Spiritual Tips for Maximizing Your Energy is a regular series dedicated to helping people bring more consciousness to their everyday choices in order to live with more confidence, aliveness and joy.
Spiritual Tip #1: Identify Competing Intentions
My son is at such a special stage in his life. At 6 years old, he's becoming more independent and emotionally stable, he can read, and he regularly comes up with really cool and amazingly complex ideas of ways to create, play, and solve problems. The best part is that he still likes to talk and play with me. I'm also aware of how much I enjoy spending focused time with him, hearing about his thoughts, observations, and what excites him.
Equally awesome is that when I do things with him, like play Legos or make Rainbow Loom creations, I get to be a kid again myself, and in a way that I thought was lost forever when I first graduated from college and joined the workforce.
The wise woman inside of me knows I shouldn't miss a moment of this fleeting stage, and that I should be fully present physically, mentally, and emotionally to appreciate and really relish our time together. Yet I often find during the couple of hours between the end of his school day and dinner that as much I really want to fully enjoy my time playing with him, I'm not hearing every word he says, and I'm not feeling as joyful, carefree, and fun-loving as I'd like.
The problem is that I'm not fully present. More often than not, there's a part of me that hasn't quite put to rest the project that I wasn't able to complete before having to stop abruptly to pick him up from school, leaving me feel not only frustrated, but also torn. I desperately want two separate realities with equal fervor -- to stay in the flow of what I'm happily working on and experience completion AND be a great mom to him while also partaking in the wonder of his being.
We've all had this experience, the feeling of being in one place physically, but entirely somewhere else mentally. At times like that, have you noticed yourself feeling kind of exhausted? If not exhausted, then perhaps just not as happy, fun, patient, or loving as you'd like. For me, it happens almost every day in some form or another.
This dilemma is called "Competing Intentions." Competing Intentions are really challenging because they cause us to pit one real priority against another. Since we can't give our full attention to two activities at the same time, we are required to choose one, which is what we end up doing. The problem is that when we choose one without fully letting go of the other, our energy gets drained quickly and our mood can deteriorate.
Furthermore, when part of our hearts and minds are elsewhere, we are not fully present with our chosen activity, sucking away the joy which would be otherwise be available to us in the moment. So, in addition to feeling depleted, we are also not getting to partake in the best of what life has to offer.
But don't fret, a graceful resolution is available if you pay attention to your internal state and follow these three simple steps.
- Identify which things are in competition for your focus. Then take a moment to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go into your heart and then ask your higher Self to tell you which option is your most important priority at this time.
- As you select one priority over the other, express in words (even if just to yourself) whatever feelings you might have about needing to let go of one thing for another and acknowledge yourself for making a difficult choice.
- Commit wholeheartedly to one activity while setting an intention to be fully present with it, while knowing that eventually you'll have a chance to come back to the other one.
While these steps are quick and easy, facing Competing Intentions can be an everyday challenge, so I really encourage you, above all else, to be kind and gentle with yourself.
If you have a tried-and-true process for coping when you're faced with two intentions competing for your awareness, I invite you to share in the comment section below.