths and virtues I aim to personally develop these attributes.
I admit to being ad hoc in creating an intention. So quickly I slip into enabling other peoples intentions losing or sabotaging my own. I disappear into habitual routines void of intent, lacking clarity of the motivation as to why I do things.
Stopping to create a strength or virtue based intention before diving into my day can be like a compass drawing me back on the path of what I plan or aim. Letting a friend know of my intention can hold me accountable and provide a potential cheer squad.
It is possible that your intention could be shared by other people. Together we can combine forces to magnify, clarify and grow an intention. As seen here in winter at the Cold water Challenge to swim in the Swan River to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis research.
Creating a group intention takes skills in allowing everyone to be heard, have time to reflect and refine what the group intends. Thus the backbone of what a group plans is formed.
In Tension with intention
A challenge with intention is the pull between :
What we intend: “she was full of good intentions” something we mean to do whether you pull it off or not.
How we expect this intention to be.
Versus Reality of how it pans out and the consequential self judgement and recrimination.
The Buddhist practice of non attachment helps deal with this tension. Its the sigh of acceptance that I tried and it may or may not work out.
Healing with intention
Focusing on a strength manifests the capacity to build other strengths as you see what is possible. In healing you work with what you have and the enhancers of healing for example a clean wound and good diet. Creating an intention based on a strength heals as the negative comments have a positive buffer that builds you.
Have Patience my dear
Go: go, go, rush, rush, rush, now, now, now the sound track to a life without patience.
Currently colleagues patience is stretching as I adapt to new work spaces with steep learning curves. In creating a home I need to be patient. My drama lamas are lessons in patience. Following is my self review and quotes that have prompted me.
Patience, persistence and perseverance
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success”.
It is easy to get drawn into thinking everything has to be done stat with instant reward and quick response time. A builder gave an insight of this unreality with television reality programs came consumers misguided expectations of homes being built pronto! In old photos Dad is seen clearing a bush block, gathering granite and timber to use in the build. It was patience, persistence and perspiration that created Warrawilla the farm.
Are we prepared to roll up our sleeves, get dirty, allow time to observe, to methodically, patiently create a future?
Can we pace ourselves ?
Computers have a quicker response time, coffee can be instant but growing a life takes …
Two Powerful warriors are patience and time
Many things I do now take less time than in the past. It is easy to forget where we have come from and the time investments made. There were mistakes and retrys in grasping skills such as driving a car. Learning involves repetition and practice creating our foundations set in patience and time. Martial arts, Yoga, Qi gong practitioners demonstrate this in their powerful energising practices.
The opposite of patience is the abrupt energy of anger with its quick hostile response to situations. I have been observing when I am boiling towards an angry melt down, that this is the time I need to exhale attitude and slowly breath in patience. Breath out … breath in repeat often.
” At the bottom of patience one finds heaven ” West African saying
The reward of patience is witnessing what grows. At times it may feel as far away as heaven. Walking in the bush is a moment of heaven on earth. I see trees that have slowly germinated grown to their majestic stature with a leafy canopy shading us. These trees have patiently seen generations of people mature.
What slice of heaven are we patiently building for all to share? Long term visionaries applied patience to create what we enjoy now. It is at the very point of giving up that knowledge and success come.
Be here now and wait
When I am impatient, I am not present. I chaotically speed forward to a future with set expectations. There is no give or flexibility with impatience. It comes with a rigid defensive stance that does not allow me to adapt.
“Be patient my dear ..” rings in my ears a memory of words from my Nana’s generation. In her life she had to accept having no control and wait till the war ended to be reunited with Papa. It did not mean she never had frustration or impatience it was her awareness of how she was acting that modeled patience.
Lichen and moss slowly gather on a chair, it act as a reminder to halt the need for speed.
Sit and ponder
“Have patience my dear”
This is an inspirational TED talk on patience
Patience – Who has time for that? | Qaas Shoukat | TEDxNSU
Cccs more than chips
Christine Hatzis Mum’s told her:
“You have 3 Cs in life: choices, chances and changes.
You must make a choice to take a chance to change your life.”
From one mother to another this came to me via my Mum who was travelling as a grey nomad. It was a wake up call to possibilities and opportunities.
Any one that enters the ocean know of the chances of shark attacks or in the bush the snake bite potential. In life we are presented with probabilities, risks and worst case scenarios. The ever ready stream of information on search engines can create analysis paralysis and an outsourcing of expertise.
Chances have short, spontaneous spurious time frames that could be lost or grasped. Taking a chance involves courage to take responsibility for your action and acknowledge the “what ifs ..’ then act. As Anais Nin stated:
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”
Take a chance !
Choices were limited to the General Stores selection in my country town. Visiting cities with mecca shopping choices like Walmart brought on awe and overwhelm. I am grateful to have choices that my Grandparents did not have including education, fresh food and career possibilities.
There are times when it seems I have no choice and this is where this quote is heeded:
I choose my response that changes everything
I have been in situations I would not have chosen – but on reflection they forged life skills such as applying self control. Our response is a choice we all have in any moment.
Change is the reliable turning of tides, fall of the surf and drift of the sand. Though the waves of change can be meet by resistance and denial – no lifesaver is going to get you out that rip.
There is the trap of expecting the world, the work place even family members to change. This is when we are the block to change as we don’t dare to think, act beyond “its not fair” “its hopeless” “they’re…..”.
You are the change, its not a case if they will I will – you’ve got the power to change.
What are your choices?
Is there a chance you could take?
Dare you change?
CCC ‘s more than chips.
Thanks to the friends helping me with my CCC’s
“Have a good time not sure what you are doing …. but you can explain it to me when I see you.” text from Mum.
To Adelaide I flew to learn with an inspiring mob on a Mindful Self Compassion Intensive led by Tina and Peter Gibson. Mindful self compassion has been shared and researched in the western world by Kristin Neff, Paul Gilbert and Christopher Germer.
This blog is on cracking into the 3 elements of self compassion: self kindness, common humanity and mindfulness. Warning this is my simple version. Seek a course, read a book or listen to a podcast to find out more – it can change you life. Resources will be listed, apply liberally.
Self Love and Kindness
Self kindness is applying the kindness I extend to a friend in need when I am in the same position. What stops me from being kind to myself is the harsh, internal critic. My critic, who I imagine shares Darth Vader’s theme song is acknowledged, thanked for his/her insights and sent a light saber beam to silence. This judgmental fiend can be given to much airplay time and grows by comparison and discrimination – which places me on defense mode.
Whereas self compassion encourages me to be a loving, kind friend onto myself . In practicing self kindness I am noticing the language I apply to myself, shifting from aggressive “put downs” to terms of encouragement and even endearment. Rather than seeking others I am soothing myself with a hug from my own arms. Self compassion helps me embrace that though I am not perfect – I am okay.
Ruminating on things from the past or in the future is when I am freezing in mindlessness – the flip side to mindfulness. Mindfulness brings me to the present allows me to move from overwhelm to a comfortable space. Simple strategies such as touching a gemstone, listening to my breath and feeling the sunlight bring me home to the present – mindfully.
Common humanity is seeing that as humans we are all working with tricky, messy minds and suffer. Acknowledging common humanity reconnects me to my community. Connecting is imperative for my survival, it puts me at ease and clips my flight response. This course encouraged me to look within to my inner knowing and to seek discernment from the books of wisdom found in the living library of humanity. Common humanity helps me to not quit practicing self compassion as compassion then extends outwards.
“The wound is the place where light enters you” Rumi
A crack, an opening of the heart, this muscle develops with the practice of self compassion. Learning self compassion involves cracking old belief systems such as what is self indulgent, selfish and a sign of weakness.
My Irish friend would refer to having a ” bit of crack with a good friend”. No she was not taking illicit drugs – she was having a yarn with mates over a cuppa. How would it be if you could kindly sit yourself down and mindfully have a self compassionate bit of crack with yourself ? How would this impact on the people you love and struggle with? A curiosity that invites exploring compassion to self mindfully.
References and Resources
Tina and Peter Gibson: Adelaide Mindfulness refer to www.adelaidemindfulness.com
Kristin Neff , Ph D
Kirstin Neff (2011) Self Compassion,Harper Collins Publishing
Paul Gilbert, Ph D
Christopher Germer, Ph D
Christopher Germer The Mindful Path to self compassion
Remnants the reminders, the remains of the passed and past. A gecko was a visionary totem according to Sam Weinstein my yoga teacher. He and his wife Sydel heeded their visions in creating The Transformational Yoga Centre and Family Nurturing Centre. Sadly he unexpectedly passed away. I find there are remnants that keep my memories of people passed alive in my day.
We celebrate in our own way the lose of loved ones. The funerals and wakes we attend hallmark the ongoing celebration of the legacy people leave. Asanas with red threads, “accepting is transcendance” I hear on an internal recording held in antiquity. My brother in laws Mother’s brandy butter, her outstretched skirt with curtsy and swirls, her generosity to all.
There is a texture to my day sourced from a Departed Dear one’s treasure trove of sayings, movements, scents and visions. A wave of sadness shifts into gratitude for what was and is.
Woven into my being are the fabric of wisdom threads sewn carefully by craftsmen and women who cut me lose. I find myself showing peers these threads of wisdom and so sewing on the legacies of what I have learnt.
Half a century not out!
Half a century 50 years I am still in the game of life Wahoo! The last 12 months has found me critiquing my past inings, feeling like I did not measure up to any illustrious hallmarks. Then I received a few ball hits to the head -reflective moments ….
A village of family and friends plus a tactical response unit of guardian angels earth and heaven bound have helped me get here.
Being the first born of Barb n Don I was born in an unair conditioned country hospital on a 40 celsius day. My first 6 weeks of life were spiked with gripe water as I writhed in pain with a hernia. Fortunately there was the support crew: Nana and family friends. Once that was healed life improved. I am blessed to have been in a country in peace, with a great healthcare system into a loving family. There are many variables I am grateful for as I have been helped when the surfs high and the games on.
Fur team mascots
My furry n feathered friends have provided companionship, loyal counsel at any hour with the occasional unwanted aromatherapy. Life is richer in sharing it with the beasties that are personal trainers and Zen masters in mindfulness with a wry sense of humor.
The game of life could be seen as just training for exam, graduations, sporting challenges and relationship milestones. There is so much more beneath the water level of achievements ….
Those aha moments when I stay upright on a bike, see a sunset in a new country, grasp a concept or receive a smile are the polishing acts that bring the shine to success. When we acknowledge achievements the training and relationships it took to reach that zenith need to be remembered. Otherwise life looks like the sports news reel of cricket highlights minus the yakka and yea hars!
This Maiden’s goal setting keeps her focus on her passions and how she can enjoy them. Without the long term vision and detailed planning – dreams would still be ruminating around and around my head.
I am looking forward to bringing life to my dreams. In starting 2018 take a chance, stretch yourself as you connect and celebrate where you are. A birthday is a festival of gratitude and reorientation to your potential. Happy birthday to you what ever innings you are being served.
In Gratitude 2017
As 2017 winds up I am in the reflect and review mode.
There have been heart felt, precious moments that I am grateful for.
I am grateful for those that answer my calls to come play.
In appreciation of those that bring music to my life.
Gratitude for the beauty I have seen.
Though I may not have expressed gratitude at the time I see the value of those aha moments when I fail, fall and learn.
Fortunately I have an awesome support crew on standby who maintain me.
2017 may all you have taught me be remembered as I start a new chapter in 2018. Grateful for the dawn of each new day, for the chance to start again a new.