Tag Archives: Intention

making waves

Oxford contemplationPurpose of Easton Point

Last week I had the opportunity to visit with this month’s wild card Doug Sadler on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  There may not be a better place to contemplate the purpose and meaning of our lives than by the bay, rivers, and streams, on the Eastern Shore. It’s been a couple of weeks now since Doug posed his very simple, yet poignant and thought-provoking questions challenging me to pin-point my purpose.

I haven’t responded in writing until now because I just have not been able to wrap my head around any definite answers to his questions.  However, even unanswered these questions themselves have already begun to make waves in my  life.  Since reading the wild card requests, I have been consumed with dissecting my daily and life intentions. Are my actions honest? Have I been acting and reacting though self-direction or following external pressures? Do my actions add up to an overlying goal or purpose?  Well, I must step back and grant myself a bit of slack here; I think it should take more than a few weeks to figure out or to define this “super objective” as Doug calls it.

During our visit last week, we spent hours crunching on and contemplating the “super objective” question, brainstorming the steps needed to come closer to it. I came away from the conversation without an epiphany but with much more clarity, and many more creative ideas and navigational tools.  As always, I find spending time with a like-minded individual to be valuable and rewarding.  The time serves as an act of reflection itself.  It brings me closer to articulating in words the meaning and intentions behind my involuntary intuitive actions and responses.  That specific space and time spent sharing and reflecting back to one another is definitely a large puzzle piece in picturing what my purpose may be.

On to Doug’s first question, “Define your ‘in the moment’ objective”. What am I attempting to accomplish day-to-day, project by project, minute by minute?

With each object that I created this month, I included a note or letter. In these letters, I wrote to the recipient of the object why or how they have made a difference or impact in my life. What was my intention in creating and sending this to them? My objective was to let those receiving know how they have impacted my life. Expressing myself through  written words in this way was not only refreshing but also came easily, in a way that doesn’t flow freely when speaking in person.  I wrote to many people who I have not over the past few years.

Moving onward to Doug’s second question, “Define your life purpose or super objective”. I tried to apply the same tactics and wrote my thoughts in a paragraph and then condensed it to a sentence and then down to a few words.  I had a hard time separating my personal life goals and my professional life goals. Especially in this time now, when I feel my personal and professional goals are transitioning and changing. I had the best luck looking at where the two overlap and came up with a temporary personal mission statement.

Stay engaged, continue caring, and keep sharing.

I tried it out in my letters to people – and although a statement like this feels a bit forced to me, it somehow does ring true with all that I believe in and have been working toward in my personal and professional world.

Now onto the third Wild Card challenge “ask and receive”.  I feel as though I have taken baby steps in this area, becoming more and more confident as I go with this “ask and you shall receive” territory.  This past year, I feel my “big ask” was to all of my friends who have participated in this Living Chapters project. I asked them to go out on a limb and take a hand in lending some navigational and directional advice for my future.  I asked them to assist in my self-growth and trusted them to guide me gracefully.  This “ask” has already helped me tremendously personally.  I feel like receiving my friends’ contributions and reflections through this process has been an enormous gift that is propelling me forward at a great speed.

The next step though, as another wild card noted in Chapter two, is – what will I do next? How and what will I choose to move forward ?  I think both the “super-objective” question and the “ask and receive” question will really help me focus in on the answer to this question.  And I do think that it will be an examination of both the personal and professional realms.

So with one big personal ask under my belt this year, I have made a pact with myself to make at least one big professional ask before the year is out as well.  Doug’s previous questions have all helped me come closer to devising the next big ask. I am feeling it is time to make a change, one in which I won’t be able to make without support.

Don’t worry Doug I’ll let ya know when I do and it will be big and it will be scary – please do have that beer waiting for me on the Eastern Shore, I may need it.

10/29/13

** Thanks to Doug Sadler for the great reflective photographs of our visit in Easton and Oxford, MD

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October: Wild Card

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It’s a sunny October day in New York city – delightful, peaceful, remarkably warm … but Beth Barbush is in my brain!  She’s filling the space with a swirl of ideas, an inspiring sense of possibility and idealism, frenetic, infectious creativity and a kooky sense of humor.  But why is she in my head, what is her purpose, and by extension, what is mine? Man, October seemed so far away when I signed up for this!

Okay, purpose and meaning … big ideas, big questions … all Barbush. Seeking safety in words, I pull out the dictionary (an actual paper one):

 Purposen.

1) an object to be attained; a thing intended 
2) the intention to act 
3) the reason for which something is done or made.

Ah, ‘the reason for which something is done or made’!  I was struck by the elegance and simplicity of the chapter Emily Wheat wrote for Beth this month, including as it did contemplation (a walk in the woods), joy (treasure a day) and a core focus on creativity and giving (create something every day). But two weeks in, I think some deeper exploration of the ‘the reason for which something is done or made’ is in order. Not to justify or question the making or the giving, but to open a door to understanding the purpose behind making, giving and inspiring. And perhaps a touch of asking and receiving is in order too.

At the risk of annoying with a detour, let me share just a bit about what I’ve learned, first as an actor and later as a writer about the power that comes from distilling purpose to a sentence. (And yes, for those wishing I’d just get to the list of assignments already, this is one of them). In acting there is the objective (what I want now, moment to moment) and the super-objective (what I want in life / my purpose). In writing, these same ideas are applied to character creation and the purpose and meaning of the story as a whole, often as premise and theme. In story, the more active, idealistic and potentially unachievable the super-objective of a character, the more intensely the character will come alive and the more magnetic witnessing their seeking becomes – we love dreamers and strivers after all.  And, Beth, since you are a dreamer and striver and have cast yourself – literally as The Protaganist – and ‘hired’ (well, you know) writers to write your life script, I want you to engage with the tools and techniques of character and drama to define your purpose.  And I’m including an exercise to build asking and receiving to your repertoire in addition to giving.   Without further adieu, here’s the wildcard:

1)  Define your purpose (in the moment objective) in giving the gifts you make this month to the people you give them to. A sentence or better, a word or two. Include it with each gift. These can be fun, individual, whimsical.

2)  Define your life purpose (life goal / super-objective). Start with a paragraph, get it down to a sentence and ultimately to a few words that ring true … once you’ve arrived consider sharing it to reinforce it, give it power, perhaps as a signature on gifts you give this month, perhaps in other ways …

3)  Ask and receive – It’s easy for artists and creatives to avoid asking for or receiving the help and support they need, whether financial or otherwise. So, as you focus your life purpose, understand that to live up to that possibility you need and deserve support and to get it you must ask for it.  So, this month step out of your comfort zone and ask at least one person or entity for assistance / a gift to forward your purpose. It can be in any life direction – career, personal, whatever, but think big – this should not be small and it should be scary.

So, there you have it Beth. I think I’m within the bounds of wild card to include all this, but if not, well, call the referee, fire me, cancel my check etc. Oh and when you do #3, I will buy you a beer so you can tell me how and where you’re reaching out and up …

Doug

10/16

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