I don’t mess around with any namby-pamby resolutions. Resolving is way too close to dissolving for my tastes, and that’s what most people’s resolutions do–they dissolve. If I want to achieve forward momentum in 2016, then I need to set my Intention.
An Intention is a pact between me and God/the Universe/All That Is or whatever you choose to call The Supreme Consciousness. Once I present my Intention and He and I shake hands over it, it will come to fruition. Let me repeat: If you set them, they will occur.
Try it some time. Back in the day when I lived in Scottsdale, just for fun I’d set the Intention to hit all green lights on Shea Boulevard from the 51 Freeway to the 101 Freeway. Off I’d go, whizzing along with nary a stop. Need that close up parking spot and don’t have a handicapped sticker? Set an Intention.
I’ve been doing this since my early Twenties with big and small, silly and important Intentions, and I’ve figured out a few things about them over the years. First, they only work if you make an authentic request. In other words, you really do intend for XYZ to happen. There are no value qualifications with Intentions, such as “and make it easy on me, please”. That’s a prayer. With Intentions, the traffic lights are either green or they’re not. You don’t get to choose how they unfold or what the ride feels like once you’re on it. Just hold on tight!
Case in point. Twenty-nine years ago when Ed and I had only started dating I had the opportunity to go wine tasting in Napa (one of my favorite things to do). He offered to watch my boys so I could enjoy the weekend. Two weeks before the trip, I dreamed that I opened a hospital business letter that said (I’m really not making this up): “We regret to inform you that Denise Domning died in a car accident.”
Needless to say, I woke up certain that I shouldn’t go on that trip, that I was going to die if I did. Ed poo-pooed me when I told him and insisted that I go. I reluctantly let him talk me back into taking the trip. However, I wasn’t willing to completely give in to “sanity”, so I set the Intention that “I will not die in a car accident”. Note those words. This is a lesson in specificity.
When I met up with the other members of this tour in San Francisco Airport, the tour guide asked if anyone knew the area and would be willing to drive. I do, so I offered to take three other members with me in a rental car, which happens to be a brand new Cadillac. Off we go to Napa, but once within town my co-pilot gets us lost. Turns out she had the map upside down. We park on a side street and straighten that out, then make our way back out to Napa’s main downtown drag, finally headed toward our hotel. That’s when I see him coming. Cars are screeching to the side as he swerves lazily back and forth across all the lanes of traffic. I start pulling to the side, but not in time. His car slides down the length of the Caddy, tearing off the top of the gas tank as he goes. Suddenly I have no power steering and I’m being shot across the street into oncoming traffic. Despite that, I manage to navigate the behemoth back on the correct side of the yellow line, then let it drift neatly into a convenient street side parking space. The drunk ended up with his car buried into another parked car behind me.
Everyone gets out. The only injury is minor. The girl sitting behind me hit her head on the window. The four of us stand next to the Caddy and wait for the officials to show up. (I’m so old that I can actually remember when there were no cell phones.) The fire department gets there first. A couple of the firemen come rushing over to see if we’re okay. After they’re assured that there’s no blood, they look at what used to be a brand new Cadillac. They shake their heads, glance at us, then shake their heads again. One guy returns to ask who was driving. When I hold up my hand, he says to me, “We can’t figure out why this car didn’t explode on impact, or how you managed to drive it over here.”
Well, it didn’t explode on impact because if it had I would have died in a car accident. That wasn’t in alignment with the Intention I’d set. Of course, in hindsight I can now see that what I should have said was “I will not HAVE a car accident that threatens my life.” Specificity. Keep that in mind as you set your Intentions. Or be brave and make them broad, then wait for the rollercoaster car that’s sure to show up.
After you’ve carefully crafted your Intention and stated it for God to hear, there’s only one rule. Set it free. No obsessing. Forget you said it. There’s nothing more to be done on your part. Intentions aren’t prayers; that’s a different sort of communication between you and your Creator. So, no pleading allowed, no panic or desperation. Nor are they mantras. No repetition is necessary.
Why set it free? Because if you hold onto it, you’ll want to be in control of it. That puts you between a Universe-wide consciousness that is always hungry for something new to play with and the billion piece jigsaw you just offered Him. Thy will, not mine. You don’t get to say what road you take to reach this goal.
So what was my Intention last year? To know the moment of my marriage’s death and be free to declare it. Check. It wasn’t Ed who asked for the divorce, it was me.
Apparently, I’d also made it implicit in this Intention that I wanted to heal as quickly as possible, because almost immediately and pretty much despite myself, I began to work my way out of the trauma. (There was a lot of internal, “Oh, just stop sniveling”.) Not saying it was fun or easy. I burnt every picture he didn’t take (I warned him to take what he wanted because I was going to burn everything that reminded me of the marriage.) If I had the slightest emotional reaction to something, I got rid of it. I presently live in a house that lacks anything with an emotional connotation. Surprisingly, I still have a lot of stuff.
So here I am, just shy of six months divorced and I have to admit that I love my life. Oddly, or maybe not because of all that burning, the last 29 years now feel like a dream, almost as if they hadn’t really happened or had happened to someone with whom I’m barely acquainted, someone I really don’t want to know any better than I already do. I accept that there will never be a retirement account for me, but I make a pretty good salary and I can still write, so I’m likely to continue making a decent salary. And if that doesn’t work out, I guess I’ll figure something else out. I’m liking being the me I am right now. I smile a lot, I sing to my animals (I’m not sure they appreciate this), I get up excited to start each day, I have friends who appreciate me and celebrate me. The family members who have chosen to keep me are precious beyond words, but I have no animosity toward the others of my family who have chosen to pass on me to keep my ex. He can be a charming dastard.
Now that I’ve defined forgiveness as a properly set boundary, I’m free to step out of my emotions and see without pain. The retirement money the ex plowed through was both of ours, and even though he’ll inherit more, the fun, shared future full of possibility that money once represented for us is just as gone for him as me. I acknowledge now that he had no control in the matter of his spending, that unless I could have locked him out of the accounts the money would have been gone within ten years no matter what. He’s a desperately unhappy man, one who was already struggling with depression at 6, one I dragged from counselor to counselor as I tried to help him, a recovering addict who never managed to exit addiction’s Fix or Flail ride. Buying things became his legitimate high, the only way he could feel good. When the money was gone, it should have come as no surprise that he would want to be gone as well.
So, I thank my Creator for delivering me from the marriage as requested and even making it easier than I expected. As for this year, I’m going to leap off the cliff. I Intend for the farm, the kitchen, the books and me to blossom. I wonder what sort of rollercoaster car will show up for this one?