The energy of intention & where the river of stones went

Hands up! Here’s a message from a mum of four who’s blog is about headspace and finding time to write and paying attention and who said she was going to participate in the River of Stones Project this January (posting a few lines of a mindful meditation or observance every day) but hasn’t had the time! The message is Sometimes you can’t do it all. I started on Jan 1st with a stones post, on the second day my computer ate my post, on the third day I mentally wrote a post and even took a picture (it was about the dumplings that I’d cooked in the stew). The next day I thought about what I might write about but none of these observances made it to the computer, which in a way doesn’t really matter. And here’s why.

I met many new people on the blog last year who enjoyed reading my Jan 2010 stones posts and I in turn enjoyed the observances blogged and tweeted by others. However the main point of the project is to orient ourselves towards small observances and mindfullness of place, time or emotion and as a whole, I’m doing that. In December, through Barbara Scully’s wonderful blog At My Kitchen Table I won a Thank You book created to raise money for the Irish Hospice Foundation. The book is on my hall table and just seeing it reminds me to be thankful for something even if I’m having a rotten day. I also encourage the children to write in it or remember what is good. So my orientation is towards reflection, observance and gratitude.

I read earlier in the month an article by Orna Ross on her creative intelligence blog about resolutions vs intentions and firmly agree when she says that

New year’s resolutions are often framed as negative injunctions (giving up, never again) and based on self-judgements and -criticism. Creative Intention is framed as a positive proposal, moving towards something you’d like to see more of in your life.

I particularly identify with the idea that there is movement involved in intentions, that you are orienting yourself towards how you want things to be and even in that first initial orientation is the energy that will propel you along the route you have turned towards. I’ve talked about this before in relation to identifying yourself as a writer – the act of turning towards writing in a positive way puts your mind in the frame of taking further decisions and achieving further momentum along that path.

It’s a question of putting yourself in the mindset of what you want to be engaged in. If you’ve ever been in the process of buying  a house you know that you suddenly see For Sales signs everywhere. Once you are in the mindset of an endeavour, signs and opportunities will become more obvious. Not miraculously of course – you are putting yourself in the way of them. For me, a serious orientation towards being a writer included being involved in blogging, twitter and a writer’s group as well as submitting more of my work. These actions in themselves have generated further connections and opportunities. Learning about flash fiction through #fridayflash (click the image on the sidebar) led me to blog about it, then to be quoted in a national newspaper, then to get involved in the National (UK) flash fiction day, for example. Blogging here led me to be asked to blog for the Irish writing website www.writing.ie.

What is important when you orient yourself towards something, when you have an intention rather than a resolution, is that it is a positive thing, an action that has energy. Sometimes a resolution has an ‘ought’ quality and ‘ought’ means guilt. Resolutions may sound firmer – the stuff of Antarctic explorers but to me they can be ‘all or nothing’. Intentions can bend with you and work with you. In this case, I’m not really letting anyone else down – which is another matter and perhaps a topic for another post (saying yes to too much at once). So it’s okay that the stones have disappeared. It’s wonderful that I’m writing other stuff that I hope you’ll soon be able to read. It’s great that I’m still making still moments and observances in my own life and I may still have some stones for you before the month is out.

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8 comments

  1. Well, we’ve missed you but, like you say, you’re not letting anyone down. More important to be engaged in what is necessary at this time. I felt the pressure with NaNoWriMo and to be honest, it did me more harm than good. I’ve only just got my writing mojo back.

    1. Yes, I agree Pete, NaNoWriMo is just a tad too intense and it kills the creativity for a while. I’ve actually been working really hard on a novel (last years NaNoWriMo) so haven’t been able to do the usual blogging, tweeting or #fridayflash (sniff)) or the stones but I do think it’s important to acknowledge that I’m still in the mindset of the things I signed up for, still percolating thoughts and planning. Thanks for the lovely words and I hope you start to enjoy the writing process again.

    2. I am with you on that, Pete. Attempting NaNo in 2011 made my muses scurry off and hid under a rock until very recently. I have got a massive amount of respect for anyone who can ‘win’ that beast regularly.

  2. Hi there. I just wanted to say, it’s a great post. But you know, you could have just summed it up with; “I’m not writing small stones, I’m working on my future best-selling novel instead, so there.” ;o)

    Seriously though. we all have times when we embed ourselves in our projects and go quiet online. Good luck with it all xx

  3. Love the comment Rebecca, made me laugh out loud! Sounds like a gentle nudge of encouragement for me to concentrate on my novel. Thanks for your support!

  4. Love the positivity in this. I really enjoyed doing Small Stones last time but this time I didn’t even try — for similar reasons to you. For the sake of sanity, I have only two goals this month: to squidge up and enjoy my kids, and to fatten the NaNo monster to 75k by the end of Feb. Soon, I will stop eating Jacob’s Cream Crackers in bed and actually launch myself at these things. Soon-ish.

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