Whenever you think about something you want in your life, consider asking yourself, “Why do you want that?”
Think of your want, wish, or goal as a leaf on a tree. You ask questions about what you want until you reach the roots. The roots are where you will find the deeper intention behind what you want.
I recently did this with my mom who is ninety.
“I want to have my kitchen cabinets refinished.”
“Why do you want to do that?”
Of course I explained in advance what we were doing, otherwise she would think I was just giving her a hard time, like I usually do.
“Because it will make me happy.”
“Why will it make you happy?”
“Because they will be nice and clean and beautiful, and they will look good when my friends come by.”
“Will it make you happy that your friends will think your place is beautiful?”
“Yes, but it’s more about me. It makes me happy and grateful that I have a nice, clean home. I am grateful to God for my beautiful home.”
I was a little blown away at this point. My mom is a ninety-year-old Sicilian woman raised, as you might guess, as a Catholic. She’s always been a believer and a churchgoer, and her faith as she has gotten older has deepened, which often happens as people approach the end of their lives, and she has always liked beautiful things, but I was taken aback at how a beautiful home was such a portal to something deeper for my mom.
My mother’s deep intention behind painting her kitchen cabinets was beauty in her home and connection to the sacred. A beautiful home connects my mom in way that a walk on the beach, for example, might not.
Given that my mom now spends most of her days in her home, that's a deep intention. That’s a good reason to paint some kitchen cabinets.
So, what’s the intention behind what you want?
Ask yourself questions until you get to the roots. This can be tricky to do on your own. We’re often a little afraid to discover our deepest intentions. You may find you no longer want what you thought you wanted. So, you might want to try this with a friend, or a coach.
Next time I'll go into why your happiness and success may depend on connecting to your deepest intentions.
If you live near Santa Barbara, Dana Drobny teaches an Adult Ed class on intention. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can be reached at email@example.com.