Set An Intention For Summer

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” ~ Plato

There’s still plenty of summer ahead.  Time enough to savor sweet peaches, a morning swim and balmy evenings with the scent of jasmine on the breeze.  Ah, summer ...  So full of life and yet, so very fleeting.  Make the most of it.  As much as we enjoy these sunny days and sultry nights, getting everything we can out of a single day needs to become part of our approach to daily living.  

We do that by taking action in life.  When we set an intention for ourselves, we move beyond the hazy, dream state of simply having an intention.  When a specific intention is set, we put the gears into motion.  Summer is a wonderful time to set an intention for yourself.  I did just that a year ago and my life has truly been transformed.

This time last year, I had intentions for myself like getting fit, eating clean and broadening my social circle.  I possessed enough clarity on what it would take to improve my life, I just failed to take ownership of the change I truly wanted for myself.  Nothing happened until I drew a line in the sand and dared myself to cross it.  Does it require an epiphany to move from inaction to action?  I believe that it does and this comes about when our desire for something better is stronger than our desire to remain distracted.  A dream can’t manifest if we don’t fuel it.  

One day, I crossed the rubicon and actually set a summer intention which was to find a Pilates studio and plug in to this amazing system of exercise which strengthens the body, increases flexibility and improves mental awareness.  It’s during these outdoor, activity-filled summer months, when we can truly assess ourselves in regards to our level of fitness be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.  Take a moment and consider what it is you truly desire to manifest in your own life and set a summer intention to bring it into fruition.

Back to the story of my journey ... Having set an intention I actively searched for and found a fitness studio.  I signed up for Pilates, Barre and Yoga and these days I’m there for an hour-long class, six days out of the week.  Prior to setting this intention and following through on it, I felt stuck and uninspired and this malaise affected every other part of my life. There are all kinds of ways that we can distract and/or numb ourselves to what’s not working in our lives and this practice can become a vicious cycle of non-productive living.  

I did not see Pilates as a solution to all of my problems. However, I believed that by taking specific action to improve just one area of my life, this change might have spillover benefits, and I was right, that’s exactly what happened.

Consider if you will, the first 3 months of my experience at this studio.  The classes were tough and I had plenty of moments where I was a crumpled heap on my yoga mat.  What kept me going was that I knew, over time I would get stronger, not just physically, but mentally stronger.  I believed that this eventual improvement would happen for me.  I learned how to coach myself, use breathing techniques to hang on during tough moments and I started to relax, deeply relax at the end of class and all of these lessons carried over to the rest of my life.  I am more calm, more fit, more productive and healthier than I have ever been.  

With hope in my heart, I held onto the concept that by following through on one positive action regularly, the other so-called problems might disappear on their own.  In the past year, not only have I become a daily juicer, but sugar and gluten have all but disappeared from my diet. In fact, I no longer diet, I feed this body that God has given me in a way that enables me to perform.   Honor and respect this marvelous God-given body of yours.  

As for those spillover benefits ... I finished the sequel to my debut novel earlier this month.  I had been unable to move forward on that project prior to setting an intention for myself.   Last but not least, my social circle has broadened.  I joined a book club and a hiking club and the benefits of setting one simple summer intention just keeps growing exponentially.

It was never about some shallow goal of achieving washboard abs, it was about kicking up the dust in my own life.  All I knew, was that something had to change if I was ever going to start living the life I deserved.  I started with the basics like honoring the discipline of my commitment to a new way of life and showing up for it despite feeling tired, overwhelmed or hormonal.  For once, I didn’t let myself down.  Despite the self pity and discomfort that accompanies an overt overhaul on one’s dietary intake, I worked at incorporating cleaner eating habits into my daily life.  Once again, I chose to honor a concept that these bodies of ours deserve better treatment.  To shake things up, I joined a body fat reduction challenge at the studio that started before Thanksgiving and ended in early January.  What I learned is that mindfulness about nutrition is something we can’t just read about, we must live it.  

Throw a curve ball into your life and the benefits will far outweigh the temporary discomfort you might experience.  Not only am I stronger, leaner and more at peace, but I’m mentally tougher and that’s exactly what we need to achieve our dreams.  Master yourself.  Master your mind, your eating habits, your time and watch as the trajectory of your life begins to take off in a new and wonderful arc.  Begin with a single step.  Go take a walk, it’s a beautiful summer evening and get real.  Open the door that leads you outside of your comfort zone.  You may not entirely believe in yourself just yet, but you will.  All you need to do is set a summer intention and live up to it.  Silence the excuses and power on.

By the way, if you live anywhere near the Upland, California area, do yourself an immense favor and stop by Body Rituals, a truly transformative fitness studio.  It will change your life in oh, so many beautiful ways ....

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