“The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
“What are your intentions toward my daughter?”
“Just what do you intend to do with that?”
I have been thinking about the word “intend” and its variants the last few weeks. When I started writing this post, I realized that most of my associations with the word are negative.
We are all familiar with the old saw that says good intentions pave the road to Hell. I have always thought of that phrase in this way: Having good intentions is meaningless, unless we act to make them come true. Think of that old song made famous by Elvis Presley and by Willie Nelson, You Were Always on My Mind. The saying can also be interpreted as relating to the law of unintended consequences, in which we mean to do one thing, but something else (or something additional) occurs.
Nothing in our world ever happens before first being an intention. Whether the results we get are planned or not, every action begins with an intention. Deliberately creating our intentions can have an immediate and positive impact on our outcomes.
This leads me to the subject of magic markers.
A few months ago, my stepdaughter got into a spot of trouble. Life had thrown a few obstacles in her way, and she didn’t negotiate them as well as she might have. The details don’t really matter, but she ended up ensconced in the guest room at our house for a few days. I wanted to make her feel welcome, and loved, and encouraged, and in a moment of inspiration, I took a wet erase marker and wrote on the mirror in the guest bath. I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, but it was something along the lines of “You go, girl!” She liked it, and she took it to heart. She also asked if she could have one of my markers to inspire herself when she got back home. Well, of course.
Later that week, I sent her a whole package of the markers.
I added a note of encouragement. Then, a funny thing started to happen.
In the morning, she would write her intentions for the day on the mirror in her bathroom. She sent me a photo of one of my favorites:
As she wrote her intentions each morning, her days started going better. She stayed on track to meet her goals. She started to feel more optimistic, even in the face of some real challenges. Success led to more success. We started calling her wet erase markers “magic markers,” because it seemed that whatever she wrote with them came true.
Why did that happen? (Hint: the magic isn’t in the markers.)
When we set an intention, we also set up expectations for ourselves. If we intend to accomplish something in a day, we are more likely to plan for it, block out time on our calendars, and to seize the opportunity to act when we see it. I have mentioned many times that we see what we expect to see. Our minds have amazing power to focus and to screen out input that we don’t want. If we envision ourselves doing a certain thing today, we are more likely to see results, because we have set up the expectation. Setting intentions gives our subconscious minds something to look for, plan for, and accomplish. All kinds of mental factors come into play, but the results remain the same.
We see what we look for.
Our brains find ways to fulfill our expectations. If we deliberately set an intention, we choose what our busy little brains will focus on, whether it’s a to-do list item to accomplish or the desire to see positive events to help us stay optimistic.
You don’t have to use wet erase markers on your bathroom mirror. A page in your calendar or journal, a 3 x 5 card in your pocket, or a note on your smart phone will do. Just take the time to consciously choose what you want to see, feel, or do this day. At the end of the day, you are far more likely to see results than if you hadn’t set an intention.
And if you do want a set of your very own magic markers like ours, you can find them here:
Sanford Wet Bright Sticks Wet-Erase Fluorescent Markers, Assorted Colors, 5-Pack
Happy new year! May it bring you everything you intend.
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