Readers of our anthology When the Bough Breaks know that one of KaBooM’s shared habits at our weekly writer’s meetings is individual goal setting. As honestly as possible, each of us takes a turn to look back and summarize what we’ve accomplished in the previous week. Then we take a few moments to review the week ahead, reflecting on the writing tasks to which we’ve committed and the ones that remain as-yet-unrealized dreams. Finally, we articulate—speaking out loud to each other—how much of that task or goal we think we can, or should, accomplish in the week ahead.
The wisdom of this attention to our intentions becomes immediately obvious when you consider that “everyone knows the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Extend that aphorism and it becomes clear that no matter how bright one’s beginning, to accomplish the journey the traveller still make take each one of those thousand steps. For some of us, each step requires a new commitment, and our KaBooM goal-setting time serves that purpose well.
This need to continually re-set my purpose is reinforced when I practice yoga with my wonderful teachers at the local Y. There, we begin our classes with a mindful setting of our intention for that day’s practice on our mats by making our commitment physical. We hold our hands in prayer position and place our thumbs on our foreheads, because that’s where intention starts. We lower our hands to our hearts, because that’s where an intention begins to live, breathe, and have being.
Finally, our hands come back to our foreheads to “set” that intention. When I set my goals at KaBooM meetings, I do my best to articulate goals that will live in my heart and prompt steadfast effort so that I have something of substance to report the next time we gather.
When I set my intentions for my writing work, I am taking seriously the dreams of my heart and the yearnings of my creative self. At the root of the word “intend” is “tendre” which means, in part, to stretch. There are times when the goals I set for myself feel too difficult, too great a stretch. Yet by continually setting and re-setting my intention to make that stretch, the creative power available to me is a constant, wondrous surprise.