The Stanford encyclopedia of psychology defines intentionality as “the power of minds and mental states to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties, or states of affairs.”
The definition of intentionality refers to what is important in relationships or aspirations. It implies purposeful behaviour that is based on beliefs or values.
Last week I wrote about how the pandemic points us to make life edits. There is intentionality in making life-editing choices including how to deal with the changes and restrictions we face. If you missed my post on life edits, you can find it here. http://postworksavvy.com/the-pandemic-and-life-edits/
The pandemic also brings thoughts of intentionality and purposefulness in our behaviours. What hopes, desires and goals for our lives should we consider during this time?
Setting an Intention
Although there is a new branch of psychology based on intentionality, my introduction to this concept came from yoga. One of my mentors frequently began class with her invitation to set an intention or goal for the practice that day. She may have been using the term to motivate us to stay mindful and focused during the class.
Over the years I have used the strategy of setting an intention as part of morning journal writing. It helps me to consider how I will use my time, what projects I’ll pursue, and how I will show up.
Setting intentions helps to develop self-awareness regarding how I face the day. It also helps me to focus on what external influences I will let into my life.
Since the beginning of home-based isolation, the daily search for a meaningful intention for the day provides an anchor. I ask myself questions about what I need to do during the day to nurture myself and to nurture those around me. I think about how I can be kind to myself and how to extend kindness to others. I wonder about what lessons I can learn from isolation and staying at home.
Finding a meaningful intention for living purposefully until vaccines are widely available and we can see an end to the pandemic restrictions is challenging. How will I show up during the next weeks and months?
Shorter Time Chunks and Intentions
Since none of us knows how much longer we will live under COVID restrictions to remain safe, it makes sense to look at shorter time chunks. We can set daily, weekly and monthly intentions to power us through this uncertain time.
For example, it’s now a few weeks before Christmas. I’m thinking about what I can do in this time period to make the holiday meaningful and fun for me and our small family during the pandemic. We can opt for a change of pace. It’s not necessary to fill every day with social engagements. Is there a benefit for missing the lunches, dinners, and parties? Perhaps fewer calories from the many tempting foods and sugary treats is a benefit!
Making our home into a festive environment with candles, potpourri, colourful plants, and music creates feelings of warmth and well-being. Perhaps this is the year to take time to send those hand-written cards and letters for which there was never enough time in the busyness of previous Christmases!
Intentions for Winter
After the holidays, making plans for getting through the short, dark days of winter may be more challenging. Will I take an online course to learn something new? I’m tempted by learning options to improve my blog. I may try to learn more about using Gutenberg with WordPress, a topic I’ve avoided with plugins.
I may pursue a forgotten hobby. After retiring I received a beautiful DSLR camera as a gift. I’ve hardly used the camera nor the second pocket-sized digital camera that my husband bought for me when I went to South Africa on a 6-week junket. Am I prepared to spend time and effort to become a better photographer?
Winter holidays are also considerations. Valentine’s Day in February, St. Patrick’s Day in March, and Easter at the beginning of April come to mind. But, what about lesser holidays in the early months of 2021 such as Martin Luther King Day on January 18 or Chinese New Year on February 12 or International Women’s Day on March 8? Each of these holidays can become a celebration with special foods, commemorative actions, or other markers.
Intentionality and Uncertainty
Setting intentions for the remaining months of pandemic restrictions will reduce the uncertainty of the unknown end date. The promise of vaccines may tempt each of us to take foolish health risks because of perceived good reasons such as seeing family or friends over the holidays rather than using our knowledge of disease prevention to stay healthy.
I’m sure that seizing the uncertainty to create innovative holiday celebrations will create new memories. Some may be positive and some may simply involve getting through this time.
I’m resolved to continue with manageable daily and weekly intentions. Conditions may not be perfect but small accomplishments will (hopefully) keep me motivated and energized.
Thanks for reading my post. Please comment with your ideas for living well and getting through this pandemic with intentionality.