At the beginning of a new year, it is very easy to make a resolution. But if you’re like most of us, keeping that resolution can be much more difficult. Why not try something different this year? In this excerpt from the first chapter of Creative Thursday, Marisa Anne explains how to Set an Intention, and, more importantly, how to make that intention happen.
(This excerpt was previously published in the book Creative Thursday by Marisa Anne, copyright 2012; republished here courtesy of createmixedmedia.com.)
From Chapter 1: Setting an Intention
What does setting an intention mean?
Maybe you have heard of this concept? The one that seems to be popping up everywhere in our vernacular—setting an intention. So what does it mean exactly? And how do we do it? How do we follow it? When do we follow it? When an approach is somewhat ethereal, I find that starting with an actual definition can help. A definition of intention is: “A course of action that one intends to follow.”
So how, exactly, can intention setting help you be more creative in your life? A good place to start is by using the practice of “inspired action.” This is different from “regular old action.” Take a look at the list that follows, remembering the points about breathing and having fun. And I re-emphasize these points because if you are like I was when I was starting out on this journey, you might forget to do both sometimes. These steps should be done in stages at a pace that feels comfortable to you. You don’t want to use a slow pace as an excuse to keep resisting your creativity, but you do want to allow yourself the time you need to develop answers to questions and for inspiration to come in.
Is there something you want in your life?
• Intend it
• Believe it
• Commit to it
• Follow through with inspired action
• Trust when you can’t yet see how it is coming together
• Expect it to happen
• Breathe often
• Have fun
• Appreciate the moments on the way to where you are going. (You don’t want to miss the magic while it’s happening.)
The fourth point in that list instructs, “Follow through with inspired action.” So what does that mean, exactly? There are two halves to that equation.
First, be clear about what you want.
Recognize (and let it be OK) that intentions are often first born out of feeling like something is missing and/or knowing what you don’t want. Be willing to ask yourself the sometimes tough questions about what you truly want in your life. Be willing to look at what isn’t working and what is.
This practice of deliberately setting intentions is about a willingness to take the time, take a moment, take a breath and look at where you are in relation to where you want to go.
Second, believe that you are creative.
As I mentioned in my introduction, often when someone sees what I’ve made, they say to me, “Oh, I wish I were creative.” And every time I say in return, “But you are creative.”
Somewhere I heard that when a group of five-year-olds is asked to raise their hands if they can draw, all of their hands go up in the air; but when asked that question later in life, very few, if any, hands go up. I’m not sure what happens for each of us between the ages of five and “sometime later,” but can we agree to ignore the standards of what society defines as being artistic and get back to creating already?
If you’ve resisted your creativity, you can set quite a lot into motion just by taking these first two steps. This might be a good time to remember to breathe and just be, and see what comes up for you. For instance, you might begin to think about what your favorite medium to work in is. You might think about what inspires you and what your favorite subject matter is. You might think about what you enjoy most in your life, along with where you are and what you are doing when inspiration typically floats in. You will be opening a door, one that you may have closed for a while simply because you didn’t believe. And this is where the power of intention comes in; it opens the door to what’s next.
For the complete chapter and for more advice about what to do after you set your intention, see the complete book Creative Thursday by Marisa Anne.
For more about Creative Thursday, watch the book trailer!
Marisa Anne Cummings is an artist and textile designer living in Los Angeles, California. She believes there will be more happiness in the world when everyone is creative and finds fulfillment in doing work and living a life they love. Marisa hopes that this book will be one small contribution to that greater vision, inspiring and encouraging everyone who reads it. You can visit Marisa at creativethursday.com